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While certainly not unique only to men, the majority of midlife crises do seem to originate with fathers, husbands, brothers, and boyfriends searching for answers to life’s tough questions. Whether a man feels like he needs to make a dramatic change or that his life could be happier if he could only find that missing element, most have the urge to do something soon.

While these thoughts can triggers a midlife crisis, men entering this stage of their life don’t need to become a slave to impulsivity and poor decisions. By realizing that you have reached this phase, then making smart decisions, you can steer yourself out of a midlife crisis and into a better, happier life.

Spotting a Midlife Crisis

While the term “midlife crisis” gets thrown around a lot to describe a number of questionable decisions and behaviors, an actual midlife crisis involves a man making major changes to his entire life. A dramatic example of this type of behavior would include a man writing his wife a goodbye note before withdrawing all of his money from the bank and moving to another city.

Fortunately this kind of midlife crisis rarely occurs. Instead, the majority of crises involve men making smaller changes to their life overtime. This can include deciding you need to change careers so you quit your job, or telling your significant other that your marriage is no longer working for you and that you want a divorce.

This overwhelming need to change a major component of their life leads many men to eventually reassess their life. Most, after an agonizing reappraisal, realize that this feeling is only temporary, and that they should stick with what they have.

While a number of factors can initiate a midlife crisis, there are certain signs that may indicate you have started a midlife crisis or that one could start soon that include:

  • Hitting your 40th birthday. The majority of men begin struggling with midlife questions as they hit or surpass 40; most cases of midlife crisis occur to men between the ages of 40 to 50.
  • You feel uneasy about major elements of your life. This can include questioning your current career or relationship, or the state of your health, and then feeling the desire to take action to make them better.
  • You feel the time to make a change has started to run out. A lot of men start feeling the need to make dramatic changes when they notice their appearance has started to change or their stamina has dropped; when they become a grandfather; when a parent of close friend their age dies.

However, just because one of the above reasons occurs doesn’t make a midlife crisis inevitable.

For men who have started to enter a midlife crisis, one of the surest signs is an exhibition of teenage-like rebellious behavior that results in them acting out in ways that will negatively impact their life. These behaviors may include:

  • Drinking heavily
  • Having an affair
  • Walking out on their family
  • Feeling as if their life no longer fits
  • A growing concern about their appearance
  • A desire for more thrills and excitement

Indulging any of these behaviors can quickly lead to disastrous consequences for men in both their personal and professional lives. Fortunately, a man can deal with the feelings associated with a midlife crisis without suffering life altering consequences.

Dealing with a Midlife Crisis

While a midlife crisis can lead a man to indulge in destructive behaviors, you can also examine the causes of these feelings of unhappiness and make thoughtful, intelligent decisions to address them.

During this period of you life, make sure you:

  • Keep in mind that feelings don’t equal commands. Even if you feel like escape from your home, job, or marriage is the only option to improve your life doesn’t mean you must follow through. While these feelings may point to aspects of your life that need changing, they may also fade in time.
  • Be thankful for what you have. By taking a step back to reflect on all of the wonderful things in your life that make you happy, you can better remind yourself of what consequences await if you take actions that could cause you to lose them.
  • Discuss your feelings. Before you take any dramatic action to change your life, discuss what you’re feeling and what actions you have considered taking with someone’s whose opinion you trust and respect. Talking to a pastor, friend, or mental health specialist can either help to reaffirm or dissuade your opinion and help you make a smart decision.
  • Reflect on whether your actions are realistic. While many men make successful transitions in their life and careers later in life, you need to be realistic about the goal you have set out. Deciding to start a new career in your 40s is much more realistic than say quitting your job to start a band.
  • Avoid hurting those you love. Remember that your actions affect not only yourself, but also those you love. Keep this in mind when making decisions that could not only alter your life, but that of your friends and families as well.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance health writer. To read more of his work, visit the website of Dr. Bruno da Costa, a dentist in Southwest Portland.


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