Whenever I think of a midlife crisis in men, the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love instantly pops into my mind.
The movie describes a man in a state of hopelessness (after finding out his wife cheated on him). He soon meets his savior (Ryan Gosling), who teaches him how to attract women and helps him restore his masculinity.
It would be awesome if Ryan Gosling coached men going through a midlife crisis in real life as well, but unfortunately, most of them aren’t so lucky. Going through a male midlife crisis symptoms marriage can be really challenging for both partners.
A sudden desire for excitement, lack of fulfillment and accomplishment, regret, seeking youthfulness... These are some prominent midlife crisis symptoms men have to deal with.
Below you‘ll find all you need to know about men going through male midlife crisis symptoms marriage, so stay tuned! 😄
Male Midlife Crisis Symptoms Marriage
If you’re a man unsure whether you’re going through a midlife crisis or you have a partner who might be dealing with it, these signs and symptoms will answer your questions:
1. Apathy and restlessness
One of the biggest signs of a midlife crisis in a man is feelings of apathy and restlessness. This includes lacking motivation and not giving a damn about anything going on around you.
Apathy can make a spouse feel neglected because of a significant decrease in their efforts. This means that their marriage will start lacking affection, surprises, and excitement.
Contrary to that, there are also episodes of sudden restlessness with difficulty concentrating on the task at hand. Spending time with their spouse is no longer a source of joy because their thoughts constantly roam.
2. NFA: Need For Adventure
The desire for life changes is omnipresent. Male midlife crisis symptoms marriage also include the need for adventure.
These men feel stuck in a rut and are bored in their relationship/marriage. They are no longer interested in watching movies with their partners or going to restaurants on Friday nights.
They want to experience something new, something wild and different. It could be bungee jumping, speeding and aggressive driving, traveling to unsafe countries, or something else.
They feel this strong urge to change their lifestyles and start doing things they usually don’t. Yes, this also includes having affairs, which I will explain in detail below.
3. Fear of aging
Almost every husband’s midlife crisis can be summarized in the following sentence: “OMG, I’m so old, and day by day, I’m getting older. Have I done everything I ever wanted in this life?“
Fear of aging can also be triggered by the death of a close family member, friend, or a loved one. For example, my friend’s husband was triggered when his best friend suddenly died from complications of a heart attack.
That’s when the mid-life crisis inspired him to start questioning his life choices and make up for lost time. Fear of aging can be so severe that most men start making impulsive decisions.
They no longer think of the consequences or take responsibility for their actions. Their mind is simply focused on seizing the day and YOLO (because they don’t have much time left).
4. Dramatic changes in appearance
A dramatic change in appearance is probably one of the most famous middle-age crisis symptoms. It’s when a man looks at himself in the mirror and realizes he’s far from the man he used to be.
Youthfulness and a toned body are a thing of the past and are their biggest concern these days. If they‘re not satisfied with their appearance, this can lower their self-esteem.
That’s how most of these men turn into men who crave constant female attention. They change their hairstyles, update their wardrobes (buy some youthful items), and start hitting the gym.
Their goal is to postpone aging and feel like they’re young, fresh, and funky again. This is especially true for men who were totally hot at a young age and now want to relive the good old days!
Yes, a male midlife crisis can greatly affect their mental health. Feelings of loneliness and existential depression interfere with their daily life and marriage.
They no longer pay attention to their spouse because their whole focus is on grieving their youth. If they suffer from a lack of accomplishment, they’ll feel like they’re not good enough.
Here are the most common signs of depression these men have to deal with:
• Sleep changes
• Changes in eating habits
• Loss of interest in things they enjoyed before
• Helplessness and hopelessness
• Suicidal thoughts
If you (or someone you know) are going through this, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
6. Making impulsive decisions
Male midlife crisis stages are often filled with making impulsive decisions. From buying new sports cars to excessive shopping, gambling, you name it.
Making impulsive decisions is all about breaking routine and fulfilling all their wishes (including irrational ones).
Let’s say that they have dinner with their spouse, and all of a sudden, they decide not to show up because they want to go out and drink with their friends instead.
Symptoms of a midlife crisis also include major changes like a career change. This doesn’t have to be an impulsive decision if they’ve been thinking about doing it for some time.
When I think of middle-aged men chained with guilt, I think of men who feel guilty for not taking chances and listening to their hearts.
Perhaps they feel guilty for not committing to another woman because they weren’t ready to back then. Now they might start overthinking that they would be happier with that woman than with their current partner.
Guilt and overthinking are the two biggest enemies of happiness because they force you to pursue a missing ingredient that often doesn’t even exist.
8. Having affairs (typically with younger women)
Why do men cheat? Well, one of the answers to that question is a male midlife crisis!
Since they’re seeking adventure and making impulsive decisions, they often can’t resist the temptation to be with another woman.
This has nothing to do with whether they’re in a happy or unhappy marriage. Their desire to feel youthful again and “taste something new” is the main culprit for this behavior.
Looking at other females online and being with younger women makes them feel “young” and desired, which is exactly what men going through a midlife crisis seek.
So, typically, it’s an older man and younger woman combination. Just think of Richard Gere in the movie Pretty Woman, and you’ll get the idea.
9. Low stamina levels
Low stamina levels can affect their entire well-being. If any prolonged physical and mental effort makes them feel drained, their quality of life and marriage significantly decreases.
