Mid Life Crisis
If you google ‘mid-life crisis’, you will most likely come across a lot of research that is inconclusive about whether mid-life crisis even exists.
If you are the partner of someone who you suspect is going through a mid-life crisis, I bet you feel differently.
Your spouse has changed
You have probably searched on-line desperate for answers about why your spouse has suddenly changed. You may have noticed their behavior change in the following ways:
- S/he tells you “I love you, but I am not in love with you”
- I haven’t been happy for years.
- I need to do things for me
- Has started working out or developed other grooming habits not seen before
- Prefers to hang out with a younger crowd
- Starts to use different, younger language
- Does a 180 on previous beliefs i.e affairs, drinking, drug use etc.
- Spends recklessly
- Stays away from the home for longer than normal
- Is a rollercoaster of emotion i.e withdrawn or needy and communicative.
Mid-life is a potentially transformative time
The good news is; this is not about you. Mid-life is a potentially transformative time. Think caterpillar to butterfly. It is a process that largely needs to be handled by the individual going through it. To stand beside your spouse as they go through this crisis takes courage, finesse, patience and kindness. If your vows included “in sickness and in health, for better or worse” you will get no greater opportunity to live out these vows than this crisis.
I strongly believe that the research is lacking because it is very hard to catch a person in crisis. People in crisis often react badly when it is suggested that they may be suffering from one. If they do find themselves at the Dr, it often presents as depression, addiction or a personality disorder and these symptoms may be treated. The problem is, the treatment targets the symptoms without digging deeper to find the cause.
Research suggests that humans enter new developmental cycles every 7 years. Each cycle has a different purpose. Mid-life transitions/crisis’ commonly occur between ages 40 to 60 years, although this period is widening at both ends.
“I want to introduce the idea of a kind of threshold that we each cross as we enter our forties. From now on we are ever more responsible for whom we are becoming. We are challenged to wake up to the spirit part of ourselves, to take our inner development more seriously, and to know ourselves in an ever more integrated way. Our soul growth, stagnation or decline is now dependent on how we live our daily lives. I cannot help but think that this may be the true meaning of the folk wisdom that “life begins at Forty”
Understanding your spouse and how you can help.
The ‘shadow’ part of our personality can seemingly burst forth, refusing to be silenced and controlled. This is often why you might hear your spouse talk of doing what they ‘finally’ want.
Many of you may have observed your spouse almost desperate to escape their current circumstances. This time of reckoning often involves a complete stripping back of their life as they knew it.
You are part of that and can play an important part of a successful transition, ironically, by stepping back to allow their process to unfold. Getting in the way tends to result in a stronger pull back from your spouse and a very unhealthy push-pull dynamic between the two of you.