5 Things You Can Do About Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis

by Chloe Jeffreys · 18 comments

in Sex, Love and Marriage

midlife-crisisNot every man has a male midlife crisis, but enough of them do–wreaking havoc on their lives and the lives of those who love them–that it’s become a cultural cliché.

Since Boomers are the ones who invented the notion that nobody over 30 should be trusted, can we honestly be surprised that people become a bit emotionally/psychologically unhinged when they lose the one most important thing in our youth-obsessed society?

If you’re a woman who is suddenly feeling like your life is spinning out of control because of your partner’s male midlife crisis you might be wondering what to do next?

What is a Midlife Crisis?

In 1965, psychologist Elliot Jaques coined the phrase “midlife crisis.” According to Psychology Today, symptoms of male midlife crisis include:

  • Discontentment or boredom with life or with the lifestyle (including people and things) that have provided fulfillment for a long time
  • Feeling restless and wanting to do something completely different
  • Questioning decisions made years earlier and the meaning of life
  • Confusion about who you are or where your life is going
  • Daydreaming
  • Irritability, unexpected anger
  • Persistent sadness
  • Acting on alcohol, drug, food, or other compulsions
  • Greatly decreased or increased sexual desire
  • Sexual affairs, especially with someone much younger
  • Greatly decreased or increased ambition.

No one is immune from having a midlife crisis; it affects men from all economic strata. Men who haven’t reached the goals they set for themselves as young men might fear they will never achieve those dreams, while affluent men who have achieved their goals might wonder, “Is this all there is?”

The question is: How can a wife cope with her husband’s male midlife crisis?

5 Ways You Can Cope with Male Midlife Crisis

1. Don’t panic

Overreacting won’t help anyone. Your husband’s behavior might be strange, but who’s not allowed to do some odd shit in the face of losing their youth and coming to terms with death?

If your husband has lost his perspective, now isn’t the time to lose yours.

If you’ve suddenly stumbled upon a secret porn stash, take a deep breath. This is not the end of the world. Almost all men view some porn, and it almost never has anything to do with whether or not they love or desire their wives.

And contrary to what you might have heard from the women at church, it RARELY indicates addiction!!

While I do believe that porn viewing can become problematic, you might have to reconsider whether this is a hill worth dying on in your marriage. Many women live perfectly happy lives knowing their husbands views some porn from time to time..

But what if there’s more to his sexual fantasies than porn? You might be wondering…

Is my Husband Cheating?

That got your attention, didn’t it? If so, then you might want to pay attention to what I’m going to say next.

2. Join in

midlife-crisis2NO! I’m not saying go for that three-way he’s always been fantasizing about! But if the alternative is adultery, who really cares if he buys a new car, takes up with the rodeo, or decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail?

Let him buy the car. Go shopping with him! If it’s a convertible, buy a pretty scarf, take rides into the countryside, and give him that fantasy blow-job he’s always been dreaming about. (Pull over and park for safety’s sake!).

Truly, what is the harm If he wants to relive some of his youth, or do things he’s always wanted to do before he dies? He isn’t getting any younger. And neither are you.

My husband has taken up karaoke. Competitive karaoke. I’ll wait here until you stop laughing.

If there is anything that’s more boring, annoying, or a bigger waste of time in my mind than competitive karaoke, then I don’t know what it is.. But my husband loves it, and he’s good at it. He’s won us trips and money doing it.

I’ll admit that at first I thought his fascination with karaoke was silly. I made fun of him, and after going a few times told him that he should go alone.

And that’s when I learned…

3. Don’t Hand Your Husband Over To Other Women

Just so happens that there was this girl from work who thought my husband’s karaoke was terrific. And she told him so. Often. She told him that she wanted to be there any time he sang, and she gave him her cellphone number so he could let her know when he was going.. And thus began a little texting thang between the two of them..

For the record, when I found out about it I broke Rule #1.

I’m not excusing men or my husband, but you need to know that young women today are extremely predatory. And they are after your husband.

