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- How To Recognize Midlife Crisis Symptoms In Men
- Understanding A Midlife Crisis Man
- What To Take Away
- What Readers Have To Say (60+ Comments)
Would you know what midlife crisis men symptoms look like?
A midlife crisis can happen to anyone. In fact, most people experience a distinct mental and emotional change during midlife and that’s completely normal. For the majority of them, however, this is more of a transition than a crisis.
There are some people though, especially men, who will experience a full-blown crisis. So, what are the symptoms of midlife crisis men?
Let’s take a look.
Men experiencing a midlife crisis can display a range of symptoms. Recently I worked with a woman, Angie, whose husband was acting strangely. Angie’s husband is a man experiencing a midlife crisis, although she didn’t realize it until we talked.
Angie told me about some of the changes she’d seen and asked me if these could be midlife crisis symptoms. She noted:
- Drinking all the time.
- Gambling at the casino every free moment he could get.
- Having an affair.
- Abandoning your kids, job, and - oh yeah, your wife too.
I explained to her that, yes, these can all be midlife crisis symptoms in men. The behavior seen in midlife crisis men can definitely look like one or all of these, and that’s not all.
How To Recognize Midlife Crisis Symptoms In Men
Angie’s husband, Frank, has been doing the things she mentioned for the past 11 months. And despite how hard Angie has tried to understand, she just doesn’t get what’s happened with her husband. She says Frank used to think about others and now is focused only on himself.
When your spouse or loved one is going through a midlife crisis, feeling the way Angie does is very common. Midlife crisis men are particularly prone to acting selfishly and losing any capacity for empathy, especially when it comes to their wives or partners.
Wives and other family members often report that it seems to happen overnight, like a switch flips and he changed.
Trust me when I tell you, it didn’t. But seeing the growing symptoms of a midlife crisis developing in a man can be very challenging if you don’t know what to look for.
Angie asked me point blank,
“How do you explain what happened to the man who once packed up the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers and took them to the homeless shelter, but now walks away from his crying kids without a care in the world?”
This insensitive and self-centered behavior isn’t anything like the man she married or the father her kids love. She’s even started to believe he doesn’t love her anymore, something she would never have thought of even a few months ago.
The symptoms of a midlife crisis can vary, but overwhelmingly it’s characterized by:
- Very selfish behavior
- Rebelling against the lives they’ve worked so hard to build
- Feeling like somehow they’ve missed out on something along the way
- Erratic behavior
- Being angry and moody, or depressed
- Abusing alcohol, pot, or other drugs
- High-risk behaviors
- Irresponsible spending
- Blaming their wife for holding them back or ruining their life
Angie went on to describe an interaction between her daughter and Frank.
I just want daddy to live with us. When can daddy live with us?”
6-year-old Jaden cried out as she sat in the car. When Frank approached she pleaded,
Daddy come home with us.”
Frank ignored her cries for him and quickly kissed her forehead, said goodbye and walked away.
Angie believes he was headed to the casino to meet up with the other woman.
As he walked away there was almost a neon sign on his back flashing, “MIDLIFE CRISIS MAN.”
Understanding A Midlife Crisis Man
Midlife crisis men behave in a way that defies common sense.
On the surface it looks crazy, but when you can understand what’s going on inside, the illogical behavior can be a little more understandable, even though it still is crazy.
Transitioning through midlife can cause many people to take a closer look at their lives. They begin asking themselves questions like,
- What have I accomplished?
- What would I still like to do?
- Am I living the way I want to?
- Did I achieve my dreams?
This reflection can be a healthy reevaluation and allow for an appropriate resetting of priorities.
For some, however, all they can see is what they haven’t done, and they ask questions like,
- Where did the time go?
- Where did my youth go?
- Why did I let myself get stuck in this life?
- How can I break free?
And they determine it’s time to take care of number onethemselves.
Knowing there may be more time behind you than ahead of you can trigger regrets or even panic.
These thoughts and feelings will sometimes throw people into crisis mode and initiate bizarre and desperate behavior like Frank’s.
And although the inclination can make sense to some degree, the idea that someone might really risk their family, job, and life, rather than thoughtfully resetting goals and re-prioritizing, is hard to understand.
What we need to keep in mind is that, as selfish as it is, men with symptoms of a midlife crisis need help. Because their behavior is so damaging and self-centered, it can be hard to want to help midlife crisis men the pain they cause often drives people away.
Without help, however, it can be difficult for midlife crisis men to recover, repair the damage, and re-engage with their lives and families, which is exactly what they need to do.
What To Take Away
If a man you love is dealing with midlife crisis symptoms, like having an affair, irresponsible spending, and abandoning their family, it’s time to get help.
- You didn’t cause his midlife crisis.
- You’re not responsible for his behavior.
- A midlife crisis isn’t an excuse for hurting people and destroying lives.
A midlife crisis does generally come to an end and midlife crisis men can begin to recognize what they’ve done and experience regrets.
The best bet for shortening a midlife crisis and limiting the damage is to seek counseling as soon as possible.
If you’d like more information on midlife crisis men symptoms and their behaviors, you can read more of our articles here - midlife crisis.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published December 10, 2011, updated on May 28, 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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