Do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis?

Do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis?
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Do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis?

You may have thought your marriage was fine until your husband dropped the bomb that he is unhappy and is leaving. This is a common symptom of the male midlife crisis that leaves the wife reeling and wondering what the hell happened. 

Men may enter a midlife crisis around 45 to 65 years of age causing marriage problems. Many men pass through this psychological crisis and resume their normal married life. However, others return to their normal personalities but realise they are no longer happy in the marriage and obtain a divorce.

Coping with a husband who is going through a midlife crisis and throwing grenades into your marriage is incredibly hard to deal with. It can be an unbelievably painful and soul-destroying experience.

You are left wondering, do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis?.

However, I want you to know that you are not alone and there are things you can do to cope and thrive. Understanding what is going on is the first part of the battle. 

Knowledge is power

Do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis?

The male midlife crisis is, at its heart, caused by the fear of death. Fear of running out of time. Fear of ageing. Fear of the decay. Of heading towards the end of the road. 

This gut-wrenching existential fear causes an overload. Men are notoriously bad at coping with emotions. This overload totally exceeds their ability to cope. There is usually a trigger or catalyst and everything explodes. 

They run away and make big changes leaving a trail of charred wreckage behind them, usually in the form of their marriage, wife and kids as well as personal relationships. 

You are left on the sideline staring into a blackened crater as they roar off into the distance {often astride a new Harley motorbike with a much younger woman on the pillion}.

They are nothing if not predictable.

The truth is that there is no way to predict if he will come back, as painful as that is.

The midlife crisis is a process that he needs to go through. It can take up to 10 years.

However, many men find themselves standing in the wreckage after the dust has settled and wondering “What the hell happened? How did I get here?”

At that point, there is a possibility that he may realise what he had and return. 

Whilst this is a possibility you mustn’t hang around waiting for him. 

Being clingy and desperate will make his return less likely. Work on your confidence and build a life for yourself. That way, if he does return you will be stronger and more likely to be able to repair and improve your marriage.

How long will my husbands midlife crisis last?

Coping with your husbands midlife crisis

How long will my husbands midlife crisis last?

The male midlife crisis seems to last about 3 to 10 years. It generally happens between 45 and 65

However, there is actually very little research to pin it down. In fact there is more research about the lack of research.

For example – Mind the Gap in the Middle: A Call to Study Midlife

However, anecdotal evidence of whole swathes of traumatised women coping with this psychological crisis in their spouses shows that these figures seem about right.

To understand how long it will last it’s helpful to understand the stages of male midlife crisis. Most men generally stick to this pattern so you can start to understand where in the process your husband may be.

The 5 stages of the male midlife crisis

Men pass through a midlife crisis in stages. Each stage has its own character and behaviours. Once you see the stages you can understand where your husband is and how to handle it more easily.

Stage 1 – The calm before the storm.

This stage is the calm before the storm. Fear of ageing is drawing in. He may feel that he hasn’t achieved the things in his life that he wanted.

He hasn’t achieved in his job. He hasn’t travelled enough. He doesn’t have enough money. He sees the time available before death shortening and feels he will never achieve those things. He starts to panic.

At this stage, he may become introspective and quiet. He may withdraw a little. 

You may feel there is something wrong but you can’t pinpoint it. If you ask what’s wrong he may give a general answer like “Oh work is stressful you know…”

You may try to do things to improve the situation and make him feel happier. However, whatever you do he will continue to withdraw into himself and his own life plans.

Stage 2 – Storm clouds are gathering

In this stage, the storm clouds are gathering. Your husband is brewing with simmering feelings of resentment. 

It’s possible that in his head he mulls over the obligations of the relationship or marriage. He may resent his sacrifices, for example, whilst raising kids. He may think he’s the only one who has made such sacrifices.

For example, he may feel that he was the breadwinner whilst you stayed home and that this has trapped him in a job he hates. 

This is the point when blame starts to rear its head. He may blame you for the problems in the marriage or how he feels. I will address this in more detail later in the post but for now, know that its not your fault.

Midlife crisis man in sports car

The sports car stage

Stage 3 – The sports car stage

This is when the midlife crisis starts to become more obvious. We all know the stereotype of the midlife crisis man with a new red sports car. Well, this is the stage where that happens. 

At this stage, he tries to recapture a feeling of youth and often of being more attractive to women. He may start a fitness regime or join a gym. 

He may buy a new wardrobe or get a more youthful haircut. He may start going to night clubs or hanging around with younger people at work. He may buy that red sports car. 

It’s all a desperate attempt to turn back the clock and run away from his base fear. 

The fear of Death.

As he starts to look a bit more youthful in his own eyes his ego expands. This can lead to him being sanctimonious and judgemental, especially towards you, his wife. 

