4 Min Read
- What The Characteristics Of Men In Midlife Crisis Look Like
- Additional Characteristics Of A Midlife Crisis
- What To Take Away
- What Readers Think (75+ comments)
Part 2 of 2
People wonder if there are certain characteristics common to midlife crisis men.
Yes, there are specific thoughts and behaviors that routinely contribute to midlife crisis in men.
In the first article on midlife crisis men we talked about Derek and Lauren (read more about Derek here: Midlife Crisis -- Is My Husband Having One?).
One of Lauren's nagging, unanswered questions about Derek’s midlife crisis has always been,
Why didn't he say or do something sooner?”
Often men (women too) don’t recognize the signs that they're experiencing a midlife crisis until they're deep into it. But by the time they realize what they’re really dealing with, if they ever do, a lot of damage has been already done.
What The Characteristics Of Men In Midlife Crisis Look Like
A midlife crisis doesn’t announce itself as it’s setting in. Most of the time it creeps up on the person experiencing it, and then subsequently their family.
Typically, by the time things are really bad a lot of time has gone by, and things have gotten complicated and messy.
If, however, you know what to look for it’s possible to get help and potentially avoid some of the heartache.
Let's take a closer look at Derek and see if we can get a better idea why he didn't realize what he was facing.
Below are a few of Derek’s characteristics that may have contributed to his midlife crisis (these are Lauren's realizations and words, and have come out of her doing women's counseling at Guy Stuff):
- He thinks the grass is greener and that what he has in his life isn’t good enough.
- He’s willing and wants to leave without figuring out what is wrong in the first place.
- He thinks he’s his own best counsel and that no one else could help.
- He hates his job, but rather than addressing that he changes everything else in his life instead.
- He’s always been a people pleaser – now he’s become completely focused on his own happiness and doesn’t care about anyone else or if he hurts them.
- He doesn't seem to know what he wants or who he is. He’s always searching for something -- more than just trying new things, i.e. different vehicles, motorcycle, business ideas, hobbies, etc.
- He’s got unrealistic expectations of marriage, relationships, etc. Derek thinks things should be easy and not require a lot of effort.
- He’ll deny that relationships have ups and downs as do all phases of life.
- He’s learned behavior from his parent's failed marriage(s) and the behavior (affairs/divorce) of his boss too.
Lauren was right to be concerned as she noticed these things in Derek. Although they had been present for some time, his intensifying behavior reached a crisis level and began to not just damage but destroy their relationship.
Additional Characteristics Of A Midlife Crisis
Since I’ve been counseling him there are some additional things I've noticed about Derek's actions and how he's handled his unhappiness. These are also some pretty common characteristics of midlife crisis men.
See if you recognize any of these in yourself or someone you know:
- Keeping negative or worried thoughts about his marriage private. Derek had been unhappy for a long time, and had fears that he was married to the wrong woman. Had he shared these feelings with Lauren they could have sought counseling sooner and avoided a great deal of unhappiness.
But Derek never shared those thoughts with Lauren.
- Not seeking help. Having the thoughts and feelings described above can be quite confusing. Knowing how to communicate them to your partner is very difficult and complicated. Not only are men generally uncomfortable expressing their feelings, but putting these feelings into words is no easy task. Professional marriage counselors can help you do this.
But Derek never reached out for help
- Failing to address the real problems. Sadly, Derek thinks he's fixing his problems by leaving, but he's really just taking them with him. What he’s feeling won’t go away just because he changes the scenery. Whatever temporary happiness he thinks he'll achieve by leaving is just that – temporary. These issues will continue to come back until he has dealt with them.
He's told Lauren that it's not her fault -- the old,
It's not you, it's me."
But if that's the case, how is Derek's leaving really fixing his problems?
Can you relate to Derek in any way?
What To Take Away
If you can’t personally relate to Derek, maybe you know someone just like him. His story is actually not uncommon at all.
What about Lauren and the problems she’s having with a husband like Derek?
If you’re concerned that you or someone you love is displaying characteristics of a midlife crisis, keep these things in mind:
- Feeling unhappy like Derek is not unusual.
- The good news is that it can be fixed.
- The feelings that can start to manifest during the midlife years are complicated and may have roots that can go back many years.
- Getting to the source of the unhappiness and making the right changes can take help though.
Sadly, many men think a lot like Derek and try to fix their unhappiness using the same thinking and actions that caused the unhappiness in the first place. Unfortunately, midlife crisis men often create their own midlife crisis (another common characteristic).
So, don't be a Derek. Get some help.
This is the second article of two discussing midlife crisis men. Read more about Derek and Lauren in the first article: Midlife Crisis -- Is My Husband Having One? Sign-up for our Blog below and get notified of other articles on men and relationships like this one.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published September 19, 2010, it was updated on April 24, 2018, and again with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Looking for More? Check Out These Articles
- Could My Husband Be Having A Midlife Crisis? (Part 1)
- When Men Cheat & Then Blame Their Partner Instead Of Taking Responsibility
- How Long Will A Midlife Crisis Last?
- Get More Help with a Midlife Crisis