How To Cure Midlife Crisis In Men

midlife crisis in men

If you want to know how to cure a midlife crisis in men, you probably know just how hard it is to find any practical, helpful advice on the subject out there.

This is what this post seeks to re-address, and is taken in part from my book, Midlife Crisis In Men: How To Overcome A Male Midlife Crisis In 12 Steps.

Before we begin looking at exactly how to cure midlife crisis in men, let’s start with a definition of what a male midlife crisis actually is.

What Is A Midlife Crisis In Men? 

A male midlife crisis can best be summed up as the time when a man reaches middle-age and becomes overwhelmed by negative thoughts and emotions about his life — past, present and future.

  • The past is full of regrets over missed opportunities in a lost youth
  • The present is plagued by a sense of ennui and helplessness as either work and home life grow stale or he realizes he’s never going to achieve his goals
  • The future seems meaningless in the face of an approaching death

Different men react to these negative thoughts and emotions in different ways.

The most popular form of midlife crisis in men is what I’ve dubbed the Subterranean Crisis, in which everything’s bottled up and the man simply suffers alone in silence.

The Cliche Crisis, on the other hand, involves making an abrupt but destructive lifestyle change, such as getting divorced, dating a much younger woman, buying a motorbike, quitting work, etc.

Midlife Crisis In Men

And finally, the Depression Crisis occurs when things really spiral out of control into a prolonged state of depression that requires professional intervention.

While the male midlife crisis is an internal experience, its causes are external factors, such as physical signs of aging, living in a culture that glorifies youth, the death of a parent, or work and family difficulties. All of which can often occur upon reaching middle-age.

Overall, a midlife crisis in men is about transition. It’s that strange period of life in which we’re no longer young, but not yet old, and figuring out this new terrain can be complicated.

Those who’ve maybe not achieved the goals set out while young, can feel an overwhelming sense of failure, regret, and hopelessness as he comes to the realization he’s probably never going to achieve them.

While those who’ve achieved everything they wanted — financial stability, a family, a nice house and car, etc. — may step back and wonder “Is this all there is?”

Follow the link if you want to know more about What is a male midlife crisis?

The Problems Associated With Learning How To Survive A Midlife Crisis In Men

If you’re a middle-aged guy looking for advice on how to cure midlife crisis in men, you may have noticed a few problems…

Firstly, there’s a distinct lack of relatable and practical information out there, and secondly, it can be hard to open up about your feelings to friends, family or your partner.

Let’s take a quick look at the first problem. Most online advice regarding how to cure midlife crisis in men falls into one of the two following camps.

Vague clichés

This is by far the most common form of unhelpful advice in which middle-aged men are told that a midlife crisis can be overcome simply by hearing or reading a series of soundbites.

These are usually things like “Don’t act on your desires, be realistic about them”, “Accept that you’re no longer young”, and the classic, “Be positive”.

Vague advice also includes the recommendation to “open up” to someone — usually a friend, therapist, or pastor.

There are two key problems with this suggestion.

Firstly, men are notoriously bad at opening up. If you’re a man suffering from a male midlife crisis, the last thing you probably feel like doing is off-loading all your anxieties on to your best friend.

Talking to someone impartial is seen as a viable alternative, but good therapists are hard to come by and offer no guarantee of seeing any results, apart from a hole in your wallet. And pastors are of little use if you don’t happen to be religious.

Humorous mocking

In this case, a blog post headline will usually deliberately rope in unsuspecting readers by sounding useful and practical, with something like: How To Cure Midlife Crisis In Men: A Definitive 20-Point Guide.

But then, rather than actually offer any sound advice, the author will spend the entire post trying to be funny. All at the expense of the middle-aged man who may be actually suffering from a midlife crisis.

The real problem with this kind of journalism is that it trivializes the midlife crisis as a condition and plays into stereotypes of men who are just “going through a silly fad” and “should probably know better”.

Meanwhile, suicide rates among middle-aged men continue to skyrocket…

Suicide rates among women have always been lower than in men, but in Britain, the Office For National Statistics (ONS) has found that it’s at its highest rate among men than ever before.

