In this article you will learn:
- The real causes why men have a midlife crisis (Most people think they know this, but they don’t. I’ll share insights from my 12 years of experience as a dating coach.)
- A simple step-by-step plan to survive his midlife crisis and come out stronger on the other side.
- The answer to your question: “Do husbands return after a midlife crisis?”
- How not taking his midlife crisis seriously can make him resent you. (Keep doing this, and you are guaranteed to lose him)
- Clear signs and symptoms of a man having a midlife crisis.
Most women don’t know what to do when their man is having a midlife crisis…
A midlife crisis is an unpleasant phenomenon.
Your man suddenly behaves differently. From one day to the next he can come home with a piece of clothing that you want to throw straight into the bin.
His old motorcycle, which has been gathering dust in the garage for years, is now pulled out. And to your dismay, that thing makes even more noise than you can remember.
All in all, your man has suddenly become a different person without you understanding why.
“My husband is having a midlife crisis, what can I do?”
I’m very sorry to hear that…
I speak with too many women who are going through this.
I know how hard it must be when your man suddenly starts behaving like a 23-year-old.
But fear not.
In this article, you’ll find my simple step-by-step plan to help you through your man’s midlife crisis.
But before we start, I want to make something clear. For this to work you can’t focus on him to suddenly change his mind and not have a crisis anymore, that’s NOT going to work.
He has a profound dilemma, and he needs to go through it himself.
Your job is to NOT get in his way during this time.
The best you can do is to focus on doing the right things and make sure that his midlife crisis doesn’t come at the expense of your relationship.
So without further ado…
Here are the 10 steps to survive your man’s midlife crisis:
Step 1: Calm down
Take a deep breath.
Are you sitting down?
I’m going to tell you something that might shock you. It certainly goes against everything you have read about men having a midlife crisis.
It’s normal for men to have a midlife crisis.
Men and their midlife crisis is very real and every man goes through it
How bad it gets or how long it lasts varies from man to man, but you shouldn’t be shocked when it happens.
It’s to be expected that men will have a midlife crisis in life, sooner or later.
As a dating coach, I’m often closely involved in situations like this.
Even though I’m fortunately not at the age where I’m going through this myself, I’ve helped plenty of men who were. That means I know firsthand what works and what doesn’t to get through it.
Before I wrote this article, I searched online to see what I could find on the topic. Because obviously, I want my advice to be based not only on experience but also on science.
During my search, I found out that the internet is full of bad dramatic advice. Some of the things I read was that people associate a midlife crisis with a hormonal imbalance that would make men incapable of reason. They say it’s guaranteed to cause a lot of drama.
I even read that if his midlife crisis gets too intense, you need to give your man an ultimatum. And if he doesn’t agree with it, you should break up with him.
I wouldn’t advise you to do that.
The first step is to calm down, and stop Googling.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and reading that will only tell you the wrong way to handle it and potentially make things worse.
I feel bad for you, especially if you and your man have become more distant towards each other, and it has caused other problems in your relationship.
But look at it this way…
If you are already running around the house hysterically because you can’t take it any longer, then you can’t have a good conversation with him and solve the problem.
So the best thing you can do first is to calm down. Take a few deep breaths and try to relax as much as you can.
If that doesn’t help, then go and exercise and put yourself through a tough workout.
If you think you’re in a horrible situation, I can assure you that it’s not that bad. Men having a midlife crisis is being blown out of proportions.
Step 2: Understand men’s midlife crisis
A midlife crisis can occur in both men and women, but it usually lasts longer and is more intense for men.
Many people don’t know this, but most men get a midlife crisis at the age of 40-65, sometimes even earlier than that.
In fact, it’s natural and usually happens because of age, but sometimes for other reasons.
But if you know exactly the cause of his midlife crisis, then it gives you the confidence to beat it. The first thing is to know more about what you’re up against.
There are different stages in life when men most commonly get a midlife crisis
Sometimes a man, typically in his 40’s suddenly realizes that his life is NOT what he had in mind in his youth.
That can make him feel depressed, full of regrets, and have massive anxiety that turns into a midlife crisis over:
- Goals that have not been accomplished
- Missed opportunities
- Time wasted
- No longer as young as he used to be
But other times it’s set off by an event such as becoming a grandfather, mourning the death of a loved or another scenario that forces a man to look at his life from a new perspective.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, quite the contrary. This self-examination can reveal the truth of what he should do next in his life to become happy.
