Is It Possible To Have A Midlife Crisis at 30?


    6 Min Read


    Isn’t a midlife crisis only supposed to happen at midlife? Can you really have a midlife crisis at 30?

    No, a midlife crisis doesn’t only happen at middle age. Yes, a midlife crisis can happen at 30 – at any age, actually.


    In fact, I just talked to a wife this week who’s trying to understand how her 31-year-old husband of 6 years suddenly decided he wanted a divorce.

    She says he’s always been moody, but the past few months he’s been much more so. It’s out of character for him to talk about feelings, but 2 months ago he told her he’s unhappy.

    It never occurred to her that he could be having a midlife crisis at 30 until I suggested the possibility. Now I don’t know for sure yet that that’s what’s truly going on, but it certainly could be.

    How Can A Midlife Crisis Happen So Young?

    A midlife crisis is about being unhappy and confused. That can happen to any of us, and at any age.

    There are a couple of stereotypes that factor into the confusion about the possibility of a midlife crisis at 30.


    • One stereotype is that it’s only at middle age that people question the direction of their life and make big changes. But this simply isn’t true.

    Many of us know people who’ve changed career paths in their 30s, or weren’t planning to get married or have kids, and then did.

    • Another stereotype is that life in our 20s and 30s is all positive. You go to college and party, you get out and start your career, you meet your partner and get married, buy a house, have kids, etc. We all know the societal and familial expectations for how we’re supposed to proceed through life.

    But the reality is that this just isn’t the path for everyone, nor is it always a clear or straight path, or an easy one.

    It wasn’t for me.

    My 20s were confusing and painful as I tried to figure my direction and had a number of big failures along the way.

    Can you really have a midlife crisis at only 30???? He's in the military and completely different than he's ever been.” -High school sweethearts

    I’ve counseled a lot of young adults who’ve struggled during this period of life. Among their experiences are,

    • Dropping out or getting kicked out of college.

    • Drifting from one job to the next, or not having one.

    • Not being able to find a relationship that lasts.

    • Feeling pressure to succeed.

    I know in my 20s and 30s I felt that everyone else was passing me by.

    The pressure to figure it all out and meet our own as well as other’s expectations can be immense. It’s one of the reasons why there’s an epidemic, particularly of young men, failing to launch and suffering with depression.


    Can you have a midlife crisis at 30, male or female? Heck yeah.

    Midlife Crisis At 30 vs. 50

    The underlying elements of a midlife crisis at 30 versus one at 50 are all the same. The person is,

    • Unhappy

    • Confused

    • Makes radical changes

    However, the ways a midlife crisis shows externally can be different because life at 30 is different than life at 50.

    • At 30, not everyone has a relationship or family to walk away from.

    • Life at 30 typically isn’t nearly as complicated, and with as many people who can be so directly impacted.

    For example, I’m working with 2 different women right now whose husbands are both having midlife crises. One guy is 31-years-old and the other is 54. The younger guy has 2 boys who are 3 and 6-years-old. The older guy has a son who’s 17 and a daughter who’s 21.


    The younger guy’s kids don’t know anything other than that daddy isn’t around as much and when he is he’s acting different (distant, crying sometimes, not interested in them).

    The older guy’s kids know exactly what’s going on. They’ve seen some of the sexual texts he’s sent his girlfriend. The son has confronted his dad about his behavior more than his mother has (his dad is defensive, verbally attacks the kids, disappears for days).

    Some similarities of a midlife crisis at 30 and 50 are,

    Some differences between a midlife crisis at 30 and 50 are,

    • There’s not has much life history to have regrets about

    • They aren’t always as desperate to start their life over

    • They can be more stuck than needing to run away

    There’s more that makes them similar than different. While each person’s crisis is unique to them, the underlying elements driving them are generally the same.

    If It’s Happening To Your Partner, What Do You Do?

    A midlife crisis at 30 (or 50) has the same impact on partners – confusion and often panic.

    This brings out the same question from everyone – What do I do???

    Two common mistakes are either responding too strong or too soft.

    • If you come on too hard you’ll drive them into their crisis even more. This can look like your getting fed up with the focus being all on them and you no longer show any empathy, or your expectations for them are unrealistic.

    • If you come on too soft you can contribute to them staying stuck in their crisis. One of the ways this happens is by having no boundaries or any expectations at all.

    So, what do you do?

    Here are 3 recommendations. There’s a lot more to it than this, but this can get you started.

    First, don’t take it on yourself

    Either that you’re responsible (even if your partner blames you) or that you can fix it.

    Have you played a part?

    Almost certainly to some degree. How could you not when you’re in a relationship together. However, playing a part and being responsible are two very different things.

    Can you influence them? Yes.

    Can you fix it? No.


    My husband went through a midlife crisis at 33 and my mother endured my father's at 40. Unless you have been through it, you can never fully understand it. I hear women say ‘I would know if my husband was having an affair’ and ‘I would never put up with my husband treating me so badly’, I used to be one of these women, but when he is in the midst of a midlife crisis all bets are off. Remember that this is all his journey, this is NOT your fault. He is going through something huge within himself. As selfish as it sounds (and believe me I am not a person who ‘justifies’ behaviour!) this is not about you and he's not himself at this point in time, he is literally trying to find himself (in other things). A midlife crisis is an identity ;crisis-his identity, not yours. You are not to blame, you just need to take such good care of yourself during this time because it is such a painful road you are walking. And to offer you hope in what I'm sure is your darkest hour (as it was mine), my husband and father are home and we have formed much stronger connections with our spouses than we have ever experienced before. My husband now feeds my soul and I will never take that for granted again.” -I remember your pain

    Second, pace yourself

    Getting through a partner’s midlife crisis is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Here are some keys to making it through the marathon:

    • Be patient

    • Be understanding

    • Set boundaries

    • Have expectations

    • Take care of yourself

    Third, get professional help

    A midlife crisis even at 30 is both a maze and a minefield. Navigating it without making it worse is really, really tough to do without someone with experience guiding you and showing you how.

    What To Take Away

    Here are the key points to remember as you go forward. I’d recommend also reviewing again the specific details for each that I described above.

    • A midlife crisis can happen at any age. Yes, even a 30-year-old can have a midlife crisis.

    • Common elements of a midlife crisis are being unhappy, confused, and making big, life-altering changes.

    • There are many similarities of a midlife crisis at 30 and one at 50, but also some key differences too.

    • If your partner is having a midlife crisis, how you respond is very important. If you’re too strong or soft you’ll make it worse.


    Every midlife crisis at 30 is different, but the underlying elements driving all of them are the same. It’s crucial for partners to accurately understand what’s really going on and how to help the person they love, but not hurt.

    Is your partner having a midlife crisis at 30? Please share with other readers what that’s been like for you and get their feedback.


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