Men in particular are prone to the so-called midlife crisis. But is this a serious crisis or is it just a big cliché that many are familiar with?
Anyone who deals with the subject knows what a midlife crisis is. It is said that men between the ages of 30 and 50 are particularly vulnerable to the crisis; hence the name “male menopause”. They deal with what they have missed in their past and what the future still has to offer. Those who have already achieved the most important goals fear that things could only get worse. What’s Real About the Midlife Crisis?
Does the midlife crisis really exist?
According to the current state of science, the midlife crisis has not been proven. In fact, it is more of a cliché than a real psychological crisis. However, it cannot be denied that men in particular – but also women – can suffer from a crisis when old age approaches. So it can’t be a myth either.
The term midlife crisis first appeared in the book “In the Middle of Life – Coping with Predictable Crises”. The author was Gail Sheehy in 1974, considered the mother of the midlife crisis. Translated from English, the term means “mid-life crisis”.
Anyone who finds himself in a midlife crisis looks back on his life so far and would like to catch up on everything that was missed up to midlife. For a long-term partnership, this can certainly mean dangers and risks.
Midlife crises don’t just affect men. Even women in the middle of their lives can get the idea that they have missed something. If one or the other in a partnership is in such a crisis, there can be severe tension. A separation may be forthcoming.
Midlife crisis: Dangers for the marriage
A midlife crisis is a crisis of meaning. Those affected rethink their lives so far and may come to the conclusion that they have not achieved everything they wanted. This can also affect a long-term partnership. Especially if only one partner is going through the crisis, this can lead to a lack of understanding in the other. However, when there is no mutual understanding, the partners distance themselves from each other and there are dangers such as the loss of passion and affection.
There may be a separation and the former lovers are looking for younger partners. At first glance, this can actually help against a midlife crisis, because the new promises adventure, love of life and variety. But the dangers are only shifted, not eliminated. Sooner or later, the new partner also wants commitment and the prospect of a longer-term future together. With the emergence of routine, the crisis of meaning breaks out again.
However, the dangers of a midlife crisis can also be overcome, because the crisis of meaning is also an opportunity. If you notice that you feel there is too much routine and too little adventure in your partnership, you’d better do something together more often, a common hobby, a nice trip or joint activities.
How to recognize symptoms of midlife crisis
In general, it can be said that a midlife crisis means a change in life. This is usually reflected in changes in those affected. It does not mean that the cuts are serious or that those affected start a completely new life or are new people during and after the crisis. However, the symptoms are usually uniformly recognizable. Anyone who is affected by a midlife crisis often feels restricted in their routine and everyday life. The desire for change is particularly pronounced in those affected. The termination of the job, the separation from the partner or spontaneous adventures as well as new interests are symptoms of a midlife crisis.
But not only the actions of a person can indicate a midlife crisis. It is much more the emotions of those affected that show the symptoms of the crisis. They often express themselves through dissatisfaction or irritability. Fear of the future or a feeling of inner emptiness also indicate a midlife crisis, even if the affected person has not yet made any changes in their life.
Treating and overcoming midlife crisis
The changes caused by a midlife crisis are usually positive. Psychologically, the crisis is difficult to deal with, but if you pay attention to a few points, you can easily overcome the crisis and emerge stronger from it.
Do you realize you’re in the midst of a midlife crisis? Therefore, do not rack your brains, but rather use the opportunity to change your life for the better. This will ensure you have a happier future and be happier in the present. However, overcoming the life crisis can be difficult and you should seek treatment for severe depression.
Successfully overcoming a midlife crisis
Before you change your life, you should first take stock of the midlife crisis. Be clear about what you have already achieved and what you still want to achieve. What do you have to give up to achieve what you want? Consider whether the effort justifies the risk. Don’t risk anything that will still mean a lot to you in the future. With this attitude you will overcome the midlife crisis without serious losses.
You shouldn’t end a long-term relationship just because you feel the need for a younger girlfriend during your midlife crisis. Once you get used to the new partner, you might fall back into the same dissatisfaction. Rather try to refresh the current relationship. A change of job can also be unnecessary if you take on new areas of responsibility and get new motivation.
How to treat and care for persons with midlife crisis
Do you know someone who is in the middle of a midlife crisis? This doesn’t have to be as tragic as it might sound. Because those affected are not necessarily in a major depression, but often just want a change in their lives in order to achieve a better attitude to life and break through old structures. With the right approach, you can support the person.
You should definitely stand by and support someone going through a midlife crisis. Try to find out what the affected person is dissatisfied with and support positive changes. You can also participate constructively in this change process with suggestions.
Also, make it clear to the person that they are in a crisis. Accepting the midlife crisis can be satisfying and motivating to make a real difference. Help the person in crisis to discover new interests and hobbies or try new things and face the challenges. A psychotherapist can help with depression.