Take the man who’s followed what everyone expected of him his whole life, and worked at a job he hates for 20 years because it pays well – when he would have been much happier if he would have worked less, traveled more and taken more risks, even if people would think he is crazy for thinking this.
Other times what’s causing a man to have a midlife crisis is simply nature’s way of telling him to secure the survival of his genes
Nature and evolution ensure that every man has a deep drive to make as many children as possible and secure the survival of his genes.
That’s men’s mission. As a result, guys love sexual variation.
I understand that you don’t like to hear that. It’s rather vulgar.
But it’s a scientifically proven fact that most men who walk down the street are fantasizing about having sex with about 70% of the women walking by. (This number is sometimes even higher for younger guys.)
Here’s why it’s not as bad as it sounds…
Just because a man fantasizes about sex with different women a lot, doesn’t mean he’s a notorious cheater. It’s purely a sign of how he’s wired, and what his desires are as a man.
So when a man in his 40’s suddenly realizes that he’ll probably only have sex with one woman for the rest of his life. (If you have an open relationship, you can ignore this.)
That realization scares the living hell out of him…
No doubt his mind will panic a little and tell him:
“Wait a minute. I really like my wife, but just having sex with her for the rest of my life goes against my evolutionary desire to have as many babies as possible.”
He doesn’t think this on a rational level, it’s an unconscious thought process that most men don’t even know is happening.
The only thing he notices is that suddenly he has a lot of frustration inside of him, and that younger women seem more attractive than usual.
But you can notice a lot more signs and symptoms from his male crisis behavior.
The moment his midlife crisis start, he’ll begin behaving more youthfully by:
- Listening less to you and doing whatever he feels like
- Having the need to spend more time alone or with certain friends
- Having an increased sex lust or lack of it
- Pulling away
- Worst-case scenario, he cheats on you
All of a sudden there’s an inner fight going on inside him with a constant pull between his evolutionary drive to secure his genes – and his love for you and the importance of the relationship.
A male midlife crisis can also happen when his woman is no longer fertile
From an evolutionary psychological perspective, when a man’s woman is at the end of her menopause and reproductive career – this can spark his need to attract younger, reproductive women.
A lot of men have a midlife crisis when their wives are around fifty because then they’re no longer fertile.
His brain might all of a sudden tell him:
“Hey, wait a minute. I should bring as many children as possible into this world, why do I spend so much time with a woman who can no longer get pregnant? Who can’t give me any more kids? What am I doing?”¨
So he goes hunting for a younger woman, even if he already has kids and doesn’t want more.
It’s quite a trait of nature. I’m not saying it’s OK. It’s simply the result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, which naturally gives men a need for fertile women.
Some men just seek younger women who are able to procreate, not necessarily with the intention of having children.
Of course, that’s really hard to hear.
The women I help with this have often become very insecure. They’re thinking:
“Am I no longer attractive and good enough for him?”
So of course, they get very upset and don’t know what to do. No matter how they look at the situation, they get the impression that they’re losing their man to a younger woman.
But this does NOT have to be the case.
He fell for YOU, and his feelings for you have NOT changed. Even though it might seem like it right now.
I’ll tell you how to deal with this in the next step.
Step 3: Accept the fact that your man is having a midlife crisis
You can think of a midlife crisis as an accident or injury that hit your man out of nowhere.
Uncontrolled changes in his body that came without warning is causing him to act this way.
It happened, and there is nothing you can do to change that fact. No matter how much you wish you could go back to the way things were…
The worst thing you can do is to resist what’s happening, and start thinking of how much better it used to be, and hope it was different.
That will only make things worse.
Instead, completely accept it so you can face the truth and deal with it head-on.
When Kevin Hart was recovering from a near-fatal car accident in 2019 he treated the whole situation like a game, a test, and something that was put in front of him to see if he was strong enough to beat it.
That’s how you should look at your man’s midlife crisis. Welcome the challenge. It will make your relationship stronger afterward. The whole situation does bring some good things too that I’ll get to in just a minute.
Step 4: Take his midlife crisis very seriously
His midlife crisis is kind of funny in some ways.
