Exploring the Triggers of Crisis Affairs for Men

Exploring the Triggers of Crisis Affairs for Men

Understanding crisis affairs is an important part of overcoming this betrayal in a relationship and being able to move on from it.

Affairs happen for all sorts of reasons and while they have the potential to have devastating effects on those involved, there are ways to rebuild relationships once they have come to an end.

The first step to finding a middle ground is to have a better understanding of the underlying factors that led to the affair in the first place.

So Let’s Look At What A Crisis Affair Is

A crisis affair is essentially a form of extra-marital relationship that occurs during or after a significant life event.

It’s usually associated with a midlife crisis, and generally, men are the most likely to have them.

Probably most of us have heard of the classic ‘midlife crisis’  –  but let’s explore how this stage of a man’s life can very often lead to an affair.

A classic midlife crisis in men is actually quite a common occurrence that often happens around the age of 40-60 years old.  Although to be honest, it can occur at any point during middle age.

It tends to occur when men start to feel what appears as an internal conflict, sometimes with no clear reason. 

Men start to question their purpose, and many men feel like wanting to press life’s reset button and start anew.

Men experiencing a midlife crisis may find themselves discontented with their present lives – dwelling on past regrets or uncertainty about their future goals.

Often feeling emotionally disconnected from their spouse, even family members, friends & colleagues.

Understanding Crisis Affairs and Men

The Onset Of Erratic Middle Aged Behavior

This leads them to sometimes behave recklessly, such as engaging in sudden changes  – by leaving long-standing relationships abruptly, going through extravagant purchases (buying that sports car, for example) or radical lifestyle shifts.

Similarly, it is also fair to say that some men use this time positively and change directions to achieve more happiness/satisfaction, many using exercise as a means to help lift depression.

So What Is The Cause Of A Mid-Life Crisis?

The exact cause of a mid-life crisis onset remains unclear,  but factors including changes in work or relationship status, mortality realization and lifestyle modifications, are often primarily responsible.

A pause for self-reflection helps determine whether these feelings are momentary and insignificant or whether they run much deeper.

Male midlife crises can and do, vary enormously between individuals.

Severe behaviour changes likely require professional assistance, where support groups or counselling provide reliable channels for a resolution.

Encouragement, improved communication with spouse and a more balanced outlook over the man’s self-image and beliefs; would greatly improve chances towards recovering fulfilling and meaningful lifelong objectives.

mid life crisis affair

Dealing With The Classic Crisis Affair

Some men engage in crisis affairs as a way to feel alive or bring excitement into their lives.

However, such decisions also, in turn, trigger guilt and shame, leading to psychological turmoil.

Because crisis affairs usually occur more suddenly rather than gradually building up over time, it can often be much more intense and overwhelming –  with greater potential for lasting damage.

Dialogue is important at this stage to prevent further deterioration

Dealing with these events requires dialogue between both partners, involving empathy, understanding each other’s needs and perhaps setting new boundaries.

Although there is always the risk that an affair could create permanent rifts that do irreparable harm.

Greater openness and honesty, without employing the blame game, can become the bedrock of the healing process.

But essentially, crisis affairs ultimately contribute nothing positive towards a man’s life.

When you understand the difference between a midlife crisis in men and affairs that take place as an exit strategy, for example, it’s easier to find a way forward that will work for both parties.

If there’s a way forward at all.

Does A Midlife Crisis Look  Like An Exit Affair?

How do you tell the difference between someone who is having a midlife crisis and someone who no longer wants to be in the relationship?

It’s not always black and white, but there’s usually a handful of signs that you can look out for to help you understand crisis affairs.

If your partner is having an affair and suddenly showing a variety of other behaviours that are usually associated with a midlife crisis, including cycling moods, depression, regression, it’s possible that they are struggling with more than just an affection for someone else.

understanding crisis affairs

A midlife crisis in men and affairs,  don’t always go hand-in-hand.  However when they do, it can often be a way to deal with the difficult emotions that accompany this transitional phase in a man’s life.

How The Exit Strategy Affair Normally Differs

The exit strategy affair, on the other hand, doesn’t always come with a wide range of personality changes, although this isn’t to say that there won’t be changes in their behaviour.

A partner might find that their spouse becomes a lot more protective of their mobile phone, for example.

Or that they are less likely to share details about the time they spend away from home.

The key to telling the difference between an exit strategy affair and a midlife crisis affair,  is to focus on the other personality changes, rather than behaviour.

