Men and midlife crisis
Middle life crisis, also known as midlife crisis could mean a number of things, primarily it is a stage in life when an individual is undergoing a transformation.
Men and women experience their middle life crisis differently, this phase in their lives is caused by different causes and men display different middle life crisis symptoms comparing to women. Whilst unexplained and under-researched one could say that when a man faces several stressors they may become causes of midlife problems and may lead to a full-blown middle life crisis. Midlife as a phase could be very stressful and it could be said that men men face a crisis of self identity during this time due to a range of issues that materialize.
Causes of middle life crisis in men
Physical symptoms of aging as a cause of a middle life crisis
When it comes to physically symptoms men are less concerned with their own looks comparing to women. Physical signs of aging such as graying or thinning hair, deteriorating physical shape, on the other hand, are as apparent in men as they are in women.
Among the physical signs of aging there is a lot of hair-related issues. Thinning hair, total hair loss or graying hair, they all seem to be mentioned by men as a great cause of discomfort. Another big cause is erectile dysfunction, which although is not uncommon is fairly easy to deal with yet it adds doubts to a male ego and character, whilst lowering self-esteem and may bring other problems.
Obesity or letting oneself go whilst often entirely the fault of the man himself, still it adds to the problems men face in middle life. Occasionally some blame could be diverted if, for example, the gentleman has dodgy knees, however there should really be no reason not to stay in shape. Often men by this stage even if not overweight tend to have an untrained stamina and hence poor blood circulation. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels also will display physical signs of aging or perhaps just an out of shape body, which adds risks to health and may cause erectile dysfunction.
One point that is rarely mentioned is height, as every new generation is taller on average than the next and there seem to be a lot male height related self awareness concerns for a man to manage. Being bombarded on screen with actors whom despite their considerable age appear to be in demand and in high respect a man's self appreciation starts to disappear sometimes.
Overall poor diet and lack of exercise would be the main reasons behind physical signs of causes of middle life crisis.
Mental signs of aging as a cause of middle life crisis
Age and lifestyle have an effect on the health of the mind as well, dull repetitive work or a lot of stress will have a detrimental effect on the male body and mind.
Whilst physical signs of aging are quite obvious, mental signs are not, when it comes to a middle life crisis often men will find themselves somewhat trapped or lacking the opportunity to challenge their minds and therefore the mental signs of aging will appear, which in effect will contribute to causes of a middle life crisis through mental fatigue and a depreciating mind.
Human mind is a complex structure and when it comes to men and women the signs of aging are not that different. Mental signs of aging will include chronic fatigue (often combined with physical signs), bad sleep, inertness and lower cognitive functions, which are although expected they are often correlated to an out of shape body and therefore, poor diet, poor circulation, free radical damage or even reduced levels of neurotransmitters that are the result of a badly kept body.
Mind like body needs exercise and whilst an untrained body will lag behind better trained bodies, a poorly mentally trained brain will lag behind better minds. We cannot all be scientists and inventors but we could all attempt to draw wisdom from people constantly and challenging ourselves with questions and new tasks.
Bad sleep as another example of a physical/mental strain common during midlife, be it from pressure of a busy work schedule, relationship problems or health problems it will likely to affect the mental state of a person. For men, they will likely to appear grumpy and women moody.
Overall when the person feels mentally unwell, it will reflect on their character and personality, when these changes are negative and for a long period it could cause a middle life crisis for the person in question and discomfort for his close friends and family.
Status and issues relating to status as a cause of middle life crisis in men
Status for a man in midlife is crucial to his sense of identity. It feels good to have a certain desired status or to see it within grasp. Every man decides what his desired status is, it could be his current lifestyle or an item he has dreamed of. If that status is unattainable or lost, it may bring internal conflict and sometimes even peer pressure.
