How To Handle A Midlife Crisis Marriage Separation


    6 Min Read


    It usually comes out of nowhere. Not that you thought your marriage was perfect, but you probably didn’t think it was anywhere near this bad. This is how a midlife crisis marriage separation typically happens – it comes seemingly out of nowhere.

    You’re busy just trying to keep up with day-to-day life – kids, job, household. Everything seems normal, then your husband suddenly announces he wants to separate.


    You ask him –

    • Why do you want a separation?

    • When did you decide this?

    • Can’t we work on fixing things first?

    And you don’t get much for answers. Some version of,

    This is just what I need to do.”

    So, bewildered, you start to research what makes people flip out like this and discover the problem of midlife crisis. Then you search more specifically about midlife crisis marriage separation and you end up on this article.

    You’re not alone.


    Thousands of partners are in your shoes and end up here every day (women and men).

    Although the examples I give here are of women dealing with their husband’s midlife crisis, men have to deal with wives’ midlife crises too.

    A partner having a midlife crisis will turn your life upside down. And a midlife crisis marriage separation will make you so dizzy you’ll think your life is a snow globe.

    Feeling –

    • Confused?

    • Betrayed?

    • Scared?

    Welcome to the ‘MLC Club.’

    It can seem hopeless, but there is help available and it can get better.

    Midlife Crisis Means Confusion

    Confusion is the standard mental state during a midlife crisis, and for both partners too.

    The person having a midlife crisis is confused about

    • Why they feel the way they do

    • What they should do about it

    • What they really want

    The only thing they’re certain about is that they’re unhappy.

    And the partner of the person in a midlife crisis is also confused about some of the same things –

    Accepting confusion is hard, really hard, especially when it’s causing a marriage separation.


    But fighting the confusion is a mistake.

    It’s temporary.

    But by temporary I don’t mean a couple of weeks or months. Sometimes the confusion can last for years. But it almost always comes to an end. It just happens slowly.

    We all want the comfort and peace of mind that comes with knowing what’s going to happen next.

    Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a marriage separation in the middle of a midlife crisis you’re not going to get it.

    That once reliable partner is now Mr. Uncertainty.

    Here’s an example –

    On a recent trip my hubby told me that he loves me like a friend not a wife. He said he doesn't have passion for me anymore. I was stunned. I told him that I loved him and I really want to make our marriage work, 30 years isn't something you just throw away. We spent the next week pretending to be happy in front of family but when we got back to our room we acted like strangers. No talking, no touching. He pretty much ignored me all week. He chatted with friends or played a game on his phone. I mentioned to a friend that I thought this may be a midlife crisis. When we got home that's when he told me that he hasn't been getting any affection from me in quite some time, he says he's talking a few years. I told him that I felt the same way. He said that he wants a separation. I am so lost. Until last month I thought we had a solid marriage. I told him I wished he would have talked to me a long time ago. He agreed but said it is what it is. That was the end of our conversation. I love my hubby dearly & I have told him. But I have no clue what I can do. I want to save my marriage, but this midlife crisis is causing our marriage to separate.” – Diana

    So, what do you do when your whole future is uncertain (like Diana’s)?

    Let’s start with what not to do.

    Common Mistakes When Facing A Midlife Crisis Marriage Separation

    A few of the biggest and most common mistakes are to:

    • Panic

    • React out of fear

    • Be impatient

    Each one of these responses is totally understandable, but also very problematic.

    When we panic, we don’t think clearly. Panic triggers a flight or fight response, which floods our brain with chemicals meant for survival. In other words, to keep us alive, not for strategic long-term planning.

    Our response becomes emotion driven, not logic driven. So, when we panic, we make mistakes.

    Panic and fear are closely linked.

    Typically, it’s fear that triggers panic. However, it’s one thing to fear something (your partner leaving), and another to react (take actions that are driven by fear). Reacting out of fear is when we make even bigger mistakes.

    My husband is in the middle of a terrible midlife crisis separation. He has left us and is exhibiting behavior just as your articles describe. I love him to my core and I am desperate to save my marriage, but he is adamant to divorce. We never had a fight and loved each other deeply. We have been married 15 years. He is hurting everyone around him.” -Gina

    Gina’s “desperate” to save her marriage likely because of panic and fear. Desperate is probably going to make her impatient.


    Impatience is one of the biggest issues during a midlife crisis, especially when facing your marriage separating. It’s right up there with confusion as one of the biggest stumbling blocks for partners.

    Being patient while your spouse moves out, sets up a new household, and basically creates a new life without you in it is really, really hard. But it’s also crucial to be patient if you want to have hope that they could change their mind and come back.

    It’s vital that the powerful feelings of panic, fear, and impatience are all managed by partners during a midlife crisis marriage separation.

    How To Cope When Your Midlife Crisis Partner Wants To Separate

    Being the partner of someone in a midlife crisis is a bit of a waiting game.

    Many partners would say,

    I’m waiting for him to snap out of it.”

    While that’s how it can seem – that he needs to “snap out of it” – that’s not what really needs to happen.

    What needs to happen is your partner working through the issues that are causing their crisis. Things like, unhappiness, expectations, and wants.

    What you as their partner need to do is have a plan.

    A plan for yourself for how you’re going to cope and respond. This will include how you’ll influence and support your mate, without letting them drag you down with them.

    Your plan should also include how you’ll counter the 3 mistakes I described above – panic, fear, impatience.

    I am a husband trying to cope with my wife’s midlife crisis while we’re separated. I feel I have tried everything but she has completely lost connection with me. I am at a loss of what I can do to save our marriage and give her the right support, which is hard when she has got the mind set she wants nothing to do with me but still shows little signs that she does.” -Tyler

    Tyler has the right idea when he says he’s trying to “give her the right support.”

    Supporting her should be his objective. However, his desire to save his marriage is probably going to lead him to be seeking ways to control what’s happening too, which can be counter to supporting his wife.

    After all, supporting can mean letting her leave and have less to do with him.


    Supporting, however, doesn’t mean enabling. And recognizing the difference can be tough.

    It’s contradictions like these that make it very confusing and difficult for partners to know what the right thing to do truly is. Recognizing what the “right support” looks like is hard – very hard.

    Getting professional counseling is crucial for partners. A midlife crisis is just too difficult to navigate on your own. Add in a marriage separation to a midlife crisis and it becomes exponentially so.

    An objective, experienced guide, particularly one who understands the psychology of a midlife crisis is invaluable in not only knowing what to do and what not to do, but also in keeping your sanity.

    Dealing with a spouse in midlife crisis makes most partners feel crazy.

    Obviously, your spouse getting counseling help is what’s needed the most. Unfortunately, most of the time they are very, very resistant to it. However, the best way to influence them is by example by getting help yourself, not solely telling them to do it.

    What To Take Away

    Being in a midlife crisis marriage separation can be excruciating.

    Your future hangs in the balance and you have no control over the outcome. That’s a very tough place to be.

    Here’s what to remember:

    • Be prepared to be confused. It’s the normal mental state, so accept it.

    • Manage your emotions, particularly the big ones of panic, fear, and impatience.

    • Develop a plan for how you’ll cope – both with the midlife crisis and your marriage separation.

    • Get professional support from someone experienced with midlife crises. And when you get help for yourself, you’ll be able to better influence your partner.

    The biggest fear of all is that marriage separation during a midlife crisis will end in divorce. This doesn’t have to be the case, and there’s a lot you can do to prevent it if you respond in the right ways.

    Are you going through a midlife crisis marriage separation? Please tell other readers what that’s been like for you and learn how they’ve dealt with it.


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