Is a midlife crisis the cause of your divorce?

I’ve been reading up about midlife crisis (MLC) in men, and I’m pretty sure my stbx is suffering from it. Here’s a description of the symptoms: ages 35 - 50 worries about his appearance, sees an aging man in the mirror starts to style his hair differently buys younger men’s clothes starts working out or finds other new activities becomes very preoccupied by his sexual activity starts an affair with a younger woman says things like: I’m not happy in the marriage anymore I love you, but I’m not “in love with you” or feels nothing toward you I’m missing something in my life, but I don’t know what it is he needs to leave the life he is currently in buys a sportier car / spends money he doesn’t have wants out of the marriage, even if it’s long-term and there are kids changes his taste in music, food, or favorite activities

The sad thing about what I read about this, is there is nothing you could have done, or can do to change it. The crisis can last around three years, and what you need to focus on is taking care of you. I truly sympathize with my stbx now, and feel sorry for him. I understand that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and what he will ultimately be losing. If he was suffering from an illness that took three years to recover, I would never consider giving up on him. Unfortunately, the damage this has caused our relationship is not something I’m going to even consider reconciliating with him when he is past the crisis stage. I noticed that this topic (MLC) isn’t really discussed here, but I’m sure if the awareness about it is out, more stories will start to make sense, as I’ve seen the same symptoms brought up time and again.

Would you give your stbx a second chance if you thought he was going through this? My answer is no.

1 Like

Jeannie, since I am trained as a psychologist, I am looking at it from a clinical perspective. Let’s throw some philosophy in here, too: Whenever we take away free will, we run a fine line. We essentially say that that he had no CHOICE or no FREE WILL. His depression forced him to chase a young blonde bimbo while throwing his wife and children under the bus. Therefore, he is cleansed of all responsibility.Now we have reduced to him to the level of the criminally insane and the demonically possessed. We blatantly accept that he had no other choice, couldn’t have influenced an alternate outcome, couldn’t have keep his pants on…I don’t believe it, and I challenge you to find one shred of research from the scientific community that supports your position.

From a developmental psychology perspective-you can label it a midlife crisis just like we label the terrible twos or rebellious teen years. What we bring to this phase of our lives can be vastly different though. Different skills developed along our life spans, different biochemistry in our unique brains, different socializations. I am a psychotherapist with a psychology degree, as well and although I don’t like labels, I decided I am not going to get up in arms about them because they can kind of give us a general idea reference point to what is going on-an easy short hand. BUT-they are not helpful in the end with specific circumstances and are definitely NOT an excuse. I thought of it this way because believe me I ran the gamut with my stbx (is he bipolar, a narcissist, having a mlc?)-My kids and I are only the recipients of his behavior. We cannot change him, aren’t responsible for how he chooses to behave, not responsible for his self awareness or insights into his behavior. We are only responsible for how we react to how they behave.

I vote choice. A midlife crisis may occur, but it does NOT make a person choose poorly. A lack of character or a lack of ability to take responsibility for one’s own actions is the root cause. Life happens. ■■■■ happens. There are millions of men out there who lose their hair and age, but who do not cheat on their wives no matter how depressed. MLC is an excuse; not a reason. I’ve suffered from depression. You know what? I got help for it. I didn’t use it as an excuse to go have a fling. Men who are depressed have the same choices. Choose wisely or choose poorly. Depression does not MAKE you choose.

1 Like

Midlife crisis…amusing little description for facing ones mortality. People have been aware for years about this home wrecker but nothing has really been done to alleviate it or irradicate it from our lives. I look in the mirror and see a shell of my former self, sporting a whitened beard and lines on my face that remind me of the Star Trek episode where Kirk, McCoy and Spock age at an accelerated rate. I realize my life has less years ahead than there is behind me now. But I never had a crisis. My ex-wife did. She wasn’t comfortable in the fact that age is something we celebrate as it means we’re still on this side of the dirt. She felt unattractive despite my telling her how beautiful she was to me. And when a low life ex friend decided he wanted her as well as his wife, she fell for his false flattery and lies, she lost her “in love” feeling for me. She would have left me and our son if he left his wife. Totally cuckoo to me but it is a force to be reckoned with. Just wish there was a way to get rid of that awful feeling.