If someone displays these 10 behaviors, they’re probably having a mid-life crisis

We all know the TV and movie depictions of a person having a midlife crisis.

You know what I’m talking about – a middle-aged man driving a convertible sports car and courting a gal half his age.

But is there any reality to that image? Is that what a midlife crisis looks like, or is it just made for TV? Or has the whole concept been totally manufactured?

It turns out that there is real evidence that the midlife crisis is a thing. And there are some distinct clues to when a person is in the midst of one. 

So if someone displays the ten behaviors below, they’re very likely having a midlife crisis.

What is a midlife crisis, and why do people have them?

The idea of a midlife crisis has some roots in Freudian and Jungian psychology, but the term is much more recent. 

It was created by psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques in the 1960s as a way to describe what he was seeing in his patients. According to Jaques, it refers to a psychological crisis caused by increased age, perceived lack of accomplishments, and recognition of one’s own mortality.

Midlife crises usually happen between the ages of 40-60 and can cause people to make major life changes.

And it seems there is real evidence of this phenomenon, at least for some people in some countries.

Studies have found that men in many countries around the world seem to show a very strong U-shape curve for happiness. Their level of happiness starts to decline towards a low point around the age of 50 and then turn and start to increase again.

However, this doesn’t hold true for all countries, and women in developed countries seem to have a slow but steady upward trend in happiness.

So there is some evidence for midlife crises, and a lot of it has to do with behavior changes.

Let’s look at the conditions that let you know a person is probably having a midlife crisis.

Signs someone is having a midlife crisis

1) They feel like their best years are behind them.

A midlife crisis is a mix of behaviors and attitudes. 

If someone you know starts to become full of nostalgia for some period in their past while they’re just middle-aged, it might be because they’re really struggling to deal with the current state of their life.

They might feel like they really peaked in high school or college or perhaps in their early working years.

They start to focus on those “glory days” and the contrast between then and now.

This feeling of having their best years behind them makes people feel like the future doesn’t hold much and can really send them into a tailspin.

2) They seem unfulfilled.

One big cause of a midlife crisis is when a person feels like they haven’t lived up to expectations

These could be the expectations that society puts on people of a certain age, like being married, having kids, owning a home, etc.

It could also be the expectations they put on themselves, like things they expected to achieve or even places they thought they’d go.

When people don’t achieve these things, they can start to feel like what they have is not seem good enough, even if they might seem to be doing quite well from the outside.

They end up feeling unfulfilled and like they haven’t lived up to their potential, and they can start to seem quite unhappy.

3) They’ve lost their spark.

Do you have a friend who seems really bored or uninterested in life?

Have they lost that spark or joie de vivre they used to have just a few years earlier?

Youth is usually marked by a lust for life that makes people fun and adventurous, though it also sometimes translates into recklessness.

But when people get older and are confronted by the serious commitments of marriage, children, and career, as well as illness and death of parents and even friends, life can get really heavy really fast.

It’s hard for many people to stay buoyant through these life changes and certainly difficult to stay spunky and energized.

4) They do uncharacteristically impulsive things.

Here’s where that sports car comes in. But it doesn’t need to be a car – it can be anything that’s just wildly out of the ordinary.

I have a friend who suddenly bought a 12-piece drum kit at the age of 50 because he always wanted to be a metal drummer. 

Another guy I knew hit 45 and decided to give away all his belongings and live as a wanderer.

When a person is in crisis, they can make incredibly impulsive decisions.

But this isn’t the impulsiveness of youth. Instead, it stems from feeling trapped and reaching out for anything that can make a drastic change in their life.

5) They’re more irritable.

When someone is having a crisis, they’re definitely going to be something of a grumpy bum.

If you know someone who has changed from having a fairly bright outlook on life to being a huge complainer, it may be because they’re experiencing a midlife crisis.

Again, this can come from those feelings of being unfulfilled and not having achieved what they or others expected.

These feelings, added to the other burdens of life, can really pull people down and make them lash out.

These are basically people who are angry at the world for not conforming to their plans. 

6) They have major weight changes.

If someone displays these 10 behaviors theyre probably having a mid life crisis 2 If someone displays these 10 behaviors, they’re probably having a mid-life crisis

This one can go either way.

Some people will suddenly balloon, gaining tons of weight when they never seemed to have issues with that in the past.

If this is the case, it’s probably because of a mixture of depression and a feeling of defeat, like it doesn’t matter anymore how they look or how healthy they are.

But on the other hand, people can also lose tons of weight in a really short period of time.

And while this is normally seen as healthy, it can still be a sign of a crisis.

It could be an indication that they’re desperately trying to change their lives because they feel they’re headed to old age and death.

They try to feel and look young, and losing weight is one way this can be expressed.

7) They turn down opportunities

When people feel like they haven’t lived up to expectations, they start to lose confidence.

They look at what they’ve done in their lives and feel like they’d set the bar too high for themselves.

So when new opportunities come around, they no longer feel inspired to try to meet them.

Instead, they shy away from new challenges, feeling defeated even before they begin new things.

This can be a big sign of a midlife crisis.

8) They don’t sleep well.

Staying up is a sign of being stressed or deeply bothered.

And while there can be many reasons for losing sleep, a midlife crisis is certainly one of them.

Normally, people feel like sleep is just something that their body does automatically, so they might not realize at all that the sleep they’re getting is largely controlled by their mental state.

But your phone doesn’t plug itself in and charge itself, and in the same way, your body can’t just put itself to sleep if your mind isn’t sending the right orders.

So people can toss and turn as their minds run in circles.

This is a sure sign something is out of balance, and it could be due to a midlife crisis.

9) Their sexual behavior changes.

Just like changes in weight and appearance, this one can also go either way.

On the one hand, affairs start to happen. Some people, and from my experience, it’s more common with men, seem to grasp at sex as a way to feel both young and also valued. 

So they go after younger sexual partners to sort of prove to themselves that they still have something to offer or to try to get experiences they feel they missed out on.

They can suddenly make massive changes to their relationships, like cheating or asking for a divorce.

But other people become uninterested in sex due to a lack of self-confidence and a general feeling of unattractiveness.

Either way, big changes in sexual behavior can definitely indicate a crisis.

10) They start acting “old.”

When someone who’s 40 starts calling themselves old and over the hill, you know something’s up.

If they’re suddenly obsessively focusing on their creaky bones and lack of energy when they seem quite fine to you, it’s probably more psychological than anything else.

Sure, our bodies get older, and our vitality and capabilities decrease, but if people are acting old when they’re just middle-aged, it’s probably because they’re having a crisis of realization of their own mortality.

Midlife crises can be serious, and people experiencing them need help. If someone is displaying these 10 behaviors, it’s probably time to reach out and offer an ear to listen or even a shoulder to lean on in their time of need.

Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

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