Men rarely talk about midlife crisis and even if they do it becomes a joke to be laughed at. It is often distressing for men to think they’ve reached life’s halfway stage and that time is running out. It may not be a physical condition but men could go through depression and anxiety especially those men who have not settled financially according to their expectations. Adult life is seen as “all work and no play,” or as a necessary sacrifice in order to provide children with their carefree lives. Therefore, when middle life sets in, men tend to feel they are not ready to age. Nazma talks about her husband’s midlife crisis and seeks solutions.
My husband’s midlife crisis symptoms
Aamir has always been extremely confident, a go-getter and an achiever. But suddenly he has changed feels his wife Nazma. There is a doubt in everything he does, he thinks and sulks more and there is a complete change in his appetite for sex. “These are the main symptoms that I have noticed in my husband’s midlife crisis,” said Nazma.
1. He feels inadequate while having sex
“Aamir feels inadequate in most parts of his life including sex life. He needs constant assurance and I have not been able to help him as I am clueless how to help,” said Nazma.
At times like this maybe Aamir’s ego has been bruised by his aging factor. He may not be able to identify the changes he is undergoing. Even if he did he may not have the reasoning right.
Nazma feels she cannot fathom his sexual behaviour anymore. “Sometimes he is over enthusiastic and sometimes he is not interested at all.”
2. My husband is bored to death
“My husband has started feeling bored at work. The man who was so industrious and enterprising ended up a CEO very early in life through hard work.
“Now he says his work is no more exciting. He probably reached his career goals faster than he had planned to. He has no plans of starting on his own and thus he has no verve for life now. The enthusiasm is dipping and he is only 50 years old,” said Nazma.
3. He constantly wants change
“He keeps saying he wants a change. We just moved to Gurgaon from Ludhiana and been here only for three years. He is ready for the next change. This attitude doesn’t seem like the old Aamir I have known. He will only move when he has done his best. I am sure there is much more he can do here. What I actually see is a downfall in his confidence level and to me, it feels like he is running away from something,” said Nazma.
What Aamir is going through is the midlife crisis. Something that could be as invisible as depression and as visible as a cold. Men have this beckoning urge to change their life and lifestyle.
The dictionary defines a midlife crisis as, “A period of emotional turmoil in middle age characterized especially by a strong desire for change.”
Men will wish to be more and do more as they realize they are no more in their prime. They can suffer a crisis of confidence that impacts their lives and careers. They begin to feel shaky in the workplace.
4. He is constantly looking in the mirror
“He has kicked up the vanity a notch recently and spends a considerable amount of time coloring his hair and hitting the gym.
He keeps changing his shirts and combing his hair for a long time before going to the office. I feared he was having an affair. But that was only my insecurity. Its more to do with him than another woman being there. He just doesn’t feel attractive any more.
He keeps asking our teenage daughters if he looks young enough. That’s when I convinced myself that I needed to know how to help him cope with a midlife crisis,” she went on.
5. He lives in the past
“Another thing is that he is overly nostalgic and reminisces his college life and youth all the time now. He opens out old albums, he listens to the music of his college days. He now rides the cycle to the market and watches all movies from his college days. I find this a lot to handle,” said Nazma.
6. He is over conscious of his health
“He is also getting over conscious of his health. He gets a TMT done more often than prescribed for. He keeps his sugar level in check and does a BP check every week. The doctor has not prescribed any of these,” said a concerned Nazma.
How to help your spouse to get out of a midlife crisis
There is no manual to refer to know how men manage. Each one handles it differently, but it typically involves a change in the way that they act and feel, and in their attitude towards life. Midlife crisis can happen at any time in life and can last for several years but it is called so because usually it strikes in midlife.
Men look at their lives at this stage and think they could be happier. Sometimes they wish more yet they find it difficult to spot what they further wish for. Some of them feel inadequate.
Here’s how you can help your spouse to deal with midlife crisis
It’s a middle life transition which women largely handle as Empty Nest Syndrome. Men usually take a middle life assessment at this stage. They review their career graph, their investment plans, family status, and individual growth. In actuality, it is merely a transition period of life and need not be seen as a crisis as the term suggests. The point is to have a strategy to make this transition smooth and relatable.
1. Boost his ego
Give a boost to his ego by complimenting him on his looks and loving him physically. Even if he shows signs of changing you can be the empathetic and understanding wife. Your stability is of prime importance as it is equally easy for the spouse to get frustrated and irritated. If you keep calm and patient it will help in dealing with your husband’s midlife crisis.
2. See a health expert
A mid-life issue can be triggered by physical changes as the development of health concerns. Aging is an inevitable reality. As one becomes old, the freedom to choose and reinvent oneself may seem to decrease, regrets may pile up, and one’s sense of invincibility and energy may also diminish. These are the emotional damages of aging.
Get your spouse to talk to a professional who will tell him that he is going through a normal stage of development. The professional will be able to tell him about the midlife transition.
Your spouse will also know that he is not alone in this, that most men have it. Importantly denying age is not the solution. Talking will help a lot.
3. Do a life audit
Help him do a life audit. If he is keen on making changes that are major in life, sit with him and help him figure out what is going well in life now and what is not. This will give him a picture of what he should change and what he should not.
Help him reframe his situation. He is reminiscing the good old days because he has framed a rosy picture of those days by remembering only the good things that happened to him then and terming the current as the challenging days. Remind him of all the happiness he has created in his current.
Help him focus on his future and do his best in the current towards a better future.
4. Focus on mental health
A man usually tries to go for “quick fixes” as he comes face-to-face with his own mortality. It’s not easy for anyone to realize that we are all mortals and it’s the beginning of the end. So we want to postpone the aging and remain young as long as we can. But denial or superficial actions also are not the solution because age will catch up.
Middle life issues are not any illness but look out for anxiety or masked depression. If you see depressive tendencies, then you need to get him to fix an appointment with a psychiatrist. He might need medical attention.
5. Approach changes in sexuality with openness
It is very important to accept the changes and address those. An open communication is key and if you can both take up meditation or some spiritual practices then energy healing does help a lot in keeping your mind and body in tandem. The good news is many people rediscover sexuality at this age and start enjoying sex and intimacy even more.
Midlife crisis is not a disease and it is more like a natural progression. It is not hard to deal with midlife crisis but sometimes professional advice helps you to straighten out the issues better.