Male midlife crisis stages – which stage is your husband in?

male midlife crisis stages which stage is your husband in
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Male midlife crisis stages – which stage is your husband in?

The male midlife crisis is incredibly stressful and confusing if you are in the middle of dealing with it as a spouse. If your husband has suddenly changed you may be wondering where he is in the different stages of the male midlife crisis and how it all works.

To know when it will end, it helps to understand the different male midlife crisis stages. Most men stick to a pattern so you can start to understand where in the process your husband may be and when he may start to emerge from the fog. This knowledge may help you avoid divorce.

Coping with a husband in a midlife crisis can be lonely, depressing and a source of great distress. Understanding the pattern will help you to understand and deal with his behaviour at each stage as well as look after yourself and realise that you are not to blame for any of this...

What are the stages of the male midlife crisis?

Men pass through a midlife crisis in stages. Every stage has its own characteristics and behaviour patterns so you’ll be able to figure out which stage he’s in.

Once you know what the male midlife crisis stages are, you’ll find it all easier to deal with.

1 – Stage 1 – Calm before the storm.

It’s the calm before the storm! As we get older, the fear of growing old increases for most people. It could be that your husband feels like he has not achieved the things in his life that he really wanted.


He may feel that has not been successful at achieving the goals he had as a young man. He has not travelled. He has no money. He thinks his life has been wasted because he hasn’t achieved anything worthwhile yet.

He may be starting to suffer from the early signs of sporadic erectile dysfunction. He panics. This is the start of the psychological crisis that causes all the problems.

He might be introspective at this point. He may withdraw a little. He could display the signs and symptoms of depression.

There might be something wrong, but you don’t know exactly what it is and neither does he. He might say something like “I’ve been stressed out at work lately.” Or maybe he’ll tell you he feels anxious when his boss yells at him.

Nevertheless, whatever you do, he’ll keep withdrawing from everyone else and you too.

2 – Stage 2 – Storm clouds are gathering.

As the storm clouds gather, so too does the danger. Your husband is boiling with simmering feelings of resentment.

He might be thinking about the obligations associated with the relationship or marriage. He may resent his sacrifices, for example, whilst raising the family.

He may think he’s the only one who has made sacrifices and ignore your contribution.

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

Blame begins to rear its ugly head here. He might blame you for the problems in his life and how he feels.

I have addressed this in a detailed post about why do midlife crisis husbands blame wives which I will link below. I strongly suggest you read that after you have finished reading this page. But for now, just know that none of this is your fault.

Feel like your old self in 21 days


3 – Stage 3 – The sports car stage

male midlife crisis stages - the sports car

The midlife crisis sports car or motorbike may be a stereotype but it can actually happen

At this stage, the midlife crisis becomes increasingly obvious. We are all aware of the stereotype of the midlife crisis man with a brand new red sports car.

Well, this is the stage where this may actually happen.

He now tries to recapture a sense of youthfulness by trying out new things and looking younger than his age. He might start a new fitness regime or join a health club.

He might buy a new wardrobe or go for a younger look. He might start going out after work or meeting up with friends from school.

He may actually buy that red sports car or a Harley Davidson motorbike.

It’s all an attempt to get out from under his base fears.

Fear of death.

He begins to feel younger than his years and his ego grows larger. He may be judgmental and even censorious toward you if he thinks you’re not doing enough for yourself.

He may say things like “You have let yourself go a bit” “You should make more effort” or “You look old”. You may remind him deep in his subconscious that he is still the same age as he was, despite his best efforts.

That makes him scared.

4 – Stage 4 – The Bomb Drop

This is stage will probably be the most painful for you. Many people only realise that a midlife crisis is happening at this stage.

In order to regain some of his youthful vigour, he decides to change his lifestyle. He may overhaul his whole lifestyle with new interests, friends and routines.

This is also the point where he will criticise you more and more in his own head and probably to your face too.

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

He does this subconsciously to justify his own crazy actions to himself.

He reasons that if it’s all your fault then he is well within his rights to behave in a self-focused, selfish and often appalling way.

