So, have you been looking up an old flame on Facebook, flirting with people half your age or suddenly taken up extreme sports?

Sports cars, hairpieces, Botox … Sure they’re cliché, but if these images come to mind when you hear the word “midlife crises”, you’re not alone. The thing about clichés though, most are based on fact, and in this case, the facts are staggering!

More than half of respondents to a recent poll on, a website produced by Wisconsin Public Radio, said that the “midlife crises is a very real, gut-wrenching, depressing  experience that we all go through at one time or another.”

The midlife crises can affect both men and women, often between the ages of 35 and 55. Men and women experience the crises differently. Men focus directly on their achievements and their success to others around them, while women tend to fixate on their physical appearance, sexual attraction, and what they can do with their lives once their parenting duties have ended.

Most people manage to work their way through a midlife crises without too much trouble, but others struggle to find the balance.

This is often seen as the “passing of youth”; the transitional phase where older adults evaluate their achievements, goals and dreams against what they have wished for in the past, and what stage they are facing in life. Erratic behaviour, obsessively comparing your looks to others of the same age, thinking of, or actually having an affair and worrying about retirement, are just some of the many signs that you or your partner may be having a midlife crises.

Seriously though, can we honestly be surprised that people become a bit emotionally unhinged when they lose the most important thing in our youth obsessed society?!

According to Cape Town psychologist Ilse Terblanche, this is not an easy time for couples, especially if you’re married. Many marriages come apart at the seams during this time.

So, how do you get through this? First of all give each other space. If he needs space by himself or with his golfing buddies, don’t complain about how little time he spends with you. Or, on the other hand if she needs more time with friends or want to take an art class, encourage her. Remember, you are responsible for your own happiness, so it is ok to plan things without each other.

Be kind to one another, reaffirm your love for each other. Do it without expecting anything back.

Also, try not to demand that your spouse “straighten up”, or stop erratic behaviour and return to the person you’re comfortable with. So, yes, go to his karaoke competitions or for a drive in his new convertible; support her book club, (ahem “wine club.”)

It is natural to feel a loss of youthful vitality during this phase of your life. So, remember  to take care of yourself. Stop obsessing over your flaws. Don’t set outrageous weight loss goals! Eat healthy, exercise and drink plenty of water. Truth is, sexual desirability is not about size, age or looks. It’s all about the attitude of openness towards giving and receiving pleasure. Nothing is more fascinating than a person with interests and passions  who feels good in their own skin. So, fascinate yourself and you’ll find others are fascinated by you too.

The silver lining of this phase in your life is that it could be a sort of rebirth for both you and your partner. A chance to create your life in a way that is more align with who you really are, not who you plan to be.

Try to embrace this often difficult transition. Be gentle with yourself. This too shall pass!




DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.