Mid-life crisis: on the frontline
|This is archive material from the MHF's malehealth.co.uk website which is now part of this site in the section Male Health. This page remains on the site as site traffic suggests visitors find this page useful but it may not be up to date. It was last updated in 2007 and so does not conform to the NHS England Information Standard of which the MHF is a member. Up-to-date information on this topic can be found here: Mid-Life Crisis FAQs.
When Men's Health Forum editor Jim Pollard wrote an article on mid-life crisis in summer 2007, our regular trickle of comments on the subject turned into a flood. Here is some of the most recent feedback from mid-life males and their hapless partners. Your comments, advice or suggestions would be warmly welcomed.
Makes perfect sense
That is one of the most sensible things I have read on the internet in years...It also makes perfect sense of a lot of 'crazy' thinking I have been doing recently...
Strippers and porn
I believe my husband is going through a mid-life crisis at 34. He believes divorce is the solution. He says he has been 'unhappy.' for less than a year.
He started to subscribe to sexually explicit materials on the Internet a year prior without my knowledge. He even created a myspace.com page where he said he was 'single' and 'didn't want children.' Although, he didn't contact anyone, I was still shocked.
I noticed that he was giving me the cold shoulder. I kept asking him what was wrong. He wouldn't tell me. Secretly, he had been seeing a therapist for four months and didn't tell me! He said his personality has changed and mine has remained the same.
Suddenly one evening, he never came home. His clothes and toiletries were still at home. Then he sent me a text message from his phone that he was fine - 4 days later. Just needed to be alone. Also said, 'it kills him to hurt me.' I found out he went to visit his newly divorced friend and stayed with him for a week. Of course my husband didn't tell me. I found out.
Then, after a week, he comes home. At the top of the stairs without a greeting says, 'I don't want to be married anymore.' Then ran down the stairs and jumped in his car! I ran after him and sat in the car. We were both crying. I pleaded with him to see a marriage counsellor. That only lasted 3 times. Three days after the first therapy session, I found out that he called an attorney. After 10 years in a relationship, and married for 7, I couldn't believe how I was being treated. Why was he being a coward? Who was influencing him? Was he in a fantasy land of strippers and adult porn?
I got his mobile phone records after he cancelled our third therapy and found out that he was frequenting strip clubs, getting women's phone numbers. I actually talked to two of them!
He became animalistic when he found out that I got his mobile phone records. He created a new phone number and didn't tell me. He didn't even tell me that he was staying at his mother's house. Why couldn't he just be an adult and tell me that?
He was yelling at me as if I were a stranger. Threatening me. I just can't believe this has happened. Do men revert to being a boy when they go through a mid-life crisis? He won't touch our bank account or credit cards. His mother gives him money. It's crazy.
Crisis at 50 plus
Judging by the symptoms described here I am definitely suffering from this. This has led to panic attacks. However, this has only started to happen to me from the age of 55 and has been going on for about 5yrs now. So I think the ages that you have listed in your article should take account of the symptoms occurring much later than 50.
Finally, I think that the help offered when visiting the GP is totally inadequate. This article has helped me enormously to understand what has been happening to me over the last few years. Thank you.
Iraq the trigger?
Could my husband of 8 years be going through a mid-life crisis or a depression? He just lost his grandmother to cancer (who was more like a mother to him). Not even a week later he told me he wants a divorce ASAP. Then he puts his favourite car up for sale.
He did serve in Iraq for a year and doesn't talk about it at all and becomes upset if you ask questions. Because of his deployment he missed the birth of his son who is now 2. He said he doesn't feel a connection with his son and is jealous of my connection. (Our son loves his dad) If he is going through something how can I help him when I'm the one he's pushing away?
My dad has been acting very weird lately. He is about to turn 48. He has been irritable, depressed, stressed, and some physical symptoms like his joints, weight gain and dry skin.
I saw a show about a man who had a mid-life crisis and he had a lot of symptoms my dad had. I wanted to find out more about mid-life crisis so I could see how I could help my dad and I found this site. I found out some valuable information here and I just want to say thank you.
Should he have TRT?
I am the girlfriend of a man I love very much. We've been together for over 10 years. He's turning 49 this year, and has been showing signs of mid-life crisis for over a year now. Where once he was always active, upbeat, and into sex, he's become lethargic, depressed, overly concerned with his weight/looks, and bought a convertible sports car he didn't really need. We've always been close, and able to talk, but he's just not "himself" anymore.
All he talks about is how he'll be turning 50 soon, and that seems to really bring him down. I do my best to let him know I still find him attractive, (and I'm not just saying it). I love making love with him, and he's never been afraid of intimacy, yet he seems to be distant, and always pulling away. He has lots of work stress, but that's been going on for years. I think he used to handle it better when he was 40.
I would love to suggest he try this testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), but I don't want to bruise his ego. Quite frankly, I love him, and just want to help. I'd also like to know how long does a mid-life crisis last? Do most men get over this after they turn 50, or does this progressively get worse?
Counting days to 80
My husband of 7 years quite out of the blue told me that he didn't want children, had never loved me and sees himself as young, free and single, living in London again.
He is 39, has recently lost a grandfather, is suddenly re engaging with his family with whom he had little contact, has changed his job, is on a diet, is taking vitamin supplements for the first time, bought a guitar which he's played once, calculated how many days he has left to live if he makes 80, quoted Oscar Wilde to me "life is not a dress rehearsal" and he is completely emotionally detached.
It is like living with a complete stranger. He wants 'out'. But for what? This reads like a mid life crisis to me but what about those affected by this behaviour?
