Midlife crisis is an emotionally uncomfortable period that men and women go through between the age of 35 and 55. For most it is a time of question priorities and adjusting their lifestyle to fit better with their emotional needs.
For others midlife can bring about a true "crisis," one that causes them to stray outside the marriage for the affections and attention of a member of the opposite sex. They can question every choice they've made during the first half of their life. It is these folks who usually destroy their families and seem to completely change their character and belief system.
1. Feelings of Depression
- Sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism
- Loss of interest in once enjoyable activities
- Lack of energy
- Inability to focus or make decisions
- Unusual sleep patterns
- Unusual appetite, weight loss or gain
2. A Loss of Interest in Things That Used to be Important
I received a letter from Jason who was concerned about changes he was seeing in his wife. After 23 years in a career as a nurse she quit her job. According to Jason she wanted to go back to school full time and major in philosophy. His wife had gone for a "staight laced christian" to a woman who questioned whether or not there was a God.
Jason said he no longer knew the woman he had been married to for 18 years and was concerned she might be going through a midlife crisis. One thing is sure, she is questioning her values and beliefs and no one knows where these questions will lead her.
3. Feeling a Need for Adventure and Change
He goes out and buys a new sports car or Harley. She becomes a bar-fly who comes in at 3:00 am every morning. It's all about having fun and re-capturing their youth. If your spouse is negecting things that were once important to him/she in favor of skydiving...something they have never expressed an interest in, they are probably experiencing a midlife crisis.
You have choices in such a situation. Skydiving and hanging out in biker bars is better than sitting home alone wondering what your spouse is up to. Participating a bit in their new found need for adventure can bring you closer together instead of create the distance that can cause the midlife crisis spouse to start questioning whether or not to stay in the marriage.
4. Anger and Blame of The Spouse
You are the problem! If it weren't for YOU life would be grand for the midlife crisis spouse. If he trips on a banana peel at work, you will get blamed. The spouse who is in midlife crisis NEVER looks internally and examines why he/she is feeling discontent.
They look outward and blame others and since you are the main relationship in their life it makes sense that you will bare most of the blame for their bad feelings. Expect your spouse to be short tempered and angry. DO NOT respond when your buttons are pushed. Response is what they want and you don't want to play into their need for conflict.
5. Unable to Make Decisions About Their Future
Joan's husband found a new woman and wanted a divorce. He refused to file for a divorce though. He left Joan telling her that he had never been in love with her, that marrying her had been a mistake. Joan was devastated!
Over the period of eighteen months Joan's husband changed his mind about his feelings for Joan on a regular basis. He would pack his bags and leave out the door spewing verbal abuse. A month later he would call in tears wanting to come home. Before long he was out the door again and moving back in with the other woman.
Joan eventually filed for a divorce and helped him make the decision he seemed unable to make. They are both now living with the painful consequences of his indecision.
6. Doubt Over The Choice to Marry
You may have just celebrated your 29th anniversary. You may have lived with a spouse who, from all outward appearances seemed to have been happy in the marriage. It isn't uncommon for a husband or wife who has never complained about being married to suddenly tell you that they have "lived in hell" from the very beginning.
The spouse in midlife crisis will question whether the marriage was ever legitimate. They will demonize you, accuse you of forcing them into marriage all in an attempt to make the marriage illegitimate. You will be painted as the evil spouse who never met their emotional or physical needs so the midlife crisis spouse can justify their feelings of discomfort with the marriage. If this is the case in your situation you should believe nothing you are told and very little of what you see.
7. A Desire For a New and More Passionate Intimate Relationship
The husband/wife who is going through a midlife crisis may become tired of the "same old, same old" in the bedroom. It isn't uncommon for someone married to a spouse who is going through a midlife crisis to suffer the negative consequences of their infidelity.
If your spouse is spending more time in chat lines on the computer, working strange hours or on his/her cell phone more than usual you are seeing signs of a cheating spouse. These are only signs but coupled with the other symptoms of midlife crisis you should consider the possibility that your spouse has found someone to fulfill the need for a more passionate, intimate relationship.