How is a Midlife Crisis Different for Men and Women?
“The male midlife crisis is the stuff of clichés and Hollywood tropes: red sports cars, leather pants, and perky paramours. The female version, however, is talked about much less. Many of its symptoms—like sleeplessness, sadness, and anxiety—are chalked up to perimenopause. While that physiological transition, with all its hormonal fluctuations, can certainly bring emotional upheaval, a woman’s midlife crisis is often more complex, with cultural forces and psychological triggers at play.” Dina Cheney, Health Magazine
This interesting Health Magazine article got me thinking. What are the top 5 concerns of men vs. women in midlife? While this seems like an excellent question for an in-depth MEA workshop, here’s my quick and unstudied answer.
- A loss of virility.
- Career or financial disappointment.
- Growing irrelevance; for white straight men, possibly the first time dealing with an “ism” (ageism).
- Feeling lonely and not knowing what to do about it.
- A lack of purpose, especially if you chose early retirement.
- Perimenopausal symptoms that are much more noticeable than mens’ andropause.
- The tyranny of conventional beauty, a.k.a. “Just when I get comfortable in my own skin, it starts to sag.”
- Becoming invisible romantically while discovering: “the dating odds are against me.”
- Financial challenges of unequal salaries (compared to men), dwindling savings, and outdated divorce laws (in some states).
- Endless caregiving of parents, kids, and other relatives and friends.
Because I wrote these fast and off the cuff, I’m sure they’re far from perfect. What say you?