There is nothing more hilarious than a man in his late 40’s who suddenly jumps on a motorbike in a sweater that looked cool 20 years ago.
Or when an old man suddenly becomes fashion-oriented out of nowhere. So he gets glasses with a trendy frame when he usually looks like an accountant.
Yes, there is no doubt he will make you want to laugh at his behavior.
But it doesn’t mean you should.
You must realize that your man’s dilemma is real.
Right now he really wants that motorbike, quit his job, or give up his whole life without any plan what so ever…
He doesn’t know that it’s his biological changes causing him to act like this.
But whatever you do…
Don’t make fun of his midlife crisis.
The moment you start making fun of him, you alienate him from you
You probably know how hard it is to love someone who doesn’t take your deepest issues seriously.
- It doesn’t mean you have to like the day when he suggests you have a threesome with a woman in her early twenties
- Or agree to pack up everything to move abroad
But you can UNDERSTAND HIM when he proposes these ridiculous ideas.
Don’t joke about his midlife crisis.
The danger becomes when you make fun of it. Then you alienate him from you.
Many women think it’s not a big deal to joke about it. One woman even told me that he was smiling when she openly joked about his recent ridiculous ideas in front of everybody when they’re at a birthday party together.
But make no mistake about it…
He will feel deeply disrespected and misunderstood, and that’s terrible for his ego.
Those little jokes are piling up, even if it’s only a few times a year. Especially when it happens publicly in front of other people.
This can have severe consequences for your relationship
He can start to weigh your relationship and his feelings for you – against his temporary natural desires.
And understand this:
He doesn’t know he has these desires. He only notices that his identity has changed and that he suddenly needs something different in his life. And the moment you ridicule him (not accepting him and allowing him to feel the way he feels), it becomes harder to stay with you.
You may think a few jokes should be possible for him to handle. Normally it wouldn’t be a problem. Guys make fun of each other all the time…
But with a topic like this, you simply don’t want to risk your man not being able to take it. Because if you cross the line, then there’s very little you can do to fix it.
If you reach that point he’ll ignore everything you say or do because he feels betrayed, which is completely unnecessary just because you made fun of him a few times, and didn’t take his crisis seriously.
Step 5: Be there for him
Just because a guy gets into a midlife crisis doesn’t mean that he loves his woman any less.
Your man loves you just as much as he did before this hit him.
So be there for him, and support him.
Remember: He didn’t choose for this to happen to him. He just woke up one day and it was there. It’s important to know that.
Help him focus on what you have together by showing him how much you love him and what great relationship you have.
Support him without judgment
If he suddenly seems to be depressed and have a lot of regrets – show him that you’re there for him without putting any pressure on him.
The problem is that he doesn’t exactly know what’s going on with him, only that he suddenly feels depressed, anxious, or full of regrets and is checking out girls more.
Here is something you can tell him to get him to share what’s going on:
“Hey I noticed that you’ve seemed a little down lately. If you want to talk about it I’m here for you :). Love x”
When he fully understands that you accept what he’s going through and will listen to him without judging (and he doesn’t have to worry about being ashamed of it and feeling like a loser) – then there is a chance he’s going open up to you.
If it turns out he has a ton of regrets because of his previous life choices:
- Help him create new goals that excites him
- Make a plan of how you can make the future amazing
- Do something fun together that will make him feel young again
In other words: Give him something to look forward to, something to make him realize that life is still pretty good and the future also brings a lot of great things, not just missed opportunities.
But with that said, since he suddenly has a strong desire for younger women, talking to you about that is just not going to happen. He doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.
I’ll explain further on how to do this effectively in the next step.
Step 6: Let it go
Let it go. I advised you not to joke about it and to ridicule it.
Unless he talks about it, maybe you shouldn’t even mention it.
This is something that belongs to him.
He may get doubts about your relationship. Not because he doesn’t love you, but purely because he has desires outside of the relationship that you can’t fulfill.
A psychologist with over 20 years of experience once told me:
“Tim, if a woman is the cause of a dilemma you have, you can never solve it with her.”
The same is true for him.
If he suddenly has doubts about the relationship and feels the need to check out younger girls, then he won’t bring that up with you.
But here’s how you can help him indirectly.
