New Zealand Woman’s Weekly
Surviving a MIDLIFE CRISIS
DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE BEHAVING WILDLY OUT OF CHARACTER?
It’s often the subject of jokes, but a midlife crisis can be a difficult and very real experience people go through, usually between the ages of 40 and 55. It’s often prompted by the realisation they haven’t done what they wanted to achieve by this stage in life or feeling stuck in a rut. It can have serious consequences, such as leading to depression and other mental health issues, and it can affect relationships, especially if one partner begins to question their priorities and wants to make big changes. If someone you know in that age bracket starts behaving out of character, a midlife crisis could be to blame. Warning signs include:
• Feeling a need for adventure. They may suddenly buy a motorbike, book a holiday or start socialising with younger people. This behaviour can be prompted by feelings of missing out or life becoming boring.
• Sudden, spontaneous changes. They may quit their job, start investigating new religions or dietary habits, or change their appearance.
This signifies a desire to do something new and different.
• Depression. If they feel sad and hopeless, have no energy or interest in activities they once enjoyed and are suffering from mood swings, a midlife crisis could be to blame.
• Lack of interest in things they used to care about.
Their priorities can change, so doing things like a favourite hobby or keeping the house well maintained can fall by the way.
• An inability to plan for the future. If they feel stuck and dissatisfied with their life, it can be hard to commit to plans for the future because they don’t know if that’s the direction they want to be heading.
• A desire for new relationships. They may be sick of the “same old, same old” and want to spark up their life with new people. This can not only mean finding new friends, but a new partner.
• Becoming angry at you. A spouse or partner can feel the reason they are stuck in such a rut is due to their marriage or their family. This can take a huge toll on relationships.
Often people work through midlife crises on their own.
Many of them find that over time, and thanks to making some small changes, such as taking up new hobbies or interests, they come to accept where they are at in life.
Unfortunately, some people may do something drastic, such as leaving their job or relationship.
If your partner is going through this, you can help by:
• Talking to them about it. Don’t stick your head in the sand – help them to work through it.
• Don’t be judgmental.
They need your support.
• Talk to a professional.
A trained counsellor can help them to understand why they are feeling this way and how they can get through it without making rash decisions they may come to regret later.