The dearth of marriageable younger men, coupled with this crazy fantasy that your husband actually picks up his socks and does not fart under the covers, has turned young women today into ravenous husband stealers. It’s officially called “male poaching” and one sizable study found that 90 percent(!) of single women were more interested in a man if they believed he was taken than in a man they thought was single.

Author of the best-selling book, Not “Just Friends, Shirley Glass, writes, “…extramarital relationships today begin at work.”

What starts off as an “innocent” friendship can blossom into a full-blown affair. Strangely enough, your husband might not realize he’s being preyed upon. He’s just basking in the attention he so desperately craves.

If you don’t take anything away from this article, take away this:

If you don’t pay attention to your husband, someone else will.

If your husband has a job, and all of his teeth, then I gall-dum-damn-guarantee there are some women at his job who want him if you don’t.

So go to his karaoke competitions, go along for the ride in his new convertible, or cheer him on at rodeo. Because if you don’t, somebody else just might.

4. Take care of youmidlife crisis3

#2 and #3 don’t mean that you should forget all about you. In fact, quite the opposite. There’s only so much you can do for your husband’s male midlife crisis, so you’d better start thinking about yourself.

Now is the time to take that class, start your blog, or buy those art supplies.

While you might be tempted to isolate yourself out of embarrassment, now is not the time. Find a community where you can safely share your struggles.

Be honest with yourself. Are you feeling a loss of youthful vitality, too?

Take care of the body you have and stop obsessing over your flaws. Don’t set outrageous weight loss goals! Just exercise, eat right, and drink plenty of water.

Remember that sexual desirability is not about size, age, or looks. Being sexy is an attitude of openness towards giving and receiving pleasure.

Nothing is more fascinating than a woman with interests and passions of her own who feels good in her own skin. Fascinate yourself, and you’ll find others are fascinated by you, too.

5. Get Counseling

If you tell me you can’t because “he won’t go” I’m going to reach through this screen and throttle you right here, and right now.

Over and over again women say to me, “But, Chloe, my husband won’t go to counseling!”

Seriously?

I’m not buying it.

Because over and over again I’ve watched these same men, who supposedly won’t go to counseling, BEG their departing wives for counseling to save their marriages as the women are walking out the door.

I’ve seen this so many times that I think there should be a name for it. And it leaves me wondering, “Who really didn’t want to go to counseling?”

In the movie Hope Springs Meryl Streep’s character does exactly what I’ve been coaching women to do for years.

  1. Tell your husband in no uncertain terms that you believe your marriage is in serious jeopardy and could end in divorce if something doesn’t change.
  2. Find a therapist and make an appointment.
  3. And then go whether he goes or not

If he goes with you, that’s great. If he doesn’t, you’re going to need counseling anyway to help you figure out how to live your life without him. Either way, it’s win-win.

What if it He Wants a Divorce?

The mere thought that this midlife crisis of his could end in divorce can be paralyzing, but I’d be naive not to recognize that it does happen. Divorce was on the table at one point in my own marriage.

If you are wondering how in the world you can ever start over again, here’s a great article by my friend, DA Wolf, from Daily Plate of Crazy on how to start over in middle-age.

What about you? Have you ever had to deal with your partner’s male midlife crisis? What tools have you used to cope? Are you still struggling with male midlife crisis? If you’re a guy, I really want to hear from you!

If you agree or disagree with me, I’d love to hear about your experiences and learn what you did to cope with male midlife crisis.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

sandra September 11, 2014 at 2:24 am

my husband is going through this now and it all came to light after I discovered his affair which he has now stopped. He says he lives me and has a life to be proud of, great family, top job, nice car and good friends so he can’t understànd why he isn’t always happy. He left a week ago after I couldn’t cope and came back saying he felt happier because he missed me but he still doesn’t know how he feels. I’m at a complete loss what to do and it’s killing me. I try not to go on about it but I can’t help myself. Our sex life is better than it always has been and that is a time we are really comfortable around each other. I decided today to stop going on to him about it because I know it is destructive to us both but it’s still eating me up inside.

