2781. ‘Midlife Crisis’


We commonly use midlife crisis to refer to the unexplainable behavior of men as they pass through their fifties. They transit a phase of acting different, out of character to their spouses. As Gail Sheehy reports in her 1976 book, Passages, both sexes go through a series of passages throughout life. Entangled together for our purpose here, middle age and midlife passages generally run in that order from ages 40 to 60 for non-executive and 50 to 70 for executive-type men. During short periods within those spans, a man reassesses and reconfigures his life, sometimes against his best interest in the eyes of his spouse.

Her Highness Yellowblue asks me to share what I can to help deal with her husband. So, I offer these thoughts.

He questions:

  • The self-admiration he gets from accomplishing what he works on routinely.
  • His work life as less enjoyable; wonders how he got there and why he’s trapped in it.
  • Whether past effort justifies his significance in life.

He seeks to:

  • Give up the past, live a good life now and not 15 years from now.
  • Let his feelings come out as more carefree and subject to change.
  • Dissolve the success model of his past, restore some adolescent habits, and live in the ‘right now’

He’s ready to:

  • Revise his life to make it more enjoyable with less effort; become more efficient living a good life.
  • Enjoy more independence from others, welcome different attachments.
  • Move his thinking from us-ness and more toward me-ness.

He:

  • Reviews his thoughts about aging and imminent death.
  • Displaces his inner contradictions from dependence on spouse (and does it faster than she can adjust).
  • Finds more contrast than likeness with parents, spouses, and children and tends to reevaluate his life more independently in those relationships.

No two guys are alike, timing is unpredictable, and spousal reaction can become terrifying. It’s just another routine midlife crisis for his spouse to deal with.

5 Comments

Filed under Dear daughter, Home CEO, marriage, The mind

5 responses to “2781. ‘Midlife Crisis’

  1. Well said, Sir Guy.

    With some empathy and “a gentle spirit that does not give way to fear,” we can walk through these times, and even have some fun with them. Men like women, can begin to doubt their self worth, feel as if they are getting old, begin to wrestle with some regret.

    Your Highness Insanitybytes22,
    You see it so pleasantly. If only all women could do that. Domestic harmony would soar across the country.
    Guy

  2. 1jarofclay

    Sir Guy,

    In WWNH you describe our nature “in the raw.” I have a question about men. Does a man in the raw believe that he has a right to a woman’s body (any woman, even a stranger) that he can do as he pleases?

    Magnolia

    Your Highness Magnolia,
    You got it. See Sunday’s article, 2782.
    Guy

  3. yellowblue

    thank you Sir Guy
    do the men ever come back to us normal or better after the crisis?
    i dont like my husbands character now.he was a leader but now follows the social media culture that includes things we were against moraily since the day i met him.he lost his go getter additude that i amired into a lay around woe is me on social media additude and belives everything those people say.
    nothing could ever keep him down,now he lays around instead of doing anything no matter how little,living on his phone.i pray he grows out of it

    imiss my husband.i dont know to wait it out and keep having hope for his character to return or just learn to deal with the man that he has became.its going on 3 years.he has gotten 40% better over this year but only see his character i loved for 21 years every now and then,but his morals are still not back

    Your Highness Yellowblue,

    Normally, a man will be different but not self-disqualifying after MLC.

    As to your situation, it sounds like more than MLC. Hard return to adolescent thinking, focus on sex outside the home, partnering with outsiders, and disregard and lack of respect for your opinions.

    All of which likely means that he’s reflecting off your past behavior and you remain the same in ways that he can’t forget it, which could also mean that you’re unwilling to forgive him. A vicious circle but not too extraordinary except as seen by one couple.

    I have no advice except for you to look for seeds of contempt you’ve shown in the past and may still be reflecting. You’ll find a lot of things to consider in post 2771.

    Guy

    • yellowblue

      thank you Guy,do you mean reflecting off my past behavior that i showed him when i found out his secrective life online,which i for the first time showed him anger,i did i guess sound critizing but not until after i went to him 2 times respectfully and asked him to stop his behavior online that it was hurting me and or marriage,but he didnt care?

      or my past behavior before he changed?my behavior before he changed i was a very good loyle wife for 21 years,i never critized or nagged,i was respectful and admired him so,thats why its been so hurtful with his behavior towards me,he treated me like i was so easily disposeable.i told him i forgave him even though he never once said sorry for anything he did online and thinks he did nothing wrong(i guess because no sex physically?)
      i dont bring up anything he has done in a year.
      the only thing i can think of i did wrong in the 21 years before his character change is that the past 3 years i been getting myself well and so i let myself go(because i was ill)and the house became out of hand.
      im working on it now im almost better.

      you said it sounds more like return to adolescent thinking so does that mean he wont return to the mature man he once was and do you know what could have caused his adolescent thinking if its not caused by MLC?

      and i will look for seeds of contempt i could/still shown in the past and may still be reflecting,if i change that and work on it,will it bring him out of adolescent thinking and pop culture thinking,basically back to the man he was for 21 years?
      thank you Sir Guy,you will never understand how much you been helping me.
      is there anything else i can do to help my husband come back to our family mentally the way he use to?

      Your Highness Yellowblue,

      You seek his return to what he used to be. Forget it. Won’t happen. Too much stagnant backwater to clear out of the marital river.

      Your best hope is this. Forget the past, live in the present with whatever it is and brings. When you study how to change things, such as writing me here, your time is spent in a groove that he reads as blame.

      He will only respond in the direction you would like to see, when he no longer senses any blame. If effect, you need a makeover that returns you to being his bride as close as possible to the one he married.

      Chalk it up to this. You changed, he followed suit, recovery depends on you, and you can only change yourself. So, change back into his bride. Tough? Of course. You have years of experience being different. Now, he too has the same.

      Guy

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