The hardest hit groups are those aged between forty-five to fifty-nine, but those in the thirty to forty-four group aren’t doing much better, as you can see on the graph below.

midlife crisis in men

Suicide rates (per 100,000) among men, by age group, 2001-2013. Source: ONS

Take antidepressants

Friends, doctors, therapists are often very quick to suggest taking antidepressants as a remedy for a midlife crisis in men.

But the key question is, do they work? Or, perhaps more importantly, are they safe?

Firstly, despite the fact antidepressants are thought to work by increasing mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline, just how they do this isn’t exactly clear.

Secondly, it’s clear that antidepressant drugs may not be as benevolent as previously thought.

In fact, antidepressants have been shown to sometimes cause serious physiological and psychological side effects, including brain damage, increased risk of suicide, chronic depression, sexual dysfunction, irregular bone development, and a whole host of other complications.

One study found that over 50 percent of people taking antidepressants, succumb to at least one common side effect (Brambilla et al. 2005).

How To Prevent Midlife Crisis In Men

Personally, in order to learn how to cure midlife crisis in men I would avoid paying for therapy or taking antidepressants. There are a variety of methods that you can try first which involve simply reframing your mind to think about your life in a different way.

In the winter of 2013, Wilko Johnson, guitarist with British pub-rockers, Dr Feelgood, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was given under a year left to live.

Luckily for him it turned out the doctors were wrong and his condition wasn’t terminal, but treatable. “I suddenly felt intensely alive”, he remembers:

“Everything around me looked sharp and vibrant. I felt free. Free from the future and the past, free from everything but this present moment I was in”.

Do you truly value the time you have left on this Earth?

In my book I mention the fact that in essence, time is an illusion — there is no past or future, only the present — but the truth is you only have a finite amount of days left to enjoy being alive.

Although comparing life expectancies across countries can be problematic, the average lifespan for men in the developed world is around seventy-six to eighty years old.

That leaves you with how many years? Exactly… In fifty years time, you very well might no longer be here.

In a hundred years time you definitely won’t be here. Depressing as that may be, it’s also an opportunity to open up to life in the now — in this present moment — and to stop taking time for granted.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you’re forty-five. Let’s then imagine you live until you’re eighty-five. That means you have forty years left.

If there are 365 days in a year, that means you have 14,600 days left. And if there are twenty-four hours in a day, that means you have 350,400 hours left.

Which means that every hour that goes by is another one out of 350,400 that’s lost forever, never to be recaptured.

While this can be quite a depressing thought — a thought you maybe spend most of the time trying to avoid — it can also be quite a liberating one.

midlife crisis in men

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you’re diagnosed with terminal cancer to come out the other side vowing never to take another day of their life for granted.

Start now.

Start viewing time as a precious commodity and something that you’ll never get back. Forget the old adage of “living every day as if it’s your last” because that’s just impractical.

What’s not so impractical, though, is living each day while being more mindful of the present moment and how you use it.

It’s time to take back your time:

  • Stop doing things you don’t really want to do just to please other people
  • Stop watching movies and reading books just because you’ve started them
  • Stop spending hours watching drivel on TV
  • Stop taking your time left on this Earth for granted

Now, you can either be terrified by this truth, or you can do something about it.

Here’s a simple exercise you can start doing every day. 

Simply say to yourself as often as possible, “I’m enjoying myself”.

That’s it. No matter what you’re doing, where you are, or how good or bad your day’s actually going, just tell yourself that you’re having a blast and watch how it immediately makes the world seem a better place.

The next time the train’s twenty minutes late, then rolls up packed with commuters and you have to spend the entire journey standing underneath someone’s armpit, do the following:

  • take a few deep breaths, (or not if you’re under someone’s armpit) smile to yourself and say “I’m enjoying myself” and see what happens.

By telling your brain you’re okay and things aren’t nearly as bad as they could be, it will have the effect of making it believe it.

Repeat as often as necessary and it will become a default setting that will keep you from regarding every negative situation as the end of the world.


If you’d like to know more about how to cure midlife crisis in men, check out my book, Midlife Crisis InMen: How To Overcome A Male Midlife Crisis In 12 Steps.

midlife crisis in men

It’s full of practical exercises, helpful tactics and resources that will teach you to how to survive midlife crisis in men and come out the other side with a renewed zest for life

Are you in the midst of a male midlife crisis? And sick and tired of all the unhelpful, vague information out there? What steps are you taking to overcome it? Let me know in the comments section below.