7 subtle signs your partner is having a mid-life crisis

When we’re young, we tend to feel invincible. 

Topics like existence, death, and mortality? We can afford to put that off until another day… one when we’re much older. 

I hate to break it to you though, but for most of us, that day will come eventually. 

And when it does, we understandably might act out in peculiar ways. 

So if your partner is of a certain age (typically 35 to 60) and is beginning to display some out-of-character behaviors, don’t fret. 

They may just be having a mid-life crisis. 

Once you recognize the signs for what they are, you can address the issue with clarity. 

Let’s get to it!

1) Sudden changes in habits or interests

Perhaps your partner feels like they’ve spent too many days idly letting things pass them by and have now come to terms with life’s time constraints, feeling a sense of urgency. 

This feeling can mean they’ll suddenly develop new hobbies or interests, either out of the blue or pursuits they feel they’ve been putting off. 

Maybe they’ll suddenly be into extreme sports, going out to bars, or listening to experimental new, “younger” genres of music. 

If you notice this phenomenon happening, rest assured, your beau has not gone off the deep end, they’re just likely having a mid-life crisis. 

2) A heightened concern with appearance

Maybe your partner feels like they’ve wasted too much time living for others–and now they want to reclaim their best self. 

This sentiment can manifest in a heightened preoccupation with physical appearance. 

Perhaps they’ll start buying new, edgier clothes; or maybe they’ll start militantly hitting the gym–or even undergo cosmetic procedures. 

They don’t want to waste any more time, they want to start living, and in the words of the great John Keating, “cease the day.” 

Your partner’s increased concern with appearance doesn’t mean they’re having an affair. 

Don’t overthink it. 

They may just be experiencing a mid-life crisis. 

3) Unusual spending

What’s the point of having money if we don’t spend it? 

This often becomes the outlook of the person with an emerging mid-life crisis. 

Maybe they have spent most of their life living frugally, modestly spending out where necessary. 

Chances are, they have some disposable income stored away, so they’ll go on uncharacteristic spending sprees, shelling out for big-time items like luxury vehicles (Porche anyone?), gadgets, designer clothes, or accessories–the works. 

There’s nothing wrong with spending money that you’ve earned, a mentality that rings especially true with those experiencing a mid-life crisis. 

4) Career dissatisfaction

When we’re too caught up in routine things like relationships, work, and kids, we might start to lose objectivity.

 We get “too close to the forest to see the trees” so to speak. 

The person with a mid-life crisis might one day have an epiphany that too much of their time has been dedicated to slaving away at a job; one that doesn’t inherently bring them joy. 

This conclusion might irritate them, and cause them to make some major, fundamental changes.

They might throw a curve ball back at life, pursuing something meaningful to them deep down; something that goes far beyond the satisfaction of receiving a monthly paycheck. 

And the thing is, it is never too late to pursue the things in life that bring you deep, inner contentment. 

Remember, Anthony Bourdain was 44 and working as a chef at a mediocre bistro when he wrote the mega-hit book that would change his life forever. 

Larry David was also well into his forties when he wrote the pilot for Seinfeld.

5) Withdrawal from family or long-term friends 

The person going through a mid-life crisis tends to want to search for greener pastures in life, something that extends to social circles. 

Maybe they suddenly feel like they’re not stimulated by their social status quo, bored of having the same inane, gossip-laden conversations. 

They want something deeper and more meaningful. 

They want to grow. 

So they might begin to distance themselves from established relationships and seek new circles, with people who are often the complete opposites of what they’re accustomed to. 

6) Mood swings or depression

Mid-life crises and a sense of melancholy go together like the chips and salsa at your local Tex-Mex watering hole. 

Naturally, with a mid-life crisis comes a lot of self-reflection and introspection. 

Your partner may think back at decades of life choices and decisions–and go through the motions, of sadness, hope, nostalgia, and regret. 

These existential questions and thoughts will often cause noticeable mood changes. 

7) Desire for adventure or change

When you go through a mid-life crisis, one of the more recurring thoughts that’ll occur is that your time is finite. 

Hence, a sense of urgency will likely manifest. 

You might feel the need to accomplish the things you long for before it’s too late. 

For many, the latter means they’ll develop a sudden urge to travel extensively, move to a new city or town, or make drastic life changes. 

It makes sense. You don’t want to end up too old and immobile and live with regret for the rest of your days. 

I remember listening to Baz Luhrmann’s inspirational song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” during the pandemic. 

I distinctly remember this line in the lyrics “Live in New York once, but leave before it makes you hard.” 

This struck a nerve, perhaps amplified by the fact that I, like everyone else, spent the better part of the last year and a half indoors due to COVID-19. 

I wasn’t content on throwing away any more days.

I decided at the moment that once the cases dwindled, I’d make a move. 

So I packed my bags and booked a ticket to New York City, where I “lived” for the next three months. 

I was in my mid-thirties at the time. 

I wanted to experience the frenetic vibrancy of the Big Apple while I was still relatively young and energetic. 

So that’s what I did. It was an invaluable, inspiring, even transformative bucket-list adventure. 

And though my wallet is noticeably lighter, overall I have no regrets. 

Final words

A mid-life crisis shouldn’t always be looked at as a negative thing. 

It may well be a catalyst for exciting change and new frontiers. 

So if your partner is undergoing a mid-life crisis, this isn’t necessarily cause for concern. 

It is important, however, to approach these signs with understanding and open communication.

A mid-life crisis is often a period of real personal turmoil and introspection, and support from a partner can be invaluable. 

And who knows, maybe you can even join them in their adventures. 

Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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