Midlife is eventful but the things that happen usually follow a pattern and you always hope for the best regardless of what happened before. Expectations do not always play out well in real life and it could be a disappointing time if they are not met. At work, in any company there are expectations, there are expectations from children, there are expectations from close family and from spouses. If those expectations fail to materialize men will feel that they have not succeeded. Status is in a way – an indication of success, but everyone has their own idea of success and their own idea of a good status. If those expectations were of high importance to the person in question, failure to meet them may bring about a middle life crisis.
The idea of showing off a man's status is quite familiar to most people. Not necessarily being flashy but being seen and respected. Some people could confuse quality with price and sometimes their bling goes too far into the field of ridiculous. So beware.
Divorce as a cause of a middle life crisis
Divorce of course usually is a stressful event in the lives of both spouses. Whilst it may bring relief the usual reaction is stress especially when it's unexpected. It may be a cause and a symptom of a middle life crisis. As a cause it is another massive shift in people's lives, if you're on the receiving end of rejection it is a personal disaster. It may cause apart from a middle life crisis a feeling of emptiness and misdirection. A spouse could have been an sail or the anchor of a relationship and regarding of the way divorce is handled, it will expose reasons for divorce, usually the reasons are not flattering and therefore unwelcome. Divorce may also bring about a divide of friends, and if not, might still inflict division over friends and family.
If a splitting marriage has produced children this will also cause discomfort for all the parties involved, including the children themselves, it is better perhaps to minimize the impact on children, to protect them from falling out between two adults. A lot of stress may be caused by the inability to see children regularly, especially if one of the former spouses moves away. The loneliness that may result from division of friends, losing a spouse and inability to see children regularly may naturally lead to depression and middle life crisis.
Children as the cause of middle life crisis
For both parents, children form a massive part of family and therefore much of the lives of parents has a lot to do with children. Watching their success, their first step, their misfortunes and feeling joy and sadness with them is a big part of family life. For men, their life changes completely when they find out that they are to be parents. Some are ready and anticipate it, whilst others are taken by a surprise and therefore astonished and shocked. It may take some time to sink in that they are to become parents and whilst a woman feels motherly from the start, a gentleman is often lagging behind in terms of parenthood. The realization of becoming a father may itself be a massive stress and may lead to a middle life crisis through questions such as “How will I support the growing family”, “Am I ready for fatherhood”. Eventually the fact will sink in and the stress will ease.
As children grow up a father stays close to them and they may bring stability and a sense of family to the male. The problems begin when children grow up and leave home, bringing with that loss of close friends, like with the point above about marriage, inability to see children regularly, whilst in some cases may bring about joy through more free time, sometimes may cause stress and loneliness, Women are more likely to suffer from this than men, but still it is a burden for men and loneliness may lead to depression. It is important to approach this positively, rather than living through children as some people do. Men and women often drive their children away through overbearing discipline or through directing their children towards accomplishment and results, whilst ignoring the family and the emotional part of the relationship.
Children leaving home to start their own nest can also be a cause of middle life crisis, which may bring about a feeling of emptiness and loneliness. Solitude at any age is occasionally needed but in moderation, when children leave home – home is never the same again.
Symptoms of male middle life crisis and how men show it
Middle life crisis may manifest itself in a number of ways, for the purposes of simplification they can be divided into physical, emotional, behavioral and lifestyle signs. The signs may appear to be correlated with depression and may take years to develop and display themselves.
We mentioned above the physical signs as causes of middle life crisis, whilst not exclusively to blame they may trigger changes that may lead to middle life crisis. Age is apparent and its' manifestation in people is very individual and therefore it is difficult to judge which particular change may be attributed to be the cause of middle life crisis and which may be a symptom.
Physical symptoms of middle life crisis is men
Among physical signs of middle life crisis are depression correlated signs. Physical signs overall impact the personality and might in effect cause other problems for the person and his close friends and family. A chronic fatigue may lead to irritability and fluctuating moods for example
Chronic fatigue and lack of energy, inability to focus and to exercise sound judgment, weight fluctuation or significant loss of weight or weight gain, unhealthy sleeping patterns and general lack of sleep.
