Can a midlife crisis change a man so drastically

by Ellen L
(NL, Canada)

The Question

My husband and I have been together for about 27 years and we have two young children. We have overcome many obstacles over the years but we got through them.

Recently my husband's behaviour has changed, moody, going out to his brothers/friends more and behaving out of the ordinary. About three weeks ago he said he no longer loved me and hasn't for quite awhile. Since then I found out he has been having a relationship (texting and physical) with a 27 year old girl. They have been meeting for coffees, texting constantly and well... other things.

My husband has talked to this girl about our love life and that I no longer did the things he wanted anymore. I will admit that our lives have become very hectic with work, kids, activities and home renovations. However, even though it has become very hard to make time for us as a couple and not just as parents, why would he not even try anymore?

Would a midlife crisis really make a man so unrecognizable, so uncharacteristic, as to leave his new home, his children, and all the things he once seemed to treasure? Can that man ever overcome this crisis? The damage has been done, the hurt so big that it would seem that nothing could ever repair it.

Noel's Response

A midlife crisis can change a man significantly. It can be complicated by the man (or woman) wanting their partner to 'make them happy, or fulfilled'. If he is getting together with a young woman, chances are he is trying to hold back the fear of aging, and of 'losing his youth'.

As with all things in life, this too shall pass for him. When one day he stops projecting perfection onto the young woman, he will realize his mistake, but in the meantime, he may continue to act 'out of character'.

As I suggest for many who write questions, your task is to move on with your own life, and if it is not too late, and he wants to come back at some point, to decide whether you want him back, and if so, what kind of relationship and commitment you want from him before you do.

If he has caused too much hurt, then carry on with your life. Get a lawyer to help you get as good a settlement as possible, and make sure neither of you drags your children into any kind of arguments or fights you have.

Comments for Can a midlife crisis change a man so drastically

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Jul 16, 2013
I am so sad
by: Marie

I left France and gave up everything to married my husband .
My parents did cut me off after our wedding
He was the most wonderful person...
Now, suddenly he is 45 we have been married for 17 years.
He has no interest to be around me , he moved out a year ago to downstairs .. He goes out and if I would ask: he would said it is none if your business , or he will lie ...
I am so sad and heartbroken but now my feelings has shifted . Because his behavior is so horrible ...
What can I do ?

Dec 04, 2012
midlife crisis
by: Dot

i am going through much the same. My husband and I have been together for 25 years and I don't know who the man is anymore. He started this when he found out he had CHF. He wants to frequent bars, he stays out all night with the people from the bar. He says he doesn't know why this would upset me, he says he is just looking. I have went through the upset, the crying the pleading, all to no avail. We still live in the same house but I am trying to get up enough money to file for a divorce. neither of us has a whole lot of money but I am determined that I get my half of what we have. My hands are clean, I have stayed home, taken care of the house and bills, he has no responsibilities at all. That is now going to change. He will cook his meals, do his clothes, keep his room clean (I moved out of our bedroom), get his own prescriptions and take care of himself. He is in the hosp. right now, but i took him in and told him to call when he is ready to come home and i will come after him. i will not go to the hosp and let him be verbally abusive. He has been verbally abusive to me for months. i am getting out. I am through. Got a few more things to do and it will be over. Wish everyone else good luck with what they want out of life but I can't live this way.

Apr 01, 2012
husbands a stranger
by: Anonymous

My husband of 17 years has completely changed. The part of him that we all loved the most has switched off. He moved out, leaving me and our four children heart broken. His mother died over a year before and he has been resentful of his siblings and anyone doing well in life. Suddenly it was my turn. He didn't come when the children needed him he would turn off his phone, I had to watch the children suffer he just didn't care. This was a man who would have walked through fire for us, he loved us all so much and we did him. I tried to keep him informed about the children but he wasn't interested and that drove me insane. I knew if this carried on his crisis would end up being ours. So, I have been paying him the same attention he pays us. The children do not ask for him anymore they go to me and my parents our friends instead, I do not contact him or inform him when the children have things going on, when I did he didn't respond or turn up. So now he has to hear about his family from other people a risky move I know, but he hasn't met us half way. I know i sound like i am being spiteful but i am not I have tried for 6 months to keep his relationship with the children it broke my hearts, but his feelings have switched off. He knows where we are the door is open for him to see his children but he doesn't come, or care. He is a stranger, and I feel widowed, the man I adored has gone and have been replaced with a soulless body. We loved him so much, but it is time to accept he is gone and to somehow move on.

