Recognizing Midlife Crisis in Men And How to Cope With It
We’re not unfamiliar with the term, “midlife crisis”, but there are times still when I see people struggling with understanding what exactly this term means, especially for men. When it comes to men and midlife crises, I can name a few movies that depict how a male comes to terms with their midlife crisis period. But, is that all there is to it?
A midlife crisis is that point in life when you feel a bit lost, questioning your choices, and wondering about the meaning of life. Typically, a midlife crisis in men occurs in their 40s or 50s, but the timing can vary depending on individual circumstances.
This period is when you find yourself questioning your achievements, reworking your goals, and pondering about the path you’re on. Suddenly, the shiny sports car and going on adventures become more appealing; like a second coming of your teenage years, but with added wrinkles.
The question is; How can you spot signs of midlife crisis in men? Are there specific causes of male midlife crisis? If yes, how can one cope with it?
Let’s find the answers to these questions in this article!
What Does Male Midlife Crisis Look Like?
In men, a midlife crisis can look something like this;
- Feeling a sense of dissatisfaction with life, even if everything seems all good on the surface
- Wondering if the career path you’re on is the right one, if the relationships you have are the one, or if the decisions you’ve made are fulfilling
- I want to engage in youthful activities. Whether it’s extreme sports or revisiting old hobbies, the allure of the past can be strong
- Wanting to change your physical appearance, be it through your wardrobe, hairstyle, or other cosmetic procedures
- Questioning the meaning of your romantic relationships and thinking about changing the status quo
- Extreme mood swings that range from extremely depressed to extremely enthusiastic
- Becoming socially withdrawn and isolating yourself. This can eventually lead to sleep issues, appetite changes, and mental health changes.
Stages of Midlife Crisis in Men
There are five stages of a midlife crisis that a man goes through. These stages are not concrete in every man, but can be seen nonetheless;
- Denial: Denial is a common initial reaction. At first, you might ignore the signs or attribute them to temporary stress.
- Awakening: Denial is followed by awakening. This is when you start acknowledging the dissatisfaction and questioning your life choices. The realization that time is passing quickly becomes more apparent.
- Exploration: Awakening is often followed by the exploration stage. This is when the desire for change leads to creating an actual action plan. You might try new things, meet new people, or revisit old passions.
- Crisis: As the stages pass, crisis occurs. This is where decisions are made. This could involve major life changes, like career shifts or ending relationships.
- Acceptance: Eventually, as you move on, acceptance sets in. You come to terms with the changes, gaining a new perspective on life. Sometimes, these perspectives will be for the better, and sometimes, they might do the opposite.
Causes Of Midlife Crisis in Men
Where in women, a midlife crisis can be triggered by hormonal changes and increasing roles and responsibilities, in men, the causes can be slightly different;
- Aging: The realization of your mortality can be a trigger, making you question if you’re truly living the life you want.
- Unmet Goals: Unfulfilled aspirations or unrealized dreams can become more pronounced during this period, triggering a midlife crisis.
- Societal Pressures: Social and family responsibilities can add to the weight of daily life, which can contribute to the ongoing psychological crisis.
- Relationship Changes: If you’re going through a divorce or separation from your spouse or partner, then that can also trigger you to rethink your life choices.
- Empty Nest Syndrome: Just like in women, men too can struggle with kids leaving for college or otherwise. This newfound freedom from familial responsibilities can be full of uncertainty.
- Physical Health Changes: If you’ve been diagnosed with a physical ailment or a life-changing health scare, then this can also trigger your midlife crisis.
- Death of a Loved One: Death remains one of the most common triggers, whether you’re a man or a woman going through a midlife crisis. Losing a loved one and going through grief can go hand in hand with existential depression, triggering a midlife crisis.
- Lack of Success: If your peers have been accomplishing much and succeeding, then their success and your lack of success can make you reflect on your life goals.
How to Cope with Male Midlife Crisis?
With the right steps and help, you can cope with a midlife crisis. Here are some ways you can proceed;
1. Try Self-Reflection
Take some time to reflect on your life, values, passions, and goals. Use this time to understand what truly matters to you and where you see yourself going after this point. Is there a purpose to your life or a legacy that you’d like to leave behind?
2. Discuss Your Feelings
While men are notorious for not opening up and talking about feelings, it’s one of the things you can do to cope with your midlife crisis. Discuss your feelings with your friends, family, or even a therapist. It can help you find support and figure out your next steps.
3. Rework Your Goals
Go back and check your goals. Did you meet your goals? Are there any you’d like to work on some more? Are these goals realistic and achievable? Do they align with your values? Reworking your goals can help you figure out your next steps and make you feel less lost.
4. Accept Change
If change is supposed to happen, then let it. Change is, after all, inevitable. Resisting it won’t do you any good, so embrace it and accept it as it comes. Be open to new experiences and opportunities, but don’t let go of your values and what matters most to you along the way.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Make sure that while you’re working on coping with your midlife crisis, you’re taking care of yourself – physically and mentally. Regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting quality sleep can make a difference in your life and how you cope with the crises life throws at you.
6. Find A Community
Support is very important when it comes to dealing with life’s emotional changes. You can also find the support you need in the form of support groups or group therapy. Finding people who are going through similar experiences, sharing your stories with them, and learning from theirs can help you come to terms with your situation.
A midlife crisis, while life-changing as it is, is a natural part of growing up. It’s an opportunity for self-discovery and a chance to realign your life with your passions and values. Only when you acknowledge the signs of a midlife crisis and understand the stages of a male midlife crisis, can you seek the right help and support to come out of this phase with grace and more strength than you were before.
Remember, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself and find a renewed sense of purpose and joy in life!
I hope this blog helped you understand what a midlife crisis in men looks like and how to cope with it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.