He is justifying it to himself. “If she had just taken more effort to look younger and lose weight I wouldn’t have done this.” “If she had just let me do…” Of course, none of this is true but it is his inner dialogue and he believes what it is telling him.

Sadly, this is the stage where another woman often enters the scene.

He may spark up a friendship with an old flame on social media or get close to a female colleague at work. She is often a younger woman. This fans the flames of his ego and desire to feel youthful.

If you get naturally upset about this, YOU are the one to blame for being uptight. He’s allowed to have friends and you can’t stop him!!. He acts like a petulant kid.

The other woman

Male midlife crisis stages - An affair with a younger woman

Sadly, his pursuit of youth may drive him to have an affair with a younger woman.

This often leads to the Bomb Drop. The point where he leaves for a younger woman.

If you were not aware of how the preceding steps worked, then this may come out of nowhere and be devastatingly painful.

However, not all men leave for another woman. He may say he is confused and “wants space” or “just needs to find himself” or he may say things such as the classic “I love you but I’m not in love with you”.

There is a well-thumbed playbook that many men speak from.

These mixed messages are confusing and they can leave you feeling confused and thinking you’ve done something wrong.

This is not your fault…

I want to make this really clear. None of this is your fault.

He may move out to his own place or he may stay in your house whilst living the single life which is incredibly painful and difficult to handle.

Whatever he does he will find a way to live his single life with little care for your feelings. He is determined to have his cake and eat it.

As he goes through his cycle of self-discovering and revision, you’ll feel powerless and out of touch.

I guess that your husband has reached this stage now and that is what has led you to search for answers. You may be in panic mode and trying to understand what on earth is going on with your previously normal and sane husband

The danger is that as he forms and builds his new identity he can shatter yours and that is what we do not want to happen.

5 – Stage 5 – The Resolution

This is the final stage of the male midlife crisis. It can take quite a lot of time before someone reaches stage 5.

He might stay cycling in the other stages for several years.

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

Should he divorce you? Should he stay with his new girlfriend? Should he give the marriage another go?

This is the point when he may realise that he has created a disaster and be full of remorse.

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

Make sure that he has gotten everything out of his system before trying again. If not, things could get worse than they were previously leading to more heartache for you.

Some men do realise that the grass is not greener on the other side. They realise that they still love their wife and that they have made a huge mistake.

By now, it might be possible to start putting down new foundations for your relationship and rebuilding it from scratch.

Understanding these different stages of a male mid-life crisis help you understand what’s going on so that you have the best chance of being able to rebuild the marriage.

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How long will my husbands midlife crisis last?

A man’s midlife crisis usually lasts for three to ten years. The length of the crisis depends on how deep the issues are and whether he has been able to resolve them. If he has resolved the issues, then he should be able to move forward and things may start to improve.

However, if he hasn’t resolved the issues then he could spend months or even years going round in circles, all the while hurting you. Men can get stuck in one particular midlife crisis stage for years. At least by working out which stage he is at you will be able to understand if he is moving forward through the crisis.

Does midlife crisis always end in divorce?

Midlife crisis doesn’t always end in divorce, although it is sadly common. Infidelity is often the main cause. Your husband needs to work through things to resolve his feelings. If you can give him the space to do this you may be able to start to rebuild the relationship successfully.

You need to focus on yourself, at least for the time being. The truth is that you cannot help him until he helps himself. It is sadly possible that he may never change and you may find yourself divorced.

Divorce rates during midlife are high. However, divorce isn’t written in stone.

The most important thing you need to remember is that it is not your fault. You did nothing wrong and you certainly don’t deserve to suffer as a result of his actions.

You simply need to accept that he is dealing with something very difficult which may resolve given time and space.

Helpful ways to handle your husbands midlife crisis.

The MOST important thing to understand is that you need to put the focus on yourself rather than worrying about your husband.

This may be the first time you have done this in years. Don’t feel guilty. It’s now time to focus on YOU for a change.

Don’t sit around waiting for him to sort himself out. Look after yourself and ensure that your life is as complete as possible.

