Something as small as hair loss or as big as the death of a parent can push your man into a mid-life crisis. Suddenly, he realizes that we all face growing older and, ultimately, mortality. It’s enough to prompt any man to take serious stock of his life. His challenge also is compounded by some basic biology. Just like women, men confront mid-life biochemical imbalance. And just like women, they are hit with physical, psychological and emotional upheaval. The turmoil can put stress on your marriage, but matrimonial consultant Sheela Mackintosh-Stewart offers advice on how to save your relationship.
- Stay alert.
Be aware of warning signs that could spell trouble. He may start muttering odd phrases or acting rashly. You may hear hints of discontent such as, “It’s not you, it’s me”, or, “I don’t know what I want.” Don’t ignore him when he says things such as, “We’re drifting apart.” Ignorance does not make for a blissful marriage when he warns you that he’s feeling trapped or overwhelmed.
- Show him you care.
Let him know that you’re listening and that you care about his needs. Show him that you are on his side. Although men can hate heavy emotional conversations, they love comfort that can make their lives happier. Avoid attack phrases such as, “Why are you acting like this?” Ask him to tell you what’s bothering him and then work together to fix the problem. Does the family need to get finances under control? Do the two of you need to reignite your love life?
- Establish boundaries.
“Striking the right balance by setting clear boundaries to meet both your needs is essential,” says Mackintosh-Stewart. “He will be happier once he starts noticing changes and results and sees that he needs you and that he is better off team-working with you.”
Setting up the right boundaries means taking care of yourself emotionally and physically. Give yourself some “me time,” she recommends. You won’t feel quite as helpless in the face of his mid-life crisis behavior if you take control of your life.
- Focus on your mutual life goals.
“The sense of stagnation frequently lies at the heart of midlife crisis as he grapples with his life being a series of missed failed opportunities, aging and the looming threat of mortality. Personal fulfillment rather than family happiness can often be the sole focus,” says the consultant.
“Being married doesn’t give you a crystal ball into reading his mind about his wants and needs, as these often change over time,” concludes Mackintosh-Stewart. “But focusing your energy on being the best person you can be will helping him to do the same is a must.”
“A strong, understanding, nurturing wife and a strong marriage is the tonic for a man in mid-life crisis, so wives will need to step up.”