6 signs a woman is experiencing a midlife crisis without even realizing it, according to psychology

A couple of nights ago, I found myself crying uncontrollably in the middle of the night. 

I called my psychologist friend immediately the next day. 

Thing is, I had postpartum depression after the birth of my youngest seven years ago, so I was afraid it had come back. I know it’s been a long time but I just couldn’t risk it.

He didn’t dismiss my theory but he also asked, “have you ever considered the possibility of it being a midlife crisis?”

And then it dawned on me. I’m at that age – in my early 40s – when this middle life crisis is believed to be more rampant.

So I did a bit of digging and my unexplained emotions and behavior started to make sense.

Although some of my symptoms sit in the grey line of depression and midlife crisis, most of them are leaning towards the latter.

And of course, I’m not one to gate keep, so let me share with you my discovery:

The signs women may be experiencing a midlife crisis without even realizing it, according to experts and psychologists.

Let’s dive in!

1) She questions her existence

There comes a point where deep questions about who she is and what she really wants in life start bubbling up to the surface. 

Psychotherapist Dr Robi Ludwig talks about this very thing.

She points out that during midlife, women often feel like the life they’ve been leading doesn’t quite fit anymore. 

She says it is often the case in women who have been living a life that was more about what others expected of them or those who follow societal norms without ever questioning them.

But when women reach midlife, Dr Ludwig mentions a sudden, stronger urge to really listen to one’s own soul. 

It’s like waking up one day and realizing she’s been on autopilot, following a route that was set out for her without asking if it’s really what she wanted.

But here’s the silver lining, and it’s something Dr Ludwig emphasizes, too:

This period of self-reflection is not just a crisis. 

It’s actually an opportunity for a lady to shed those parts of her life that no longer aligns with who she is now. 

So, while it might feel daunting when these existential questions start hitting, they could actually be a signal that a woman is ready to realign her life more closely with her true self.

2) She becomes a chameleon 

Some women ask existential questions and some intentionally change themselves to fit what is needed depending on where they are or who they’re with.

This constant shape-shifting might seem like a necessary survival skill at first, but it can actually be a red flag to a deeper unsettlement, something many of us women go through during midlife. 

It’s not just about being flexible.

It’s about why she feels the need to change so drastically and so frequently. 

If she’s adapting so much that she starts to feel she doesn’t know who she is anymore, it might be a signal to pause and reflect.

According to Psychologist and author Dr Konstantin Lukin, this tendency to frequently change oneself to suit various environments, situations, or relationships can be especially prominent during midlife.

It reflects a deeper sense of confusion about the woman’s identity. His advice is to recognize when flexibility turns into a loss of self. 

Identifying this can help a woman start re-evaluating what parts of her adaptations are genuine growth and what parts are perhaps a loss of her true self.

3) She’s no longer happy with what used to make her happy

A woman who suddenly feels bored, exhausted, or disconnected with the things that used to make her fulfilled and happy could be giving out a less obvious sign of a midlife crisis, according to psychologists.

Imagine a woman who’s been going through the same daily grind for years – same job, same routines, and the same people around her. 

At first, this might have felt good and stable. But over time, what was once fulfilling can start to feel like a drag. 

Think about it:

If you’re always trying to pep yourself up for a life that no longer excites you, it can be exhausting. This fatigue makes it tough to get excited about things that used to be fun. 

And boredom? 

That creeps in when everyday life gets too predictable and the excitement of trying new things fades.

This kind of midlife discontent in women is important to notice because it’s a sign that maybe it’s time for some changes. 

It’s not about tossing everything out and starting over, but about tweaking things here and there to make life feel more fulfilling again.

4) She starts losing sleep

isolate themselves when unhappy 6 signs a woman is experiencing a midlife crisis without even realizing it, according to psychology

If you think that midlife crisis only takes a hit on our emotional and mental wellbeing, think again.

Take lack of sleep, for example.

It might not be the first thing you think of when you talk about midlife crisis, but for many women, it’s a subtle yet significant sign.

According to Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Dr Susan Albers-Bowling, midlife crises in women often coincide with major life transitions – whether that’s hormonal changes like menopause or shifts in personal relationships, like divorce. 

These changes can stir up a lot of stress and anxious feelings, which in turn can wreak havoc on sleep.

During menopause, which many women experience in midlife, levels of estrogen and progesterone drop. Many people assume these hormones only regulate reproduction, but what a lot of people don’t know is they also influence a woman’s sleep patterns.

A fluctuation in these levels can lead to women having troubles falling asleep or staying asleep.

So if a woman finds herself tossing and turning and unable to sleep, it may be more than just a bad night.

It could be a subtle indicator of a midlife crisis, highlighting the need to address the underlying stressors and transitions affecting her life.

5) She loses her sex drive

Speaking of bed time, sleep is not the only thing lacking in the bedroom. You may find that she no longer has the high libido she used to have.

While it’s easy to chalk this up to aging or busyness, Dr Albers-Bowling notes a low sex drive as another less obvious sign of a midlife crisis for women.

Like we said earlier, it comes after a combination of hormonal and personal relationship shifts.

Look at it this way:

Kids might be leaving home, relationships could be evolving, and there may be career changes or the loss of a parent. These transitions can lead to a re-evaluation of one’s desires and priorities.

What does this have to do with sex drive?

For many women, the focus shifts from nurturing others to focusing on their own needs and satisfaction. As a woman steps back to evaluate her life, she may feel a mix of dissatisfaction and aspiration.

This introspection can affect emotional intimacy and interest in sex, often reflecting deeper unmet needs or unresolved conflicts.

In short, when a woman starts having a low sex drive during midlife, it might mean she needs more understanding and possibly guidance.

6) She feels an inexplicable and overwhelming sense of loss

For our sixth and final subtle sign of a woman facing a midlife crisis, let’s go back to another input from Dr Ludwig

That is, a profound sense of loss.

According to her, this feeling is not necessarily clinical depression, but rather a sense of mourning for what might have been or what once was.

As women transition through menopause and changing hormone levels, they also have emotional and psychological shifts that can manifest as feelings of loss.

This sensation often arises from a confrontation with reality – a realization that certain dreams or the ideal self-image they had planned may not align with their current life.

It’s a critical period where women might feel as though they’ve ticked all the boxes set out for them, yet there’s still something missing.

It’s a feeling of loss that’s not just about what’s left behind. It’s also more about the uncertainty and potential of what lies ahead.

Now that I think about it, this might be where I am right now and this might explain those sudden bursts of tears a few months ago.

It’s a point where I’m at the crossroads between “now what” and “what have I done?” – where I’ve accomplished a lot but feel like I’ve done nothing all at the same time.

It’s confusing, frustrating and scary.

But Dr Ludwig says it doesn’t have to be. 

She points out that this is the perfect time to introspect and achieve more wisdom and a deeper sense of self-awareness.

It’s the perfect time to rediscover yourself.

Final thoughts

In women, a midlife crisis can sneak up quietly, perhaps making you feel restless or changing how well you sleep.

It’s important to listen to these signals—they’re a hint that it’s time to reevaluate what makes you happy.

Handling them doesn’t require drastic measures. All it takes is an honest assessment of your needs, establishing clear boundaries, and making changes that truly improve your sense of well-being.

Picture of Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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