A Male’s Midlife Change
Many developmental experts now feel that men continue to change psychologically during their adult life. In a sense, men experience two or even three adulthoods. The first extends from the end of puberty until the late 30’s or early 40’s. Then many men experience a midlife change which may, or may not, develop into a major midlife crisis. This “male andropause” may be precipitated by many factors or events—for example, the appearance of a major health issue, the death of an emotionally close parent, spouse, friend or child, a significant job change or status, a growing awareness of physical changes that create anxiety, or an emotional or psychological shift that may be conscious or unconscious. The common element in all of these changes is usually a feeling of loss of something or someone important to the man’s sense of well-being. This can become a very difficult period of transition for men and their significant others in their life which, if successfully resolved, can lead into a man’s more mature “second adulthood.”
What precipitates the male midlife crisis? In the simplest terms, a man begins to feel that there is something else in life other than where he is. Men either feel they have progressed as far as they can with whatever their life script is or a crisis is precipitated by a sudden change event which makes a man feel obsolete, vulnerable, unsure or not competent.
Typical events can include:
• Loss or Downsizing of a Job
• Separation and/or Divorce
• A Health Crisis
• Death or Illness of a Peer or Family Member
• Children Leaving Home
• Displacement by a Younger Male
• Becoming a Grandparent
• Experiencing Erectile Failure Twice in a Row
The most typical response of the male to this change is depression or anxiety which, in a man, is often expressed differently from symptoms which are classically attributed to depression and/or anxiety. As a result, we remain “Stuck” and unfulfilled. The most effective way out is to shake things up. Engage in new activities. Engage with different types of people, Place yourself in new environments and most importantly, find support.
Certified Master Coach