He may say things like “well you have let yourself go a bit” “you should dress a bit younger”. You may remind him subconsciously that he is still the same age as he was, despite the new wardrobe and that makes him scared.

do-husbands-ever-come-back-after-midlife-crisis

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Stage 4 – The Bomb Drop

This is the stage that is probably the most painful for you. 

He builds on his desire to recapture youth by reinventing himself. He may overhaul his whole life with new interests and friends. This is the point where he will criticise you more and more in his own head and maybe to your face. 

He will possibly be angry, moody and belligerent. In his mind, he is blaming you for anything and everything that has gone wrong in the marriage and his life. 

He does this to justify his own actions to himself. He thinks that if it’s all your fault then he is well within his rights to behave in a self-focused and often appalling way. 

He is justifying it to himself. “If you had just taken more effort to lose weight none of this would have happened.” “If you had just let me…”

Of course none of this is true but it is his inner dialogue and he believes it.

This is the stage where another woman often enters the scene. 

He may spark up a friendship with a woman at work or an old flame on social media. Often she is a younger woman. This fans the flames of his desire to feel youthful. 

If you get upset about it, YOU are the one to blame for being uptight. Why can’t he have friends right?

This often leads to the Bomb Drop

The point where he leaves for a younger woman. If you weren’t aware of how the preceding stages work this can come out of the blue and is horrifying and hurtful.

However, not all men leave for another woman. He may say he is confused and “wants space” or “need to find himself” or he may say things such as “I love you but I’m not in love with you”. There is a well thumbed script that many men speak from.

These mixed messages are confusing and can leave you wondering what has happened and blaming yourself. 

It’s not your fault.

He may move out or he may stay in the house living the single life which is incredibly painful.

Whatever he does he will find a way to live his single life. To have his cake and eat it. 

As he goes through this cycle of self-discovery and recreation you will feel powerless and out of control. 

It’s my guess that you are at this stage now and that is what has led you to this page. You may be in panic mode which is what has led you to search to see do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis. 

As he forms his new identity he can shatter yours and that is what we do not want to happen.

Stage 5 – The Resolution

This is the last stage of the male midlife crisis. However, it can take a long time to reach and he may be stuck in stage 4 for some years.

At this point, the crazy mist may clear from his eyes and he may begin to look around and wonder what on earth has happened. He may review his choices and decide what he wants in the future. 

Should he divorce you? Should he stay with his new girlfriend? Should he come back and give it another go?

This is the point when he may realise that he has created a disaster and wants to come back. 

You must look at his motivations. If he wants to return because his new girlfriend has left him or for financial reasons then this doesn’t bode well for being able to rebuild the relationship.

You have to be sure that he has got everything out of his system and is returning for the right reasons or the whole cycle may repeat itself leading to even more heartache on your part.

However, some men do realise that the grass was not greener on the other side. They realise that they do still love their wife and that they have made a big mistake. 

At this point, it may be possible to start to put down new foundations and rebuild the marriage from the ground up.

By understanding these stages of a male midlife crisis, you can understand what is happening and have the best chance of being able to rebuild your marriage if he wants to return

Does midlife crisis lead to divorce?

The midlife crisis throws an enormous spanner into the machinery of marriage and does often sadly lead to divorce. 

Whilst overall divorce rates have gone down, research indicates that divorce for midlife and seniors is actually increasing. 

Divorce Rates By Age
AgeDivorce Rate
40-49 21 Divorces per 1000
55-64
5-11 Divorces out of 1000
65 and older
2-6 Divorces per 1000

Source – Age Variation in the Divorce Rate, 1990-2012 Susan L. Brown, I-Fen Lin, & Krista K. Payne

These statistics do show that people can grow tired of their marriage as they get to midlife. 

There is even a newly coined term for this phenomena. The Silver Divorce.

It’s now easier to get divorced than ever before. People may be less likely to stick around and work through the really tough parts of being in a long term relationship.

However, they may not realise how much they are giving up.

Why do midlife crisis husbands blame wives?

One of the most heartrending parts of reading the stories of women dealing with their husbands midlife crisis is this. Often they feel totally to blame for what has happened. Often their husband has told them it’s all their fault.

They may even say things like “if you had just done X” or “if you had let me do X none of this would have happened.”

As you saw in the states of midlife crisis above, often the husband puts the blame for everything squarely on his wife. This is often done subconsciously by him to justify his awful actions to himself. 

This blaming is so common that I wrote a detailed post about it here.

It is vitally important that you understand that you are not to blame for any of this.



Do husbands regret leaving their wives?

The process of going through s midlife crisis takes a long time. However, it is quite common that eventually, regret may set in.

Once he has gone through stage 4 and into stage 5 he may get a sense of clarity.

He may miss the home that he had and realise that he was acting like a monumental jerk. However, this is not guaranteed to happen.

Often the reason that a man leaves his wife will impact on whether he feels regret or not.