Feb 21, 2012
MIDLIFE HELL
by: Anonymous

HUSBAND AN I JUST HAD OUR 23RD ANNIVERSARY. 9 MONTHS AGO HE WOKE UP AND SAID HE DIDNT LOVE ME. MOVED OUT FOR 1 MONTH AND THEN RETURNED. HAS THREATED TO LEAVE SEVERAL MORE TIMES. IS MEAN, COLD , RUDE AND VERY SELFISH. ENEN TOLD ME HE IS NUMBER 1. HE WAS A WONDERFUL MAN AND I COULDNT HAVE ASKED FOR A BETTER HUSBAND UNTIL THIS STARTED. FOULD OLD "JUST A FRIEND" FROM SCHOOL AND IS HAVING EMOTIONAL AFFAIR. TEXT N CALL ABOUT EVERY DAY. HAS IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS STARTED KISSING ME GOODBYE AND GOOD NIGHT AND WHEN HE GETS HOME FROM WORK. WILL NOT GIVE ME ANY COMPLIMENT OF ANY KIND. GOT NOTHING FOR OUR ANNIVERSAY. WHEN THIS 1ST STARTED AND HE CAME BACK HE WANTED SEX ALOT NOW ITS CALMED DOWN. HE USE TO BE SWEET AND ROMANTIC NOW ITS SOMETIMES LIL ROUGH AND DOMINATE. I SAY I LOVE HIM AND HE SAYS NOTHING JUST PATS MY HAND OR BACK. I HAVE NEVER FELT SO ALONE AND CONSTANTLY SAD. OVIOUSLY HE REALLY DONT WANT TO LEAVE, HES HAD MULTIPLE CHANCES. IVE SEEN HIM GO THRU THE 1ST 3 OR 4 STAGES OF MIDLIFE. BUT NOT SURE WHERE HES AT NOW. HES NICE AND ISNT TALKING TO THE O/W AS MUCH AND SOMETIMES ACTS LIKE HIS OLD SELF AS LONG AS IM A GOOD QUIET WIFE AND DONT SAY OR DO THE WRONG THING. I LOVE HIM AND WANT TO SAVE MY MARRIAGE BUT ITS SO UNFAIR TO HAVE TO LIVE WITHOUT LOVE AND JUST SIT BACK AND WAIT FOR HIM TO DESIDE HE WANTS ME OR NOT.

Jan 26, 2012
Just take care of yourself
by: Anonymous

There's an old saying that goes; "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do!" The more you badger him the farther you will push him away, especially if you do desire to take him back other than divorce. A man going through a midlife crisis changes him permanently from the man he once was into a sudden stranger. Sad but true, there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop his mental state of mind. He's at the stage in his life when he realizes he's losing his veril manhood and lowering of testosterone, and has to venture out to grab a bit of his former masculinity to prove to himself he is still a man. The wife is then trust out into left field and cannot do anything about it. The only thing the wife can do is ignore his moods and actions and distance herself from him just the way he is distancing himself from his wife. Give him something other to think about, MAKE HIM WONDER, but don't do the foolish adultery game he is playing against you. It's a hard thing to do but the wife must do this. She should also get spritual counceling and meet with groups designed to help with getting her through this type of situation. The sad thing about the man actually committing to a sexual affair with other women, there's the threat of veneral deseases that can be passed to the wife. I suggest if the wife has found proof of her husband cheating, to confront him and inform him that she will not allow him to touch her until he is over his crisis and repents of his ungodly sinful behavior of adultery. But he must surrender to having blood tests for sexually transmitted diseases, especially aides of which is deadly and not curable, before resuming sex with his wife. If he can't respect you enough to do that, then he is not willing to stop his extra marital affairs and has little respect for the wife. Be firm and demanding or send him packing for good...!!! You hold the keys to your own happiness and future...!!! YOU SET THE STANDARDS LIKE A REAL PATRIARC WOMAN...!!!

