A husband in mid-life crisis

BY: Dr. John Boakye
A husband in mid-life crisis

The Akans say obra ye ko or life is a battle. We go through stages such as infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.

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Each stage of life has its ups and downs.

In adulthood, some go through midlife crisis - a stage when people go through emotional transition - between 40 and 60 years.

Midlife crisis happens in both men and women but it is far more common in men because women talk out of their problems but men see this as a sign of weakness and get more affected by the midlife crisis.


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Midlife crisis may also be more complicated in some than others.

It is also known that adults who lead passionate and fulfilled lives are least affected by midlife crisis.

Causes

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New awareness of ageing or physical changes such as grey hair, baldness, loss of energy, low performance in bed, and recent problems such as loss, regret, career stress, empty nest and retirement.

Unhappiness in life and lifestyle, boredom with people and things that may have been of interest to him.

Thought of what he has missed, how much is left and the need for adventure to enjoy and learn.

Signs

He questions the choices he has made and the validity of such decisions. He feels bitter and angry at his wife, criticising her, blaming her for any problems in marriage and her appearance.

He is confused about who he is and where he is going. Feels unhappy about his marriage but can’t tell if he still loves his spouse or not.

He seeks ego enhancement; he may do big things such as riding big and new cars, new and smarter outfits, new hairstyle, dye hair and caring more about his appearance to look young.

He does things out of character. He spends money on things without input, changes behaviour, including eating and time spent at home
Not ready to listen or talk things over.)

He wants independence from children and wife but ready to connect with others.

He is prone to infidelity in happy or bad marriages to reconnect with the part of life that is recovered and discovered.

Effect of midlife crisis

The husband in midlife crisis may be depressed. Sadly, a person going through midlife crisis may not even be aware he is in crisis.

He could be having more fun than before.

It is the wife who experiences shock, guilt, denial, anger, depression and uncertainty.

The wife worries and wonders what is happening.

A husband in midlife crisis may trigger conflicts and even divorce. More men leave marriages than women due to fear of loss and self-doubt.

Appreciate, however, that not all midlife problems are caused by midlife crisis but it can be stressful to create crisis.

Handling husband in midlife crisis

Midlife crisis is common and natural.

If your husband is in midlife crisis, come to terms with it. He is in a position of mental weakness.

It is a trip your man has to make alone.

You have no power over him; he has to fix it himself.

How you respond to the crisis determines the health of your marriage in the future.

Your goal is to save your marriage.

Get focused. Get busy living your life in full. Find ways to make yourself happy.

Find joy in life without your spouse.

Stop acting needy. Give him space. Stop the constant attacks.

Stop time accounting.

Take the focus off him.

Don’t make demands, avoid asking questions and interrogating him. Give up your need to be heard because at this stage, he has no concern for you.

Be a change agent. Be a good listener.

At this stage, your husband wants to paint you bad to justify his bad behaviour.

Defending yourself makes it worse. Listen to dim the conflict.

Stop pointing out all his faults.

Just show interest in what he says in ways that show you are interested; nod, smile and verbally connect.

Embrace some of the sudden changes your spouse has made.

Give him gifts in keeping with his new lifestyle; shirt, T-shirt, shoes.

Play his favourite music. Show interest and excitement about his new hobby.

If, however, you suspect infidelity, ask him.

Keep the issue a secret.

Don’t tell your husband he is going through midlife crisis. That will make him mad, and it does not help.

Avoid third party interventions by telling your friends and relatives to come in and help out because it does not work

Is midlife crisis make or break?

Midlife crisis is normal in many marriages. It may take time; you can’t speed up the process; there are no quick fixes too.

Your spouse may not take your needs into consideration and you may experience ups and downs.

Your life may be put on hold waiting for your spouse to come back to his senses and care for you as he did before.

You may be tempted to leave to find fulfilment elsewhere but never make divorce an option; it has never been a solution but the problem.

Be humble.

Have faith.

Focus on what you can do to hold your marriage.
Refocus on yourself and pray. Always appreciate that whatever your spouse in midlife crisis has done to you, you are also capable of doing the same thing.

Studies show that about 80 per cent of couples who face midlife crisis survive and get better.

This means that midlife crisis well-handled can be good for you; it gives you the chance to make your marriage better.

It is what marriage is about; supporting each other and navigating.

After midlife crisis, put your hurts away. Forgive each other.

Be devoted to each other and commit yourself to make the marriage work.

Make positive changes; positive mental attitude, effective communication, gratitude, appreciation, affection, companionship and spiritual development.

May the blessings on your latter days be greater than yesterday!

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