Physical signs might turn into behavioral signs, when the person in question shows indifference to own health and does little to stay healthy.
If a person physical shape is inadequate it may lead to further problems such as high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction, so a symptom may also be the cause of problems.
Emotional symptoms of middle life crisis in men
Emotional signs of middle life crisis are mainly self-esteem based. A male will feel his self-worth change and inability to enjoy things that used to be fun.
Depression and feeling inadequate, hopelessness. Being unable to laugh as freely as if the mind was occupied by something else, which is correlated by inability to focus.
Anger and frustration, inability to bond with people may also be commonplace during this phase.
Sex may become scarce and unsatisfying, with the partners lacking emotional attachment.
Nostalgia and the need to return to the past is another sign of being emotionally unhinged, a way of feeling better about the past than the present and finding no peace at present.
Behavioral symptoms of middle life crisis in men
Behavioral symptoms of middle life crisis are those in which a male attempts to escape reality, a behavior that demonstrates worry and neglect for own well being.
Substance abuse, lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet, general indifference to own health may show fatalism and pessimism of the individual in question.
When combined with deteriorating health, behavior that damages own libido and lowers self-esteem, may also lead to self-pity, as a cry out for attention.
Also, dissatisfaction with personal appearance may lead a person to lead a thoroughly dull yet very healthy life, an individual may be preoccupied with physical appearance and may consider plastic surgery, hair transplantation and such.
The need to appear younger may lead a person to seek relationships with younger people, whether it be sexual or business relationship, sometimes living through own children as means of escaping own problems.
During this stage, normally faithful spouses may experience the urge to cheat on their partners as a way of telling themselves that they are still attractive and able to perform.
Lifestyle symptoms of middle life crisis in men
Lifestyle related changes and symptoms are very apparent during middle life crisis. On one hand they may demonstrate a person's dying ego, on the other – just innocent ways of reminding himself of what he enjoys.
For example in western media, middle life crisis is associated with aging men buying sports cars to appear more attractive and hip, this is the kind of thing that one would do to bring about a sense of accomplishment. Whether it brings that sense is up to te individual, perhaps a sports car instead is just a practical means of getting from point A to point B, however in most cases it is a sign of deprecating esteem and of a faltering ego.
A lack of sense of direction in life may manifest itself in a number of ways when it comes to changes in lifestyle. General feeling of being out of ouch for example may show symptoms a male attempting to become hip whether it be through reading “thought-provoking” literature, browins online forums for solutions and ideas or perhaps attempting to make significant life changes that are uncommon for the individual.
Concluding thoughts on middle life crisis in men
Middle life is a time of opportunity rather than crisis, it is important to see it as such.
One can minimize the effect of physical symptoms of aging by getting into shape, by improving self-esteem through positive thinking and exercise. One should not forget mental exercise as well, not to mention good sleep and much better diet. Eating better will make one feel better, whilst possessing a sound mind will always be helpful.
Whilst a healthy body and mind is important, it would be counter productive if one stresses too much even from paying attention too much to physical well-being. In order to have a fulfilling life, everything must be in limits.
Among the things people forget to do during this stage is to enjoy loving their spouses, supporting the children and looking after their parents, something that brings joy to families and individuals, toughening them and knitting them closer together.
Traveling is also almost always a good thing, it is easier to reflect on oneself during travels as well as to experience new places and to know new people
When it comes to expectations in middle life, it is important to change them accordingly so as not to put too much physical strain on oneself and not to fall victim to over expectations if they fail to become reality, so it is important to motivate yourself and switch towards things that you enjoy, whilst prioritizing according to needs.
Overall, just look after yourself, don't judge yourself too harshly and try to open yourself up to new opportunities, to create and to fulfill own potential. Perhaps finishing and attempting that novel that has been in your head is a good start or perhaps life drawing classes might bring you joy and exploring the side streets of Florence may bring you a sense of happiness.
Middle life is a time for opportunities.