Oct 21, 2011
This sucks!!!!!!
by: Anonymous

I can relate to all of the above comments. I was married for 14 years and the signs of an affair were all there. I even know who it is. Denial was the word of the day from him. He was always so into our three children and a very unselfish man in general. He promised that he was cutting off ties with this woman at work and focusing on our family. He moved out and moved on, shutting of his phone so the kids could not contact him while he was out living his life. He often does not surface for his parenting time when the kids are anxious for his arrival and time with their dad. He will blow the kids off whenever it interferes with his plans with his girlfriend. It is hurting his kids so deeply and he is destroying his relationship with them for life. He thinks that he is free and clear from his responsibilities as a dad. I don't know who this man is any more but I do know that soon he will be a very lonely man with a lifetime of regret!!!!!!

Jun 27, 2011
is there any hope
by: Anonymous

my husband is 46 i am 33. two months ago the tells me that he is unhappy with our marriage, his two children and his job.

I found out less than a month later that he is seeing a 42 year old woman. he feels that he needs to be happy and he can only get this with her. He wants to sell the house and move on with his life. Some days he is bitter and hateful towards not only me but his two sons ages 22 and 26 still living at home.He says that he has no help, the responsibilities of the house/ family is too much and he just wants to move on with his life.

Yesterday he told me he wants a divorce, the marriage is not working for him and that he has been unhappy for too long, we have been living together for 9ys but only married for 2yrs. He still show me that he cares about me, but insist that he wants to be with this other woman.

About 6hours after he tells me he wants a divorce he left the house, to be with her i assume. but when he returns at 1 am he comes into my room to ask some silly question that could have waited for the morning. The next morning he is going out of his way to do something good for me.

Could this be midlife crisis or is he just wanting to have his cake and eat it. He seems confused

Nov 29, 2010
Husband midlife crissis.
by: Pale Rose

My husband and I were happily married for 21 years. We have 2 daughters 18 and 14 years of age.

I was the envy of the women. My husband adored me.
He was the perfect husband, father, responsible provider. His wife and children were his life.

Now he has found "the love of his life". He is 46 years old and says he is in love with a a 23 year old girl who has had 2 children with 2 different fathers.

He has changed so much to the point that I wonder: "Did he ever love me" ? or did he only use me to get ahead in this world financially.

I worked very hard in order to provide a good life for our children. We have a house and a business together.

It it is almost a year now. He moved out of the house and does not seem to have regrets.

I am a very attractive woman, a fitness instructor and have decided to go on with my life not minding what he does or does not do.


Jun 20, 2010
Can a midlife crisis change a man so drastically
by: Anonymous

Sorry - I think there are not very many success stories!

And your feelings in time will change because that man isn't the man you married! They will destroy it all including the children - even the adult children! You will start to dislike him.

And that dislike will grow stronger for every day that you tolerate his uncaring attitude towards you.

By the time he completes his journey you will have had enough and you will be gone!!

Life is short - don't waste valuable time! Worry about you. Not him! Make your own life! Because he's on a journey and you are not invited!


Jun 01, 2010
Stranger in my Life
by: Anonymous

That is exactly what i am going through at the moment. I have been married for 15 years, have two young sons and never saw this coming.

My husband is nearing 42, I knew him better than he knew himself, now I feel as though there is a total stranger in my life. he has moved out but uses the excuse that he has to see the kids every day so in a sense he hasn't left home at all.

Last night he asked our eldest son what the time was, I looked at him puzzled and told him that he was wearing his watch. I am only 33 years old and was not prepared for this, I feel abandoned and betrayed because he has felt no love for me for the past several months.

He said he never told me because he didn't want to hurt me yet he was the only person who knew how easily I hurt. He said he had hope for us several months ago. That's great but he has had a chance to deal with this. He gave me a weekend to stop loving him. I miss my man and want him back before my feelings change and they will, its only a matter of time.

Feb 18, 2010
I certainly can relate
by: Anonymous

My husband of 35 yrs. has done the same thing to me. He is still at home, but has completely checked out if you know what I mean. He threatens to leave, but to this date hasn't yet.

It is like living with a stranger. Wants to sell our house and move to town...not like him at all. Bought a motorcycle but now wants a bigger one. He has not ridden the one he has but a handful of times. Nothing makes him happy. Had an emotional affair and so on. Typical midlife crisis symptoms.

It is really sad as he has cut himself off from family and friends as well. I continue to pray and just do my own thing, but I miss him so much. Anyone have any advice out there and are there any success stories?

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