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There are stages in life when men look at their life in different ways. One of the most known stages is during their 40’s or 50’s. There are all types of men and and each person deals with their feelings in different ways. Some men will start looking at their life and decide that they aren’t happy or fulfilled. They may feel ‘stuck’ in their job or even their family. They could feel like they are not being true to themselves and begin to evaluate their own needs. Some men might even go so far as to feel they need to make drastic changes in life to hold on tho their youth. Once these thoughts start coming, they often times don’t stop. It drives them to make big changes and make them quickly. There are a few things to be on the lookout for as a significant other or loved one so that you can talk with him and try avoiding these often life changing and expensive decisions that he may want to make.
Some men are uncertain how to handle these new emotions. They may not recognize that a midlife crisis is happening; unable to take a step back and evaluate their own feelings. They may feel withdrawn (because life is now seen with regrets) followed by an overwhelming need to make a drastic change. Watch for emotional changes and be sure to let him know that you are there for him if he needs you. Let him know that he can come to you if he wants to talk about things. Men often times don’t want to communicate their feelings, but let him know anyway. Let him know that you are aware of this stage in his life and you are there to help him see all that he has accomplished in his life rather than the shortcomings.
Temper changes are also common during a midlife crisis. In addition to being withdrawn and overwhelmed, some men don’t know where to turn or what to do and can become agitated. They don’t identify that this is a stage in life and turn their feelings on the people around them rather than dealing with themselves. This can manifest in being angry at their wife, children or even at work with bosses and co-workers. It can change a family man into a grouch and you may see temper changes directed at people and places where they wouldn’t normally get mad. If you notice temperament changes that are longer than just a week or so (we all have our bad stretches) be sure to sit down and talk to him. They may need to just open up to someone to feel better. Temper often comes from hiding feelings and emotions.
Weight gain/loss is a common sign of crisis for men. It can go one of two ways, they will become depressed and stressed, meaning that they will stop caring for themselves and in turn gain weight. Or, they will suddenly start caring more about their appearance, exercising, eating healthy and in turn lose weight. It is a positive life change to devote time to healthy eating and exercise because this helps with managing mood and depression.
Decisions & Finance
Decisions are something that you should be on the lookout for if you suspect a midlife crisis or know that it is happening. Men in midlife crisis have often made poor decisions about spending money. It could mean buying a new car, taking up a new hobby, or spending money going out and spending money on big purchases that he thinks will make him feel happier or more youthful. Men who want to feel validated by spending need to be reminded that these decisions are still about you both as a couple and not all about him. Keep an eye on his spending and if he is making decisions that are harmful to himself, your marriage or your family, be sure to talk about it. If you have reason to believe that he is making decision in secrecy that involve you both address it with him and find ways to protect yourself and your finances. If he really wants a new truck or a big TV and it falls within your budget, support his new ideas and go along for the ride!
Destructive Behaviors from Men in Mid-Life
1. Rather than figure out ways to revive their marriage and start new and exciting adventures with their spouse or family, some men will selfishly turn to women outside the marriage to feed their ego so that they can prove that they are young and virile again.
2. Rather than talk over decisions and re-evaluate goals with their partner, some men feel “entitled” to make rash decisions to feed their own emotions regardless of their spouses or family. (A leather jacket and sports car are cliche for a reason.)
3. Rather than address their new insecurities and work through these natural feelings to make things better, men will often try to find external ways to feed the anxiety by trying to become young again. Whether it be dressing in the latest fad styles or wearing a new hairstyle that just doesn’t fit, they will “walk the walk” to try to get outside confirmation that they are still “cool” to try and make those feelings go away. He may even criticize you about dressing or acting “old” to justify his own insecurities.
If a man is not strong enough to deal with these changes and feelings during midlife crisis and deserts his wife and family for his own ego, he may be unable to stop until it derails on its own. If someone you love is going off the deep end, do what you can to talk to them and help them snap out of it, but make sure that you take care of yourself (and your family). How each of us handle our emotions and our actions, determines our repercussions or our rewards.
If you think that your man is going through a midlife crisis try to talk to him and help him understand what he is going through. Educate him about the signs of midlife so he can make sense of his feelings. Let him know that that he can feel proud of everything he has worked so hard to accomplish and that you appreciate what you have become together. Let him know that you are open to finding new ways to add some excitement to this time in your lives together whether that means adjusting the finances to buy a sports car and take road trips together or taking a whirlwind vacation to someplace exciting and new. (Maybe even renting a sports car and buying matching leather jackets.) Hopefully you can get through it together!
Do you have stories or advice to share about midlife crisis?
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