Think your partner is going through a midlife crisis? It’s not all sports cars and new haircuts. A midlife crisis is an emotionally uncomfortable period that people go through between the age of 35 and 65.1 For many, the crisis presents as a period of existential self-evaluation as one finds themselves at the crossroads between youth and old age, like constantly questioning their life choices or behaviors. For some, this period is a true “crisis,” one that causes them to act out of character in various ways, whether through small tweaks to their routine or drastic changes to their personality and beliefs.
One huge sign of a midlife crisis? Seeking fun and adventure, in both good and bad ways. Anyone may attempt to find fulfillment through drastic measures—think having an affair, quitting their job, or making a big-ticket purchase. However, those who opt for self-reflection over reflexes like buying a brand-new sports car end up happier because of it: “While we may feel compelled to take action in order to shift the course of our lives, innovative ideas need to be realistic, not impossible. The key is to make gradual measured changes that have long-term probability for success.
Some people who go through a midlife crisis will experience depression that affects their mood to the point that activities and relationships are negatively affected. Friends, family, and work may all be neglected. If you think your spouse is suffering from depression, watch for symptoms like sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism and loss of interest in once enjoyable activities. You will also have a lack of energy, there is inability to focus or make decisions. You will suffer from unusual sleep patterns and an unusual appetite. Remind your spouse that you’re there to support them through life’s changes, but encourage them to seek professional help as well.
There are two things you need to focus on- the first is paralysis, which can lead to frustration for both the person experiencing it and the people around them. They can’t commit to making a real change in their life even if they know a change is overdue. The other type is flip-flopping on important life decisions.
Whether due to a feeling of restlessness, infidelity is a common symptom of a midlife crisis. If your spouse withdraws from the marriage on both a physical and emotional level, starts working strange hours, or is more protective of their phone than usual, you may be seeing signs of a cheating spouse. But don’t jump to conclusions before accusing your partner of an affair. While it may take some time, it is possible to rebuild trust in your marriage after infidelity. Couples therapy is a good place to start as well.