For example, let’s say their spouse is interested in going hiking. Due to low stamina levels, their male partner might not be able to complete the challenge.
Low stamina can also affect their mental health as well. E.g., Their performance in bed is far less, and it’s not of the same quality as before.
If a man thinks he’s incapable of satisfying their partner, this will make him feel guilty and disappointed in himself. That’s also one of the reasons they start working on their appearance and strength.
10. Mood swings
For women, menopause is a surefire indicator of the beginning of a midlife crisis. For men, it’s mostly mood swings and other things we’ve listed so far.
Let me elaborate on this.
Experiencing mood swings is like constantly being on an emotional roller-coaster. At one point, they’re calm, everything seems perfect, and they’re affectionate toward their partner.
The next moment, they’re restless, thinking of going on adventures (or cheating on their partner with a younger woman). Controlling mood swings is difficult, and the best solution would be going to couples counseling.
11. Struggle with intimacy
When it comes to their sex life, male midlife crisis symptoms marriage can be divided into increased or decreased sex drive.
It’s when a man can’t satisfy his needs because his sex drive is too high. It could also be that he can no longer satisfy his needs with his partner but starts seeking others.
Contrary to that, decreased libido comes with its own struggles such as being unable to satisfy their partner = feeling disappointed. A sexless marriage is one of the most common marriage problems.
12. Addiction problems
Addiction problems are mostly related to depression, which is also one of the warning signs of experiencing a midlife crisis. Addiction problems include gambling, excessive shopping, and alcohol and other substance abuse.
Needless to say that a spouse dealing with addiction can be a nightmare for every marriage. It’s when all their effort goes into one thing: their addiction.
Partners no longer talk about their relationship problems because they literally “no longer exist.” They’re primarily focused on their addiction and other symptoms caused by going through a midlife crisis.
13. Constantly reminiscing about their youth
Leather jackets, going to concerts, drinking with buddies, women (LOTS of women). These are some things they think about once the youth nostalgia kicks in.
They can’t deal with the fact they will no longer be seen as young, attractive, and with high stamina. Also, they’ll grieve that they spent their best years finishing college, worrying about mortgages and other “life things.”
And yes, that is why they’ll try to defy the odds and start living a youthful lifestyle again that includes excessive drinking, careless attitude (being with other women?), and doing all the things they did before.
What Is A Midlife Crisis?
I think a better question would be: What is a midlife crisis for a man? Well, it’s a psychological crisis. It’s often triggered by events linked with aging like questioning their own mortality, deaths of those close to them, and similar.
A midlife crisis consists of different stages that can happen simultaneously or at different intervals. For example, someone can at one point experience guilt and, after that, be overly focused on changing their appearance.
Or they can be focused on these two things at the same time + make impulsive decisions. We’re talking about changes in behavior and their relationship/marriage that can be light, severe, or somewhere in the middle.
When Do Men Go Through Midlife Crisis?
What is the average age for a male midlife crisis? The average midlife crisis age for men is 40–50. During this period, many men get triggered by major life events such as children leaving home as adults, becoming a grandpa for the first time, losing their loved ones…
Psych Central claims that “a midlife crisis can be spurred by things such as age, trauma, or a change in some other benchmark against which we measure ourselves.”
Such and similar events remind them of how short life actually is. That is exactly when they start asking themselves questions about the quality of their lives, where they are right now, and whether they should go in a different direction.
Too many questions and not so many answers. That’s exactly what a midlife crisis is. It’s a period of rethinking your past decisions and seeking change.
It’s important to note that not every man goes through a midlife crisis. Those who have fulfilled lives and don’t regret anything won’t feel the urge to suddenly transform their lives.
How Does A Midlife Crisis Affect Marriage?
A midlife crisis affects marriage in a way that a partner desires to be more independent. They no longer think about making decisions as a couple – their sole focus is on themselves and not their unity with their spouse.
They are focused on satisfying their own needs, fulfilling their own (past) dreams, seeking adventure, and changing their appearance.
They often feel that their marriage is unfulfilling. Because of that, they start seeking affairs. When it comes to men during midlife crisis, they often look for other women who are younger to make them feel young again.
Can A Marriage Survive A Man’s Midlife Crisis?
Sure. A marriage can survive a man’s midlife crisis if it’s not severe. If we’re talking about a crisis that includes having affairs, aka a cheating husband, then it will be more difficult for a couple to forgive and get back together.
Of course, the answer to the question, Is my marriage worth saving? is individual for every couple.
All in all, couples therapy or seeking help from other mental health professionals is recommended. This will help a man realize what exactly is going on in his head so that he can understand it better.
Once he gets clarity, it will be easier to resist bending to his temptations and other things that could destroy his marriage. The focus should be on redirecting a man’s mind to fighting for his marriage and not crying over his lost youth.
Among all the listed male midlife crisis symptoms marriage, I’d like to accentuate this one: Constant reminiscing about youth.
The thing is, when couples no longer behave in their marriage as they did before, they get stuck in a rut and begin mourning for days past.
That is why you should still go on dates (even if you’ve been together for 40 years), pillow fight when you’re bored, and act childish whenever you have the opportunity.
When you’re both kids at heart, even at an older age, you will not regret anything because you know you live life to the fullest.