Is it a mid-life crisis?


Is it a mid-life crisis?


your avatar   Marilyn, 42-year-old woman

What can you tell me about a male mid-life crisis? I think my 47-year-old boyfriend is in the beginning of his. He recently quit his $100,000/year job to be a high school football coach! He seems more irritable than ever, even though he claims football "gives him happiness". This decision about football has many financial drawbacks. Is this a phase that will pass? I want my boyfriend back!


    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

Dear Marilyn,

I can certainly understand your concern. It sounds as if your boyfriend has made some dramatic and radical changes in his life. Whenever you're in a relationship and your partner is making these kinds of transitions and changes you are also forced into a tremendous period of change. What makes this so difficult is that the changes were not of your initiation or desire. One of the things that make relationships so difficult is that people change and grow in different ways and this puts stress on the other partner. The hope of course is that in general both partners will change and grow in complementary ways and continue to have the same goals, interests, and desires.

In any ones life there are several periods of transition where change and stress are greater than others. Some of these are when people get married, when they become parents, or when they retire. These times are always difficult and add stress, but they can also be very productive periods where reevaluation and growth can increase. The so called mid life crisis is one of these.

During this time when a person enters their middle years they really begin to realize that they will eventually get old and mortality becomes more real. They begin to look back on their goals of youth and ascertain how much they have accomplished or not accomplished. Even if they have been very successful in traditional ways it could well feel quite hollow now. This often leads to a total reevaluation of their life.

The mid life crisis has a horrible reputation, but it doesn't have to be. If someone overreacts they can often run amok and attempt to relive their youth. The stereotype of middle age men buying a sports car, changing their dress, and having an affair with a woman half their age certainly can and does happen. However, that certainly doesn't have to happen. It is just as likely that the person soberly reevaluates their life, makes certain life enhancing changes and rediscovers what is really important to them. If they really talk with their partner and understand what they are going through their present relationship can become much deeper and mature.

The popular notion is that these things only occur with men. The truth is that both sexes go through a mid life crisis. Men certainly do seem to have more difficulty with it however. Part of this may have to do with how hard it is for most men to talk. They often try to go through it all on their own and therefore don't really get the help they need. It is very important to talk about what is happening so the relationship can develop even more.

Your boyfriend is certainly going through a lot of changes and if he is irritable and depressed then it sounds as if he isn't doing well with it. Try and discuss it with him and you might also suggest he gets some professional help. Often people make the necessary changes and continue to mature on their own, but it would certainly be an easier transition if he gets some assistance.

Good luck.

Jef Gazley

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit:


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