Do things that you want to do, maybe that you haven’t done in years. Rediscover your lust for life. That way, whatever happens, you will be strong, powerful and able to cope.

  • Go out with friends more
  • Spend quality time with your children
  • Start a new hobby or class
  • Practice acceptance. Don’t stay stuck. Try and move forward with your life positively.
  • Make sure that you are financially independent. Find a new or better job if necessary.
  • Consult a lawyer to ensure your assets are protected in the worst-case scenario.
  • Focus on your own health. Get strong and fit.
  • Focus on building a great life for YOU.

If he resolves his issues you will have the strength to rebuild the marriage. If divorce is the answer, you will have built a strong and independent life ready for a new opportunity.

It’s empowering to know that you can stand on your own two feet and don’t need him, whatever he decides to do.

You are in control of your destiny. Not him.

What are the signs he is coming out of a midlife crisis?

This is a common question but one that is very hard to pin down. Men in midlife crises are very confusing.

They may be loving to you one day and then cruel the next.

You may think things are improving only to have your hopes cruelly dashed by a mean text. There are no obvious symptoms that you can use to gauge if he is exiting the crisis.

The only way to really work it out is to figure out which stage of the cycle he is in. That way you may be able to spot if he is entering the resolution stage.

Once he is in the resolution stage you may be able to start to work on things.

What should I do if my husband is having a midlife crisis?

The key thing is to give him space. Only he can resolve his problems. Focus on yourself and build an independent life both mentally and financially.

Don’t wait for him.

If he resolves his crisis you will have the strength to rebuild the relationship or the confidence to continue without him.

The Male Midlife Crisis and Depression.

Male midlife crisis and depression

Depression can be a major factor in the male midlife crisis.

One important thing to bear in mind is that a crisis in middle-aged men can often go hand in hand with symptoms of depression. It can be a symptom of a mental health issue.

A sudden reassessment of life goals at midlife can lead to the man heading into a period where feelings of depression overwhelm him. This can be part of the driving force which spurs him to make rash decisions and out of character choices leading to heartbreak.

If you can keep one eye open for these signs of depression this may put you at an advantage. Depression in men often manifests in a different way to women. It may look like anger and irritability rather than the classic signs of exhaustion and extreme sadness.

If you suspect your husband may be suffering from depression you may be able to point him in the direction of a mental health professional who may be able to help.

It may be a good idea to ask your doctor for advice about potential therapy. Getting treatment could be a big step towards him reaching stage 5, Resolution.

In conclusion. Male Midlife Crisis Stages.

I hope this post has gone a long way to demystifying the male midlife crisis stages. Know that you are not alone in coping with this distress.

So many other people are facing the same confusing nightmare as their partners crash through a male midlife crisis leaving devastation in their wake.

Please take heart that a male mid-life crisis can reach a resolution stage where there could be hope to rebuild the relationship. At this point, couples therapy may be a possibility.

However, if you focus on yourself and work to build your own strength then you will be able to handle the outcome whatever happens.

6 Key Takeaways

In summary, these are some key takeaways around male midlife crisis stages:

  1. Men who suffer from a midlife crisis often feel trapped by their circumstances.
  2. Giving your husband space to work through the crisis by themselves can help. You can’t do it for them.
  3. Understanding the stages of a male midlife crisis can help you know how to handle it as the crisis progresses.
  4. Once your partner hits the resolution phase, it may be possible to rebuild the relationship.
  5. Depression can be a big part of a midlife crisis. Rates of depression are high in middle-aged people. Some people find that depression treatment or therapy may help to resolve their mid-life crisis.
  6. You need to focus on YOU rather than your partner and ensure that you are financially and emotionally independent.

If you want further help you can download the free Marriage Repair Handbook below. This will help even if YOU are the only one trying…

Marriage Repair Handbook


43 page handbook packed full of wise advice from a world-renowned Marriage Coach, Brad Browning.

Learn Brad’s simple, proven tactics to begin repairing your marriage today. They work even if you are the only one trying.

The truth is that your marriage is only over when you stop trying. Don’t give up on your marriage until you’ve tried this…

Download the FREE Marriage Repair Handbook by clicking below

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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