Therapist and Author, Jed Diamond speaks in his interviews of the typical male ‘cycle’. Yes, you heard right – a ‘male cycle’. Not PMS but an MMS (monthly male cycle).

When I first heard about this my reaction was “in whose lifetime!”? Nevertheless even though the ‘crisis’ portion of my midlife had ended I had periods that honestly scared the life out of me. Smack-dab in the middle of really good marriage restoration and the hard (and rewarding) work of it, I would suddenly be hit with a major blow of ‘flashback’. It was so ‘real’ that I was convinced that I just got drop-kicked back into a full-blown MLC! Gawd it was awful!

Then after mocking at Jed’s depiction of ‘men’ in a ‘cycle’, I began to track these periods of relapse. They seemed to have occurred like clockwork every 25-28 days. I researched the topic online and quickly discovered that the thought of a monthly male cycle was absurd. The greatest proponents to the absurdity of this ‘mms’ were scholars from Harvard so they must be right. So… there is no monthly male cycle. On further reading I discovered that these scholar’s also report that there is no Midlife Crisis. So… not only am I NOT going through a monthly type cycle but I COULD NOT POSSIBLY have had a Midlife Crisis either. Man! This is comforting to know. There is no MMS and no MLC.


So, what is it that makes a man who has been married for almost 20 or 30 years suddenly find himself reviewing life to date, become overwhelmed with sadness, seek things outside of his normal character to assuage these feelings, look for means to escape, tell their wives that they have been unhappy for two years, seek adventure in risky activities or affairs, and wish to hide from responsibilities? Harvard says that we don’t exist. That’s good to know, isn’t it? If we don’t exist and this MLC doesn’t either — hell, it must be HER FAULT just as we suspected all along!!!

Wake up boys! It is sad that the degree behind a man’s name makes him ignorant of real life isn’t it?!

Sometimes the smartest folks can be so silly. The head in the sand is only safe in the mind of the ostrich!

Is there such a thing as a mid-life season or transition?

Jung, Erickson, and the rest of us who study these kinds of things think there are at least four seasons of transition -childhood, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. They each last approximately twenty years. Similar to the seasons of the year-spring, summer, fall, and winter- each season has a unique set of characteristics and feelings associated with it. Within each season a person must address various age related issues common to all people. Between each season is a three to ten year transition period where the work of one season is concluded and the work of another is begun.

Professor von Stuckski of Intervarsity.Org tells the story of a trip he once made with his wife. Listen to his insight from this trip; I’m sure you will relate:

Recently the Mrs. and I planned a journey from Southern California to New York. By the way, a journey is a good way to think about life as one moves through their seasons of time. I loaded up my 1973 Buick with enough provisions to travel through Siberia, and off we went. I had a simple travel plan. Drive 700 miles per day as fast as possible, stay at a cheap hotel each night, and get to our final destination within a week. Well, by the end of the first day I knew my plan was in trouble.

Mrs. von Stuckski has a one hour bladder. So we were always stopping to look for a bathroom. She figured, as long as we were stopped, we might as well see the local sites. That decision made it impossible to cover 700 miles per day. On the second day, the old Buick blew a head gasket. The mechanic who fixed the car said the load we were transporting was too heavy for my vintage automobile. So I reluctantly tossed some of the items from the trunk.

Now throughout the journey we had three concerns that influenced our plan- the first was the load we were carrying, the second was the condition of the automobile, and the third was our final destination. Symbolically speaking, “the work of a season” means developing a plan for the journey that examines those three concerns.

When we are in a transition phase of life, our awareness of our life goals are the greatest. That’s also the best time to make changes. Our life plan must work both externally and internally if it is to be successful. It must enable us to meet our obligations to those around us-spouse, employers, extended family, society- as well as our internal self. Usually what triggers the transition phase of life is the realization that our plan is not working at some level.

The period of midlife transition usually starts with very subtle signs. Maybe a person experiences what I call a marker event. For example, someone close to us, a parent or friend, dies and the individual must face the inevitability of their own death in a deeper way. Or maybe a man is confronted with health problems such as high blood pressure or chronic back pain.

He doesn’t have the energy he had before. He doesn’t bounce back from the weekend conference as quickly. Others look at what they have accomplished in their first forty years and have a sense of regret. In that moment the illusion of youth bursts.

This is also a time when like the Prof, we must toss some things out of our trunk. The danger a lot of we men face at this place in the journey is to toss out the Mrs Newman with the other things we consider ‘dead weight’ and pick up a younger hitch-hiker along the way. Ooops!

The thing is, after we settle the important issues of the rest of our lives and determine that our choice of life partner wasn’t too bad after all – we hit the occasional period when all of the old stuff engaged during the assessment comes back onto center stage. If you clock it, it appears about every 3 weeks or so AND all of the feelings associated with that old dead-and-gone crisis appear like they never ever left in the first place!

Shoot! If you are NOT aware that this can happen you might just end up in that other woman’s bed wondering how the hell you got here when your mind was already made up only two weeks ago!! You will likely feel like you have most certainly lost your mind!

The truth is, boys; what you are feeling is ‘normal’ for us guys that pass through MLC. It is a MMS (Monthly Male Cycle) when hormones we depend upon cycle and hit our emotions and feelings big time. If you don’t believe it, just ask your teenage daughter – she has seen you do it! Your wife likely has too but finds it easier to believe Harvard.

If you are in Marriage Restoration and suddenly hear your husband say things that are scary enough to land him back with the OW… guess what? MMS!

I’m in one right now. Yup, 4 years after the fact! Yesterday I broke out in pimples like my 14-year-old, can’t shave without bleeding, get irritated at the slightest things, feel over worked and damned tired too, and ALL those old memories from MLC came floating back into my mind like they happened yesterday. You WIVES who had PMS know EXACTLY what I’m talking about! You have BTDT!

Not that I wish to gain a corner on a female excuse to behave badly; but consider this… our hormone difference is exactly ONE ATOM different; IMS, PMS, MMS is a “human condition” not a gender specific one. Apart from the “physical” manifestations that differ, even those post menopause endure a hormonal induced cycle – unless you miraculously stopped being ‘human’ too!

Time your most emotionally upturned times and see; it doesn’t concern “reproduction capability” but the elements of estrogen & testosterone that both genders have up to and including ‘death’- not middle life!

In another forum I read about a man in Marriage Recovery who suddenly said he wanted the other woman – right in the midst of a weekend alone to be intimate with his wife. Right now I suspect he feels the ultimate regret. He doesn’t understand that this can happen to us men (or he believes Harvard). Girls – Tell him… you feel most intimate the days prior to your cycle. We men do too. The girls understand it will happen; we men don’t!

Anyway… now that I’ve said all this… somebody feed me chocolate and feel sorry for me because this MMS has me by the throat and all I want to do is hide! I understand it but I sure as HELL don’t want it! Maybe I should go to Harvard!

Posted to the Midlife Club Forum by forum member Newman. Visit his site,, focusing primarily on men in midlife crisis.