Trapped and unachieved
I am a gay man aged 43 and think I might be going through mid life crisis. I have worked for the same company for 22 years, 17 of which have been shift work. I feel trapped and unachieved. I would like to change but am scarred and worried about a potential drop in income. I'd just like to get one week day evening every week to my self.
I feel I have nothing that is me. Also I have feelings of resentment to my partner who makes changes all the time. Are there any other gay men going through this?
I think I'm currently experiencing an MLC. I'm married to beautiful women who is a fantastic mother to our 2 year old son. She is a lawyer and we had a great future together. However, coming up to the age of 39, I've had an affair with a work colleague. I feel as if my personality has changed, I became someone I didn't recognise any more. I did stupid things, careless things. My wife obviously picked up on this and I ended up confessing to the affair! She is absolutely devastated and rightly so. We had been together for 17 years, married for 9 of those.
Now the affair is out I realise what I've lost and how precious my wife and son are to me. I also realise the feelings I thought I had for this girl are nothing compared to how I feel about my family. I've destroyed everything beautiful I held dear and am finding it hard to come to terms with the affect my actions have had on so many peoples lives.
Obviously my wife is the one who has been most hurt by this and I feel so guilty and ashamed for what I've put her through. It was as if I was driving a train and could see the crash which was inevitably going to happen and did absolutely nothing to stop it!!
Never have I done anything like this before, or considered it. My wife is not even considering taking me back and I've lost my son as well whom I only see once a week now. I know I've destroyed my own life by my own hand but feel as if I was swept along all the way through this horrible period. It's as if I'm back in my old self now and totally disgusted by my actions.
My family can't believe I've acted this way and my wife's family who used to think the world of me, despise me and thought this would be the very last thing I could ever do to her and our son. I know people will say I was a cheating bastard and got what I deserved, but I cant explain some of my actions and never will until I die. I do think a MLC played a big part in this.
Should I be a doormat?
My husband of 25 years is in midlife crisis. He says he hasn't been happy with marriage and family. He only wants to make plans for himself now and travel. I can come some of the time. He wants to establish a separate relationship with one of our sons as this son (18) is difficult and requires a lot of parenting. He wants no responsibility toward me 'I can do what I want to do'. Should I stay married and be a doormat?
Affair wrecked my life
My God, I stumbled across your site and am glad I was able to read from others what I have been enduring for the past several years. I recently turned 50, male and very fit, have all my hair and considered attractive and self employed so why do I feel like it's over?
I guess it all started when I reached 47, I have been married 28 years to the same woman and have never been in any other long term relationship.
And then it happened. Suddenly, at the thought of turning 50 having not ever experienced another I had an affair with a 30 year old woman which lasted a year, and I'm still trying to get over her. This affair has wrecked my life, I can't work properly, don't have any desire to do my hobbies and I just think of her all day and night. I no longer see her and wish to keep it that way, you just don't throw 30 years of marriage out the window especially when she is a lovely and good woman.
I have also always had suicidal thoughts only they seem to be more frequent these days and I suspect it is a result of the affair. I have come to the understanding that this affair was my way of trying to turn back the clock on my life, not to mention the sports cars and motorcycles that I have acquired in the last 3 years which in retrospect are all classic of a mid life scenario.
I have also always taken great pride in my appearance and continue with a proper diet and follow a regular workout routine. I do notice that my drinking has increased considerably, and I see it as a way to forget these horrible feelings I have. I am trying so hard to better myself but it is so difficult and wish that this so called mid life crisis would disappear quickly so I can be my old self again.
A word to all, if you did not like the feeling of being crushed by a love when you were 16, do not have an affair while married especially to a younger woman cause you may just fall in love and destroy everything you have accomplished.
He's had a personality change
I had no idea about male mid-life crisis till I got up one night to find my previously well-balanced, kind and considerate partner of 19 years walking out. He would, he said, have left me a note.
A month later he came back to talk about practicalities and apologised for the way he left. But he said turning 40 had floored him. He'd had a haircut(!) and the young barber had told him he was going grey. He flipped.
His mother had recently died and he said that he just suddenly felt overwhelmed about his life, the choices he'd made and felt he had to 'throw everything away.' He has also cut all contact with his three brothers. Bizarre.
I did ask him if he understood that, after 19 pretty happy years, I was very shocked. But he just kind of shook his head - it didn't seem to register. I see him as having had some kind of brainstorm. I know he's not coming back. But he does seem to have had a pretty complete personality change. The usual remedy for this kind of crisis is for the guy to go and get a 20-something year-old so that's what I expect he'll do next.
I appreciated reading a good, thoughtful piece that respects male energy even while poking fun at some of our sappier mid-life choices.
I'd be interested to read more from other men about the notion of a "grandparent hormone". After analysing my own urges, I eventually deciphered that the desire to impregnate fecund young women (or at the very least go through the motions) arose - at least in part - from an urge to re-experience the energetic connection with newborns that can be such a "high".
Thinking through the consequences of marital break-up and newfound fatherhood, I realized that the joy of renewed parenting would be offset by sleep deprivation, and that the initial fun of a lubricious and adoring younger partner would inevitably shift into the grating of life stage differences.
As a therapy, I gave myself permission to both speak about my desire for children and to seek out infants to cuddle. Fortunately, I live in a community where people know that I'm not a paedophile and where opportunities and locations to offer to hold infants while their mothers shop or chat with friends are regularly available.
Although I still have twinges of mid-life marital ennui, I found that the frank acknowledgement of my strange attraction and the therapeutic touch of infant energy got me through the worst cravings without separation or divorce. Of course I did buy a two-seater, but as long as the wife is riding shotgun, that's all to the good.
Page created on September 30th, 2007
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