Why a Midlife Crisis and Divorce Don’t Have to Go Hand in Hand

Why a Midlife Crisis and Divorce Don’t Have to Go Hand in Hand

A midlife crisis and divorce do not necessarily need to follow on from each other, so why do most people think they do? Maybe because we’ve seen it on television so much?

It happens so often that it’s almost a cliché – a husband goes through a midlife crisis and suddenly, they’re up and out the door, leaving their family behind wondering what happened.

In some instances, the husband leaves his wife for a younger woman, while at other times, it’s the single life he’s after.

Over the years, movies have portrayed people going through midlife crises as selfish or uncaring, but this is not the case.

There is much more to these situations that a road that automatically leads to the end of a marriage.

While this does happen, it’s not actually the norm.

The truth is that a midlife crisis and divorce do not naturally need to follow on from each other, even when one party strays or even moves out of the family home for a time.

So what do you do when either yourself or your husband begins to think that the only way out of a midlife crisis is out of the marriage, and why does this happen?

A Change is as Good as a Holiday

While a midlife crisis and divorce don’t have to follow on, a midlife crisis is very often a time of confusion and discontent.

It’s a time when someone questions everything that they know about themselves and the choices they’ve made in their lives, and there’s this intense urge for something entirely different.

midlife crisis and divorce

Suddenly, they find that they want a change and the fastest way to accomplish that is by exiting their relationship.

After all, this is the source of all that’s holding them back from living a fabulous life, right? Wrong.

In many instances, the individual won’t really have a clear awareness of what it is that they want to be different – they only know that they’re not happy.

When this happens, they start looking outwards to find the problem, when they should be looking inwards.

A Need for Control

Sometimes, a partner might be threatening divorce for many years without actually ever calling it quits and this can be frustrating, hurtful and confusing for their partners.

While the midlife crisis and divorce don’t necessarily follow on from each other, the disengaged party could end up putting various deadlines in place for an impending divorce.

They might start saying things like “we’ll end it after the holidays” or “when the kids leave the house”.

As each deadline passes and nothing happens, their partner might start to question whether they ever intended to leave at all.

This sort of situation arises when one party desires control – control that they believe has been lost at some point in their lives.

They might or might not be aware of it – or the devastating impact these threats are having on their partner, and this could end up eroding at the relationship if it isn’t dealt with appropriately.

What do you do When Faced With Midlife Crisis and Divorce?

When a partner begins to experience a midlife crisis and divorce becomes a threat that is thrown into the mix, how do you react in a way that will be helpful to the relationship and give it the best possible chance of surviving?

The first step is to take a deep breath and don’t panic. While it might be tempting to immediately start the divorce proceedings, this might not be helpful or necessary.

If you get to the point where you believe that divorce is the best thing for you, then by all means explore that road, but do so once you’ve been able to make the decision with a clear head.

If your partner is talking about divorce, it can be really tempting to bring up couple’s counselling and while this can be helpful, in these situations, individual counselling can often be much more effective.

Keep in mind that in many instances, a midlife crisis and divorce threats that follow are usually more about the individual going through it, not the people around them.

Counselling can be a great opportunity for that person to explore what has been happening for them that has led them to this point in their lives.

Keep in mind that just because someone might be confused, that doesn’t mean that their thoughts and feelings aren’t valid.

This can be somewhat perplexing, but a midlife crisis can be a point of personal growth and exploration.

It can be an opportunity for a relationship to take stock and to be reborn into something better and stronger.

Unfortunately, at times, a midlife crisis and divorce do end up following on from each other, whether this is the original intention of the confused partner or not.

In these instances, a couple might find that they cannot – or do not want to – navigate this intense and rocky period and that is okay too.

The most important thing is that each person does what they feel is best for them and their family.


  • Stephen

    Stephen is now retired. He spent 25 years in community welfare and is one of the co-founders of life over 50. He has a keen interest in everything concerning this special age group.....and makes valuable contributions to the site. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, cycling and gardening. Also a keen jazz music lover!

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