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Chloe Jeffreys September 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Oh Sandra. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I think part of the problem is the expectation that having a lot of life’s desirable assets (job, family, car, etc) means a person will always be happy. As a person who does believe in happiness for the most part, I think this concept is unhealthy. We can be happy as hell, and yet still sad that life is finite, and along with that goes things like deterioration, disease, infirmity, and ultimately death. These are the realizations of middle age. No matter how good we have it there is a grieving of the life, or lives, we’ll never have time to live.

Now is the part where you have to take care of YOU. Having your contentment resting on his behavior and how he feels is building a house on a sandy shore, to say the least. Of course, when you’re married your fate is intrinsically linked to your spouse’s. But it isn’t good for you to be held hostage emotionally this way. I hope you can find some peace. The best way I know how to do that is to seek something so interesting and fulfilling that you aren’t spending all of your time worrying over him and his needs. That and heavy exercise have helped me tremendously. Take care of yourself. I’m here if you need a shoulder to cry on.

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sandra September 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Thank you. I did write a long reply but somehow deleted it and can’t find the heart to write it again tonight. I’m trying hard and will continue to for now x

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Don Dressel August 11, 2014 at 1:03 am

What about women? Do they not go through somewhat of a mid-life crisis? My wife seems to be going through something close to one but when she realized how much I love her and through what I wrote from the bottom of my heart she has drawn closer to me. I have changed my ways by doing more with her and exercise regularly and I look much better. She still has issue’s and I have told her I would always be there for her and have given her space!

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Chloe Jeffreys August 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

Women most definitely can and do have midlife crisis. It’s usually lumped under the menopause label though, and blamed on hormonal imbalances. I don’t think menopause is a hormonal imbalance. It’s a fact of life, not a medical crisis. What it does mean though is that estrogen wanes. Estrogen is the bonding hormone. It’s what helps women put up with crap from their mates so their children won’t starve. But once this hormone fades, and the children leave the nest, suddenly all the years of tolerated crap comes into perspective. Men, like yourself, who up their game, are likely to find their wives want them again. Men who decide not to become better mates might find themselves in divorce court, often baffled on how they got there.

Good for you that you loved your wife enough to listen to what she needed. That’s very encouraging to hear.

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Don Dressel July 30, 2014 at 2:05 am

I myself have gone through somewhat of a midlife crisis but all I did was go out and buy a muscle car. My wife hates the car because it is red with black stripes and said it looks like a teenager should be driving it. My response was a teenager could not afford a 50 thousand dollar car! I also work out everyday but only to look better and have better sex with her. Her response I do not know if I am still in love with you but I do love you but I AM NOT HAPPY! Women I will never figure them out!

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Chloe Jeffreys August 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

I told my husband that I’ll never tease him if he buys a midlife crisis car. Better a car than so many other things! It would be better than karaoke.

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Don Dressel August 13, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Yes as people have told my wife she is lucky It was a muscle car and not a 35 year old woman!

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concerned July 8, 2014 at 7:50 am

I am still trying to cope with my husband’s midlife crisis. I did all the wrong things at first. Sometimes I still think I am doing wrong. He is hurting me and my children every day. He stays gone all the time not coming home until 1130 -12 during the week doing what ever he wants. He goes out every weekend drinking with friends sometimes so drunk his friends drive him home or he doesn’t come home. He gave me the line I love u but I’m not in love with u anymore. I know he loves our kids but he is constantly pushing them away. The only time he sees them is in the morning before he goes to work. I’m so hurt and tired I just don’t know what to do. I am completely miserable. He has looked for places to stay but hasn’t left yet. I have been in therapy ever since this all started and of course he will not go with me. I’m on anti depressants now also. I feel like I’m just dying inside. The man i fell in love with and married is no longer the man that I’m living with. I feel like I’m living with a complete stranger. He pushes me away every day. Not interested in me what so ever. He almost acts like I disgust him sometimes. Caught him on the Internet talking to a female which ended up a scam. I think he is still talking to her or someone else. His best friend died 2 yrs ago which I think was the trigger to all of this. Because he said to me I don’t want to die unhappy. I just don’t know what else to do. Do I keep living this unhappy life with him forever until he leaves or snaps out of it? Or do I just make him leave. I would appreciate any advise from anyone. Thanks so much.

