Part 2 of 2
People wonder if there are certain characteristics common to midlife crisis men. Yes, I believe 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 out more about Derek here: Midlife Crisis -- Is My Husband Having One?). One of Lauren's nagging, unanswered questions has always been why didn't Derek say or do something sooner? Often men (women too) don’t recognize that they're experiencing a midlife crisis until they're deep into it. By the time they realize what they’re really dealing with, if they ever do, a lot of damage has been done.
Let's take a closer look at Derek and see if we can get a better idea of why he didn't realize what he was facing. Here are a few characteristics of Derek that have contributed to his having a midlife crisis (these are Lauren's realizations and words, and have come from out of her women's counseling at Guy Stuff):
- Thinks the grass is greener and that what he has in his life isn’t good enough.
- Willing and wanting to leave without figuring out what is wrong in the first place.
- Thinks he is his own best counsel and that no one else could help.
- Hates his job, but changes everything else in his life instead.
- Always taking care of, and pleasing, everyone else; now it's all about him.
- Doesn't really know what he wants or who he is. He is always searching for something -- more than just trying new things, i.e. different vehicles, motorcycle, business ideas, hobbies, etc.
- Unrealistic expectations of marriage, relationships, etc. Thinks things should be easy and not require a lot of effort. Doesn't acknowledge that relationships have ups and downs as do all phases of life.
- Learned behavior from parent's failed marriage(s) and the behavior (affairs/divorce) that his boss has exhibited.
Here are some additional things I've noticed about Derek's actions and how he's handled his unhappiness that are also descriptive of midlife crisis men. See if you recognize any of these in yourself or someone you know:
- Kept his questioning thoughts about the marriage to himself. 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.
- Didn't seek help. Having the thoughts and feelings described above can be quite confusing. 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
- Not solving the real problems. Sadly, Derek thinks he's fixing his problems by leaving when he's really just taking them with him. What he is feeling won’t go away just because he changes the scenery. Whatever temporary happiness that he thinks he'll achieve by leaving is just that – temporary. Those 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? If not you, maybe you know someone just like him. His story is not that uncommon. What about Lauren and the problems she is having with a husband like Derek?
Feeling unhappy like Derek is not unusual. The good news is that it can be fixed. Getting to the source of the unhappiness and making the appropriate, positive changes can take help though. The feelings that can start to manifest during the midlife years are complicated and may have roots that can go back many years. 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.
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 at the bottom of this article and get other great articles on men and relationships like this one.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published September 19, 2010 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Looking for More? Check Out These Articles
- Could My Husband Be Having A Midlife Crisis? (Part 1)
- How Long Will A Midlife Crisis Last?
- When Men Cheat & Then Blame Their Partner Instead Of Taking Responsibility
- Get More Help with a Midlife Crisis