7 warning signs of a midlife crisis in men

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Would you know if the man in your life may be going through a midlife crisis?  Maybe it’s the sports car he recently bought that’s a giveaway.  His sudden, unexpected interest in looking more stylish could be a clue. Or maybe he mentioned about getting a facial for the first time ever and is looking into hair plugs for his bald spot.  Maybe you need to realize he really is going through a midlife crisis. 

A midlife crisis is not uncommon for either men or women.  We all become slightly nervous and feel the need to change as we grow older. Wrinkles, graying hair, becoming a grandparent or having a friend or parent pass away, reminds us of the passage of time and how precious it is.

But if a man is suddenly wanting or doing things much differently than what is considered usual for him, he may be feeling an emotional or midlife crisis of identity and self-confidence that typically occurs sometime past the age of 40.

If the midlife crisis is short-term and does not result in a man making long-term bad choices, it can usually be overlooked.  But recognizing and realizing if and when a man is in the midst of this circumstance can help him better adjust to life transitions we all go through.

Here are some signs a man may be going through a midlife crisis and what to do about it:

·      He is thinking of or already is having an affair

He is staying later at the office than usual.  His clothes smell of someone else’s perfume.  He is spending less time at home.  It could add up to one of the most painful midlife crisis a man may put his family through. For the woman in his life she needs to know it is not her fault.  This is a choice he made and he owns it.  When this crisis happens, the couple will need to assess their marriage by getting into counseling to see if it is savable. Being demanding, making ultimatums will often be ignored when a man is in a midlife crisis.

·      Sudden dramatic changes in his appearance

If a man suddenly becomes more vain than normal this could signal a midlife crisis.  Sudden appearance changes from improved grooming habits to wanting to get a nose job could also mean he is having or thinking of having an affair.  The main thing here is to make sure to notice and compliment him on taking better care of himself.  But inquire what has changed to make him want to revamp his look.  Getting to the heart of the issue can bring out what is really going on and if it may require counseling.

·      Impulsive decisions about money or his career

If a man announces out of the blue he wants to make a dramatic career change or has splurged on buying a red Jaguar when there is a mortgage to pay, he may be announcing “I want to live life to its fullest.” He may be feeling the pressure of getting older with life slipping by him.  He may feel afraid if he doesn’t do these things now they never will happen.

With men, there is a good chance he has already been thinking of these changes for a while but has simply not verbalized these decisions with his wife.  As hard as it can be, try to be patient with him but get him to open up by communicating and trying to understand why he made these impetuous decisions.  There is some reason why a career change or making a rash major purchase are important to himTalk to him rationally figuring out why he made the decisions he did and work together as a couple on it. 

·      He is abusing alcohol or drugs

If a man is resorting to alcohol or drugs to deal with a midlife crisis, this needs to be addressed as soon as possible.  Most likely the smell of liquor on his breath or erratic behavior will be giveaways to a problem he is having. 

Getting him into counseling may not be easy if he doesn’t think he has a problem.  Discuss with his doctor or help get him into Al-Anon or another similar group that provides support and help for leading him to recovery.

·      He has become more nostalgic

We all like to reminisce about the past pondering the “what it” of our youthful days.  Unfortunately, we tend to view the past through rose-colored glasses.  None of us know what would have happened if we had married our high school or college sweetheart.  But if his fantasy world turns into a reality of pursuing a relationship with an old flame through social media, you both will need marital counseling to patch things up before the damage is done. 

·      Displaying signs of depression

If a man is sleeping more than usual, has a loss of appetite or energy or states life is boring, these could be signs of depression which often tags along with a midlife crisis.  Life events such as a death of a loved one or layoff from a job can be triggers for men exacerbating a midlife crisis.

Any symptoms of depression in men need to be a priority in encouraging him to see a therapist, psychologist or a religious leader who can counsel him.

·      Little interest in sex

Sex life may naturally dwindle after the age of 50 but if a man is struggling with self-esteem or is more unhappy than usual, having sex may be the last thing on his mind.  Good communication and understanding go a long way on solving the issues that have led him wanting less sex. Finding fun things to do as a couple and giving him compliments to build him up can be a start to rekindling the sexual fires within.