While this could be easy enough to spot –  not everyone experiences a midlife crisis in the same way and so it could be that you need to look elsewhere for clues about what is going on.

There are certainly no clear-cut methods to distinguish both of these affairs.

Try, perhaps to use your gut instinct to determine what is going on.

How To Help A Wife Identity A Crisis Affair

Someone who is having a midlife crisis affair will usually do so on a whim and it’ll usually be explained away by statements like “it just happened” or “it meant nothing”.

This is usually someone getting swept up in the thrill of the moment, and the affairs themselves could be short-lived, ending after several weeks or months.

In this instance, a person might try to live in two different worlds simultaneously –  trying to keep their marriage together while experiencing the excitement of someone new.

is it a midlife crisis or an affair

This individual might not be thinking about the consequences of their actions – which could potentially end the relationship.

So when their actions come to light, it can be as devastating for them as it is for the partner to which they have been unfaithful.

Very often crisis affairs are discovered relatively quickly, because they are quite spontaneous and engaged in with little preparation or planning.

The Exit Strategy Affair Is Different

The exit strategy affair, on the other hand, is well planned and thought out, sometimes months or years in advance.

The person having the affair usually uses the affair to start to distance themselves from their partner and usually uses problems within their relationship,  in order to justify their actions.

These sorts of affairs could last for many years, with the unfaithful partner making promises to leave their wife for their new partner eventually.

Wives may even turn a blind eye to these type of affairs

In some instances, a wife might know about this affair for years, before it becomes common knowledge, at which point both parties are forced to deal with it.

The biggest risk when it comes to understanding crisis affairs, especially in men –  is that they can actually become exit strategies for those wanting to use it as a form of taking back control.

The husband might not be able to control the passage of time, but to them this allows them to regain some semblance of power over their lives again.

How Long Does A Midlife Crisis Affair Last

Understanding crisis affairs and the factors that underpin an affair,  is the first step in finding a way back together –  because it allows both parties to understand what went wrong.

The good news is that a midlife crisis affair can often be a short-lived event.

Because it involves other emotional aspects of a man’s experience, it becomes only a part of the midlife crisis.

He is not essentially having an affair because he no longer loves his partner and wants out of the relationship.

For those experiencing a midlife crisis, private counselling might be a more appropriate step than marriage counselling.

This is because this type of person usually struggles with internal issues that will have little or nothing to do with their spouse.

So it’s often better if they can have some form of talk therapy with an independent party.

Can A Marriage Survive A Crisis Affair?

It isn’t always easy to identify the motivations for an affair and at times, motivations aren’t always black and white, and neither are the repercussions.

The aftermath of infidelity within marriages is usually devastating.

However the question is, can a marriage survive a crisis affair.

That depends on several factors.

While it may seem impossible to move forward from such an impactful betrayal of trust and confidence –  with concerted effort between individuals involved, anything could happen.

It will probably involve the man working slowly through his midlife crisis issues, and by doing that, he will also address his reasons for having an affair in the first place.

The first, and most difficult step towards resolution lies in confronting what exactly occurred –  with honest communication.

Acknowledging one’s actions freely and expressing remorse for any hurt caused by the partner helps build transparency leading, albeit slowly,  towards rebuilding the shattered relationship.

Secondly, working together while understanding other feelings can go long way in arriving at a mutually acceptable middle ground.

Efforts should be channelled towards improving emotional attachment through counselling, therapy or other activities that promote open dialogue and personal growth.

Ultimately finding forgiveness after an affair is tough –but not impossible – especially when both actively try to grow together beyond mistakes made.

A relationship post crisis-affair, will require patience, a sensitive approach, tolerance and also a healthy dose of realism.

The marriage may become stronger.

At times, a marriage can become stronger once the storm of a mid-life crisis has passed.

While at other times, it might simply be too much for either party to cope with and could end in divorce.

Ultimately, the best chance a couple has of making it through is by arming themselves with knowledge by understanding how crisis affairs can occur and how to watch out for one brewing.


  • 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!

One thought on “Exploring the Triggers of Crisis Affairs for Men

  1. My sister had gone through this with her husband. He had been having an affair with another woman for 6 years before she had found out. He even had a child with this other woman. She had no idea he was married either. It was a mess. She is still married to him and they are going through a lot of therapy together. He admitted that it had nothing to do with her, he was just unhappy and couldn’t fix himself. It is a shame it comes to this for some men.

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