It’s a common myth that only men go through a midlife crisis. In my coaching practice, I work with women just as much as I work with men. It’s true that women are as likely as men to experience a midlife crisis.
First, I’ll talk about why people, in general, experience midlife crisis. And then I’ll go into the differences between male and female midlife crisis. As you read on, remember that the causes of male and female midlife crisis are experienced by both sexes. See what resonates for you.
Why Men and Women Experience Midlife Crisis
Men and women who fulfill their dreams and live their lives with purpose and passion are less likely to suffer a midlife crisis. A man or woman who is self-sufficient and honors their own needs as well as meets the needs of their loved ones will most likely find the transition into midlife easy.
But those who put little thought into what they want from life and more effort into caring for others are more likely to experience a midlife crisis. If we work hard, spend most of our free time with the family, and don’t pursue personal hobbies or interests, then we are vulnerable and in danger of going through a midlife crisis.
If we spend our days taking care of children, cooking, cleaning, and putting the needs of family before our own, we are asking for trouble. If we have no outside interests, no career, and no way to fulfill our dreams, we are headed for a midlife crisis.
Common Signs of Midlife Crisis for Both Men and Women
- New obsession with appearance, youthfulness, and losing weight
- Boredom, unhappiness, and a need for adventure and change
- Confused about who you are and where your life is headed
- Feelings of remorse, regret, or resentment
- “Out with the Old, In with the New” regarding relationships and lifestyle
Male Midlife Crisis
Often, but not always, men go through a midlife crisis when they reach a certain age and become extremely concerned that life is passing them by. They become fearful of:
- The changes that come with aging
- Becoming ill
- Becoming less attractive to the opposite sex
- Not reaching their goals
Female Midlife Crisis
I see many women thrust into midlife crisis when they realize that they finally have the time, money, or energy to do the things in life they've put on hold while caring for others. The most typical scenarios are:
- The children are grown, and all of a sudden, a mother has the opportunity to do the things she put off while being Mom. Dealing with empty nest syndrome may bring about the feeling that she isn't needed anymore or that she is unworthy of happiness.
- A woman and her spouse have both worked hard, are now financially secure, and she views this security as her opportunity to explore and experience new things (with or without the spouse).
- She is coping with the biological and psychological changes of menopause, which causes her to question her choices in life and whether or not she should make lifestyle changes.
It’s important to know that both men and women can experience any of the above challenges. One thing to understand is that crisis can be an opportunity for growth. If you or your loved one makes healthy, positive changes, everyone profits from his or her personal growth. If not, be prepared for a bumpy ride. You and those around you will suffer the consequences.