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There are times in life where we begin to worry about how close we are getting to the end of our lives and as these thoughts come into play, we get anxious about mortality and start to express regret over things we wished we had accomplished in life. People who experience these worries or anxious thoughts are considered to be experiencing a midlife crisis.
There is a lot of debate surrounding the topic of midlife crisis and whether it is a real stage in life or whether society has turned it into a bigger deal than it actually is. However, we cannot dismiss the fact that people can, and do express unhappiness when they reach a certain age as they begin to reflect on the life they have lived and, in some cases, it can prompt one to make serious, drastic changes.
Unfortunately, there is no definitive age when a midlife crisis will occur, however research suggests that it is commonly reported between the mid 40’s and the mid 60’s. It is important to note that a midlife crisis will affect men and women differently; a midlife crisis for a man may last up to ten years, whereas for a woman it is most likely to last up to five years. Additionally, women may experience a midlife crisis earlier, as often women are more aware that their biological clock is ticking away which could lead to increased worries about not having children or not having a partner that they see a future with. As men can have children much later than women it can be argued they have a later onset of desire for radical change.
It’s important to remember, regardless of whether you think a midlife crisis is real or not, when your spouse expresses unhappiness or desire for change, you need to approach them with understanding, comfort and love. A considerate spouse can do wonders to help deal with this new chapter in life, so I have put together some ways in which you can best handle your spouse going through a midlife crisis.
In order to be a good support network for your spouse, you need to be able to identify possible signs that your husband or wife is expressing to indicate that they are going through a midlife crisis.
More often than not, someone who is facing a midlife crisis will express unhappiness in life – whether it’s no longer being happy at work, not being satisfied with married life or simply wanting to change the way they look or dress. Sometimes these changes may not make sense to you even though you may have been married for years it can feel like you don’t know them anymore. There is a chance that when your spouse is entering a midlife crisis, they may do things that you don’t agree with or things that are hurtful to you – including drinking more, spending less time with the family or having an affair.
Other changes to look out for are things such as questioning their identity and what they have accomplished in life. A midlife crisis creates a personal battle within and is often communicated through other means such as expressing regret for not accomplishing much in life, comparing themselves to others who have accomplished more or simply wanting to feel youthful again, to defy the feeling of getting older.
If you are wondering:
Will my husband ever come out of his mid-life crisis?
What are the signs of a mid-life crisis?
How to help your husband / wife going through a mid-life crisis?
How long does a mid-life crisis last?
Then I hope my top tips on how to be a supportive spouse when your husband or wife is expressing signs of a midlife crisis may help you –
It’s not easy for us to accept that our spouse is not happy or is feeling unfulfilled in life, especially if it is your marriage that is the subject of unhappiness. However, in order to get through the difficult stage when your spouse is going through a midlife crisis is to accept that things for them are not okay. The sooner you both communicate your feelings to each other, the sooner you can both decide what aspects of your life you need to work on.
Accepting that changes need to be made can really open up the doors for communication that are usually closed when we find change difficult and refuse to acknowledge our partner is not happy. Telling them they are not being themselves or that you don’t like what your seeing doesn’t work in saving a marriage.
2. Making changes
Use this time as an opportunity to take a look at your own life, aside from being a husband or wife, do things that you have always wanted to do, for example taking up new hobbies, or working on those personal issues that you have always wanted to work on. Not only will this help you to cope with the storm that comes with your spouse experiencing a midlife crisis but it will also create interests for you outside of your married life and can boost your confidence.
Sometimes the smallest changes in your life can impact your spouse and may encourage them to make positive changes in their life to make them happier and self-satisfied too.
Two happy people creates a happy marriage.
3. Be patient
When your spouse does something that you don’t agree with or that is hurtful to you, it is natural to feel angry. However, responding to someone who is going through an emotional journey can make the situation worse, and making decisions about your relationship when emotions are running high can lead to regret later on. Instead show patience and understanding by giving your husband or wife the space they need to work on themselves, and at the same time you can explain that you will be using this time to focus on yourself too. That way your spouse doesn’t feel like you are abandoning them but will also understand that their actions have an impact on both of your lives. You will also not be nagging or needy as this energy is very unattractive and also doesn’t feel good to be and act in this way.
4. Seek help
As with many situations we face in life, there are many benefits to working with someone you like and trust to get through the difficult times. A trained professional who has dealt with similar cases can support you as long as they have an action and positive focus. Many men and women going through a midlife crisis can benefit too, I have people ask me all the time Nicola is my marriage over or is this a mid-life crisis?
Do I leave my wife / husband or wait and see if this is a mid-life crisis?
Some may prefer to speak to a friend or family member, however when you are dealing with such a sensitive situation it is difficult for them to stay objective and could potentially cause further damage in your married life. Pick someone you feel can help, it can be well worth the investment to get sound advice rather than other people’s personal ideas, judgments and advice.
Ask them if they offer action steps to repair during and after major life changes and whether they can work with you both individually and then together.
5. Highlight the positives
It is not your job to fix your spouse’s midlife crisis, however one of the best ways to support your husband or wife when they are struggling with life is to help them to see the positives in what they have. Some people get accustomed to focusing on the negatives in life that they get stuck in a rut of negativity – all they need is a little reminder of all the amazing things they have accomplished in life.
Or better than that showing them. Booking fun, engaging activities, where they enjoy and remember the positives.
6. Loving Communication
In order to be a supportive spouse, it is beneficial to open up the doors of communication and listen to what your husband or wife is expressing sadness about – this will help you to figure out the best form of action you need to take to ensure minimal impact on your personal life and your married life during this crisis.
It is not your place to judge, hurt or fix your spouse’s issues alone and sometimes it’s easy to hold on to those feelings of anger and remorse when you have been the supportive spouse. It is important to remember you don’t need to go through it alone, support and audio programs on relationships, communication, self-love and confidence can help you and be your support even after your husband or wife has got through their midlife crisis.
Watching your husband or wife going through a midlife crisis is not easy, however I hope my suggestions for you are helpful and encourage you to turn a difficult chapter into a positive life changing experience for you both. That is what I focus on when I help couples when a husband or wife is having a mid-life crisis.
In my experience the signs of mid-life crisis are happening much earlier these days than stated before. I see men and women more and more aged 35 to 45, even 30 seeking radical change and an evaluation of all what they stood for.
Lastly try to remember it’s not about you, it’s about them and so don’t take things personally.
Do reach out to me if you can consider some support through this or would like to learn about my audio program.
As so often a husband or wife showing signs of mid-life crisis have low confidence and self-esteem doing a marriage or self-confidence course together or by yourself can be a great thing to do, as you will feel like you are doing something rather than waiting for time to change things. In my marriage program I cover
How to rebuild connection in a marriage
How to express yourself in your marriage
How to create more positivity in your marriage
How to let go of negativity in your relationship
How to let go of resentment in my marriage