A midlife crisis may not be a crisis at all, but a natural and healthy questioning of one’s life’s circumstances. While both men and women go through this period of questioning, men tend to have a unique set of challenges during midlife. Struggles with health, family, career, self-esteem and identity are all common and complex to unravel. While some men choose to ignore or mask these issues, others wisely seek therapeutic support.
Therapy can help you to process the past in order to move forward with more clarity and purpose. Intensive counseling in particular can help men deal with a midlife crisis. Within a matter of just a few days, men gain a profound understanding of their emotions, triggers and relationships. It just requires a willingness to learn and a desire to change.
What Is A Midlife Crisis?
Midlife is a time when people reevaluate their lives and the choices they’re making for the future. Most people go through this questioning phase in their 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s. This is usually a time of great change in our lives. Our children leave the nest and embark on their adult lives, our parents are aging and struggling with declining health. And we’re the “sandwich generation”, stuck in the middle with helping to care for our families and ourselves. It can be a stressful stage of life, one when we start questioning the validity of our choices, the strength of our relationships, and our goals for the future.
I like to use the term “midlife exploration” rather than “midlife crisis”. Words matter, and “exploration” is a far more accurate description of what happens during middle age. It also takes the stigma of a crisis out of the equation. In your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, we explore what comes next and what an ideal life looks like. This can be done without ever going into crisis mode.
Men And Middle Age
Men in western culture are socialized to be human “doings”, not human beings. This becomes an existential dilemma when men approach 50, the golden age of midlife crises. As a man ages, it’s normal that priorities change from production (earning money, building a career, nurturing a family, etc.) to quality (feeling more fulfilled with work and relationships, spending time wisely, etc.). And just when quality of life comes to the fore, men face numerous new challenges. Health and physical issues can cause a crisis. As can relationship or career struggles. It all makes men take stock of their lives, whom they love, and how they spend their time.
Issues of mortality such as fear of death are more about the fear of not having lived an ideal life. Dying before making a difference, leaving a mark, and loving whom we care most about is an unsettling prospect. As I like to remind my patients, no one on deathbed wished they spent more time in the office. And since there’s no going back in time, there’s an urgency to setting up the rest of your life to be fulfilling and enjoyable.
How Intensive Counseling Can Help
The only guarantee in life is change. It can be a choice or thrust upon us – this is what often dictates the narrative. Navigating life’s big changes can be overwhelming without support. The primary focus of intensive counseling is to help you rekindle the spark of life and desire that’s missing from the status quo. Therapy can also help explain the root causes of midlife crisis symptoms you’re up against, such as mood changes, infidelity, or sudden changes in behavior.
Counseling, like a Marriage Quest retreat, can help you to reframe the crisis from bad to useful, natural, and healthy. It will help you get unstuck from faulty thinking into a more productive mode of living. Intensive counseling in particular will supercharge this process, equipping you with tools for better living within a matter of 1 to 3 days. Embarking on this journey with your partner will build support and teamwork needed to bring clarity and choice. You’re not in this alone. And there is no shame in getting help during a turbulent time in your life. Marriage Quest intensive therapy will help you take charge and set yourself up for a more joyful, fulfilling season of life.