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is my boyfriend having a midlife crisis??

by Natasha Doyle

The Question


My boyfriend who is 27 was made redundant from his job in March, and around the same time he decided he didn't want to be with me anymore as he couldn't give me what I wanted. I have explained that I am willing to work through this and try to sort this out.

In April he realised he may have made a mistake, and says he is so in love with and really misses me. We didn't get back together, as he found a job but was going to have to move half an hour away so he could commute.

He is now living with his mate and is saying he wants to be with me but can't commit everything to me, and doesn't want to give me half a relationship. He said when I spoke to him a couple of days ago that he hasn't been single for 10 years as he has gone from one relationship to another, and just wants to go and enjoy himself with his mates and not have to think about someone else.

He admitted last night that he thinks he is going through an early midlife crisis and his head is so messed up. Throughout all of this we have acted pretty much as normal, just with no label.

Please could you advise if this sounds like an early midlife crisis? and if so what do I do? I want to give him space because I want him to come back to me!

Noel's response

He may be going through what Daniel Levinson in his book The Season's of a Man's Life calls "The Novice Phase: early adult transition, entering the adult world, and the age thirty transition". Levinson says we go through a transition about every ten years, and if we do not do one transition well (in this case possibly the 'Novice Phase" which happens during our twenties), we may have a 'crisis' during our next transition.

It may be that your boyfriend didn't make his transition into adulthood as well as he might, and is now struggling with some of the tasks (such as being on his own and learning to look after his own needs) as well as he might need to.

His telling you that he hasn't been single, but has gone from one relationship to another suggests he has never learned to be responsible for himself (i.e. someone has always been there to look after him). Now he needs to 'grow up' in that regard, and has to be on his own to do it.

He might find the New Warrior Training Adventure very helpful in sorting things out and becoming the man he wants to be.

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