Do you know any of his guy friends that genuinely have your relationship’s best interest at heart? Then you can subtly encourage him to spend time with them to get him to open up how his recent desires for younger women.
What might happen is that he’ll open up to them about how he feels, and they’ll tell him he’s stupid for even thinking about being with a random girl with the risk of ruining your relationship.
It won’t make his desires immediately go away, but it will make him think twice about doing something stupid about it.
And that’s what friends are for, to help him through a difficult situation so that he doesn’t do something he’ll later regret.
Step 7: Give it time
I understand that you can get a little impatient during this phase. Some women simply do not want to be with a man who behaves this way.
I understand that, especially if it goes a little too far. But give him time to go through this.
It’s normal, and every man will go through it at some point.
You can’t change that not matter much you would like to.
If it takes more than half a year and you start to get really tired of it, go away for a few days and do something fun with some friends of yours – just to get you away from the situation a bit.
There’s no point in losing any sleep over this, it won’t be over any sooner.
Step 8: Decide that you WILL survive this period
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
And it’s important to focus on that during this tough time.
Don’t try to grow your relationship during his midlife crisis, just endure it.
If you’re going to try to deepen your relationship during this phase, it’s just not going to work. It’s a waste of your time and energy that could’ve been spent on something else.
Realize that during his midlife crisis, your only goal should be to get through it without any significant problems.
It doesn’t have to go perfectly. Just relax, wait it out and focus on just making it through.
See it like a test that you will not fail, just like Kevin Hart. A test for your relationship and that you are strong enough to beat this thing together.
If you do, then you’re going to be able to conquer anything together. You’re stronger than this.
Step 9: Make the best of it
The moment the midlife crisis happens, you can do two things:
- Stress out because your husband changed and is no longer the person he was yesterday
- Ignore the fact that he’ll be himself again, and cause a lot of drama that makes both of your life’s a lot harder
- Criticize him every time he does something ridiculous and make both of you unhappy
- Keep a smile on your face and make the best of a bad situation. Trust that it will soon be okay.
I cannot emphasize how important it is to choose the latter.
The more you focus on the problem, the harder you’ll make it for yourself. So try to stay as calm as possible and focus on the positive side of it.
There are good things about this situation also.
One great thing is that your man will get more energy and wants to do more fun activities.
When he is behaving like a younger version of himself, that also brings a lot of good things for you and the relationship.
- He’ll get a little wilder
- His sex drive might increase
- He may do things that he never dared to do before
You know what they say:
“People who feel young are generally a bit reckless.”
Especially if your man has been a “couch potato” for years. Then it may take some time to get used to the fact he’s suddenly doing all kinds of new adventurous things now.
But try to embrace this!
There are many advantages to a man who is trying new things.
- Let him seduce you
- Give him an opportunity to do his best for you again
A midlife crisis doesn’t have to be a catastrophe and be the end of your relationship.
If he buys a motorbike, hop on. If he wants to quit his job after working there for 20 years, be supportive (Think before you make any radical changes), and if he decides to start training Brazilian jiu-jitsu and learn self-defense, go with him.
You can both benefit from this situation and have a lot of fun at the same time, which brings me to my next point.
Step 10: You can behave younger too
For bonus points, you can join him during this phase and think of the things you would like to do to feel young again.
There’s no law that states you have to be so serious all the time when you’re over 40. There’s nothing wrong with behaving like two teenagers in love again.
Because he’s behaving younger, you now have an excuse to go along with that as well.
And not only that…
- You can take the initiative, and steer him into doing something you’d like to do
- You can see his midlife crisis as a newfound spark for your relationship
He’s got more energy? Great!
See how you can try new things that will make both of you happier.
Think of exciting things you want to do and get him to join you. And even if he won’t do that, you can enjoy do it yourself or with some other friends.
You can make sure his midlife crisis doesn’t become a big deal for your relationship. Even though it was stressful at times, and it drove you insane – you also had a lot of fun adventures that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
It can be something you look back at together and wonder how you did those crazy things.
He’ll get out of this phase sooner or later. When that happens he is going to be so thankful that you stayed with him through all of his bull*it. It will be something you can laugh about later.
This was my 10 step guide to survive your man’s midlife crisis
Let me know in the comments below what ridiculous things your man has done lately. We can laugh about them here it’s okay.