Midlife doesn’t have to signal crisis in a marriage and midlife issues probably won’t cause major disruption for the majority of marriages. However, if you are here because your marriage is failing and you or your spouse are middle aged, midlife crisis might be the term that will best describe what you’re going through.

I ended my first marriage when I was in my late 30’s. It was a marriage with many problems from the start but until I reached middle age I didn’t feel the need to force changes. In my 30,s, I felt that time was running out and the very strong feelings of “is this all there is?” finally caused me to initiate divorce proceedings. It was a decision I have never regretted.

My second marriage came to a halt on my husband’s 50th birthday although it had been unraveling for about two years. Even though I was devastated at the time, it turned into another very liberating experience for me.

I never used the term “midlife crisis” to describe was I was feeling as I struggled with whether or not to end my first marriage. Nor did I use it to describe what was happening with my second marriage. It wasn’t until I stood back and looked at my life history that I could see more clearly the issues and the actions that lead to such dramatic changes in my life at midlife.

Midlife Crisis: Excusing Bad Behavior?

Midlife crisis is used as a catch-all phrase to excuse bad behavior such as a spouse who cheats. Some people think of it in the same way they think of illness but it isn’t the same.

Midlife crisis is a term to help explain drastic behaviors at middle age; it doesn’t have a “cure” and it doesn’t have a set time frame until it is over.

A “crisis” at midlife will cause major disruption in your life or the life of someone you love or who loves you. Such a disruption may be necessary for you to put your life back on track or turn it to a more rewarding direction.

Recognizing Our Mortality

Almost all of us will have issues we’ll have to deal with when we enter our middle years, those years between 40 and 55, give or take a few years either way, when aging and mortality become too important to ignore.

Dealing with wrinkles, sags, bags, balding or graying hair, added pounds, the death of friends and family, can push us to “is this all there is?” and the time for hard decisions.

© Pat Gaudette. All rights reserved.