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Don Dressel July 30, 2014 at 2:17 am

Your husband needs to grow up! Sit him down and and ask him what the hell is going on? I sat my wife down asked her to be honest with me and said is there anyone else? Her reply was no and then I told her if she was unhappy we could sell the home and go our own way again she said no. Now that I work out everyday I have lost 30 pounds and have toned up. She has seemed to get better. If I you I would sit him down and tell him how you feel then put an ultimatum on him. You and your kids deserve better and do you really want to live like this? Join a gym and work on yourself and he will notice I promise you!

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D. A. Wolf May 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm

There are many excellent points here, Chloe. (And yes, I’m chuckling at competitive karaoke.) I would add that this can occur to lesser degrees and multiple times – as in smaller ‘eruptions’ that express the fear of aging, job dissatisfaction, a sort of restless boredom in which your relationship may be going along (bumpily) for the ride.

All the more reason that paying attention to what your husband/partner is going through and communicating (rather than avoiding) is important.

And thank you for the link love!
D. A. Wolf recently posted..50 Years Old and Starting Over. Where to Begin?My Profile

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Chloe Jeffreys May 31, 2014 at 7:31 am

Hey DA, thanks for commenting.

Communication is always so critically important. And sometimes so hard. I know I’ve been guilty of attempting to ignore the elephant hoping that it would just go away. It never does, does it?
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex LifeMy Profile

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Dr. Margaret Rutherford May 29, 2014 at 4:29 am

Chloe, I couldn’t help but comment on a strong point you make in this post. I have always said I can do marital therapy with one person in the room! The other gets kinda curious about the changes the other is making or the relationship will symptomatically change because one person is altering their behavior. I really agree with you and am glad you have made this point so clear. Thanks for a great post and one that is using what sounds like you learned the hard way to wonderful use.
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Chloe Jeffreys May 29, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the matter. Sometimes we can’t wait for the other person to be ready to grow. We might be the only one in the relationship who is feeling the growing pains, or who realizes the flower pot is about the burst. Too often I’ve seen women say they can’t go because their husbands won’t go. But eventually the wife gives up and decided to divorce. And then suddenly the man is all wanting to go to counseling. But the woman’s love is dead by then. Don’t wait until he’s ready. Just go. And make it clear that you want counseling because you care so much about your relationship.

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KymberlyFunFit May 28, 2014 at 12:02 am

Fortunatley my hubster never went through a midlife crisis. Hmm, maybe he still has that coupon and plans to redeem it. Still, I loved your post and how cleverly you wrote it. Great structure, transitions, content, tone. Babe – ya got it all! Gotta run now to prep for my competitive karaoke.
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Tammy May 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

Chloe, so right on. In a sad on point kind of way. Too bad that it happens but best not to pretend that it doesn’t. Karaoke? It could be worse, girl. I never dealt with a mid life crisis during my 29 year marriage. But it sure happened a few years after the divorce. Fast cars, young Russian girls, expensive toys and a hair piece. It’s his life, his choice and I’m happy to be free of it. However, if the marriage had lasted, I wouldn’t have had a problem with any of it, except the young girls, of course. We are both much happier now. Silver linings!
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Brenda May 26, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I chose to embrace his new love of scuba diving by getting certified myself. And I’m doing a vertical dance class for ME that he gets to reap the benefits of a fitter and more confident wife. Getting my groove back has been one of the great benefits of being friends with you, Chloe.

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Chloe Jeffreys May 26, 2014 at 10:31 pm

I’m always glad to support a sister in arms, Brenda. You’ve been such a HUGE encourager to me over these many years. So trust me, it goes both way!
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