If he left for another woman when the shine wears off that relationship he may feel regret. He may realise that the grass isn’t always greener once the initial honeymoon period wears off. 

Sadly, sometimes by this point, too much damage has been done. However, it may be possible at this point to rebuild the relationship from the ground up.

Whilst some husbands do feel a degree of regret some do not. Some will say they were unhappy for years and enjoy their new life on their own. 

If he has built a new independent life successfully he will possibly feel very little regret or the need to look behind him.

Will he leave his much younger girlfriend?

This is the million-dollar question. It can be so hurtful to have to watch your husband cavorting around with a much younger model. You may wonder if he is happy and will it last?

I have a name for the new girlfriend and that is “The Catalyst”. 

The dictionary definition of a Catalyst is…”a person or thing that precipitates an event or change”

The new girlfriend is the reason he did the BombDrop in stage 4. The excuse for imploding his marriage and bringing it crashing down around him. 

The new girlfriend may have been the catalyst for this explosion.

As such she has often served his purpose by getting him out. 

This does not bode well for a healthy and long term relationship. 

Of course, people do stay in unhealthy relationships but generally, relationships formed in these circumstances do not stand the test of time.

If they split up it doesn’t necessarily mean he will come back. You also have to ask yourself the question, “do you want him back” 

It’s important to build yourself up to the point that you are not waiting for his return.

How to cope with your husbands midlife crisis

Now that you have more understanding of your husbands midlife crisis, it’s important to focus on YOU.

This is a very stressful and difficult thing to handle. However, there are a few tips that will help you keep your sanity and dignity.

You can come out of this stronger and even thrive.

Do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis?

Do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis?

1 – Don’t tell him he’s having a midlife crisis.

Now that you have seen how closely he follows the script of midlife crisis it can be tempting to point this out to him.

You may hope that if you show him what’s going on, he will realise and snap out of it. However, this is highly unlikely to happen.

He is blinded to his own faults.

It’s more likely that he will get angry and see it as controlling. Another thing to throw back at you. It’s best to say nothing and let him get on with it.

2 – Give him space

As difficult as it is, you need to take a step back and give him the space to go through his crisis.

As you have seen, the male mid-life crisis is a process. There is nothing you can do to stop it or deflect it. He has to go through it to get to the other side.

Only once he has completed the journey is there any chance that you can rebuild the marriage. Just give him the space to get on with it.

3 – Don’t be controlling

In the same vein, don’t try to control him. This is often a major issue in a marriage that pushes the husband to fight back. You may be feeling out of control with the whole situation and the natural instinct is to try and regain some element of control over him and the situation. Resist this instinct and let him do his own thing. If you can do this it will increase the chances that you can save or rebuild the marriage.

4 – Mentally pack away your marriage

I read some great advice a little while back. In your mind, lovingly pack away your marriage in a beautiful box wrapped in a ribbon and place it on the top shelf of your mental closet. You are going to put it away safe for now. This allows you to deal with the current difficult situation. If things change you can go back, bring it down, dust if off and work on it again. But for now, put it away for safekeeping.

5 – Rebuild your confidence

Having your marriage implode can knock your confidence down to zero. This is especially true if you have been made to feel to blame for everything or he has a new young girlfriend. 

You may be feeling beaten down, dowdy and old. 

Spend some time rebuilding your confidence. Get some new clothes, a new haircut. Do some things you like doing but may have neglected. A Spa day, a massage. Spend time and money on yourself for a change. 

You can build your confidence back up and confidence is attractive.

6 – Work on yourself

You don’t want to be sitting around waiting for him to come back. Rebuild your OWN life. Catch up with old friends. Discover new hobbies. Change jobs. Gain your own financial freedom. 

You want to be in a position where you can ask yourself, “Do I really want him back?” 

do husbands return after midlife crisis?

This brings us back to the original question. Do husbands ever come back after midlife crisis?

I hope this article has helped you to better understand what is going on.

There is a chance that your husband may come back after midlife crisis.

However, it’s important that in the meantime you look after yourself and rebuild your life. That way, once your husband has completed his journey, you may be able to start to work on the marriage to rebuild it once more. 

However, if it doesn’t work out you can move forward in a strong and confident way.

If you want further help you can download the free Marriage Repair Handbook. The simple techniques outlined in the handbook can help you to start repairing the marriage, even if you are the only one trying. You don’t need to involve your husband.

Wishing you all the best in your journey

Much love


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Helen

Menopause and Perimenopause can be a tricky time to pass through. I certainly had a turbulent journey. I learnt a lot from my intense battle. I rediscovered my Menopause Mojo and you can too. I truly believe that Menopause can be the start of the best part of your life. I am an Artist, Certified Transformation Life Coach, Holistic Health Coach, Hypnosis practitioner and woman's health researcher. NB. I am not a doctor or qualified to give medical advice. I merely share what has worked for me. I hope it can help you too. x