Crisis Point – When Does A Woman Go Through A Midlife Crisis?

Midlife crisis. When you hear these words, what do you think of? Probably a man marrying a woman half his age, a man buying a new toupee to cover up graying, thinning hair, or a man pulling into his home’s driveway in a brand new, apple red sports car or on a big, black Harley. What do all of these images have in common? They all involve men. But women go through midlife crises too, with their own set of complexities and problems.

The root of the female midlife crisis lies in three places. The first is the question, “Will the future give me happiness and fulfillment?” Thinking about the future can be a daunting experience. What should give one hope for getting that promotion, taking that trip, or watching children grow can give stress instead. Fulfillment can come in many forms, which can lead to stress when trying to decide what path to happiness to take.

The second root of the female midlife crisis is the fact that at some point, every woman faces their mortality. Eventually, everyone begins to wrinkle, their hair begins to gray, and things slide out of place. On men, this natural aging doesn’t hit home in quite the same way it does for women. While facing the limits of human existence is a universal experience, women deal with extra stress. Society tells women to stay twenty-five forever with no grays, no wrinkles, no signs of the years that they’ve lived through showing at all. That’s probably why women often change their appearance during a midlife crisis, but I’ll come back to that later.

The third reason women go through a midlife crisis is the clash between who the woman was in her youth and who she sees herself turning into as she ages. There are times when the person a woman is in her youth is similar to the person she grows into. For instance, I found that I grew into the adult version of myself easily, my interests and talents only solidifying and maturing over time. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Some woman begin their life as carefree and easy going, only to get stricter and more self-regulating as they age, and that’s not always a good thing. Many women become self-conscious as they age. It’s a sign of widespread self-consciousness that women over a certain age only reveal their age when they look younger than they are.

midlife

Every age faces the female midlife crisis differently (although at times it’s a quarter life crisis). At thirty, women tend to question their career paths. They look at where they’ve been and ask themselves where they would like to be going. Sometimes women have to choose between work and family, and this pressure can lead to a crisis.

At forty, questions about life’s purpose tend to take precedence as women begin to think about what they want to do with their lives and what goals they want to pursue. These are the years when woman think about which, if any, of their dreams they want to chase. In their fifties, women focus on legacy. They think about what sort of mark they’ll leave on the world and how they’ll be remembered. Each phase of crisis comes with its own problems and solutions, but they have in common the partial or complete overhaul of a woman’s life.

Even women in positions of success can have a midlife crisis. When identity is linked almost exclusively to recognition and success, even the top of the pile have days where they don’t get the praise necessary to stave off depression.

The best thing for a female life crisis is self-analysis. Women should ask themselves: “What am I proud of?” and “Do I like my work?” Figuring out what parts of her life she likes and which parts she wants to improve can bring a woman through crisis safely and help her better her life.

Successful women may seem to have nothing to question, but self-analysis can improve any woman’s personal outlook. And so, a midlife crisis becomes something more of midlife questioning.

That leads us to the result of the female midlife crisis. Often times, the crisis point leads to improvement. Women start eating healthier and exercising more. Even when something seemingly negative takes place, like a divorce, they bounce back, freeing themselves from a stale relationship and becoming fierce independent women.

But even if there isn’t a total overhaul of a woman’s life, she can still make certain changes to steady herself in the throes of change. Many women change up their hairstyle. Michelle Obama joked that cutting her bangs was the result of a midlife crisis. She may have been joking, but a nice set of bangs can make a woman look younger, and that can help her through her female midlife crisis period.

Read: 7 Clear Signs of Female Midlife Crisis

6 Benefits of A Woman’s Midlife Crisis

A midlife crisis is often associated with men at 50 going on 15, but hey, women also have their fair share of experiences with the life changing crisis. If men who want to be boys turn to expensive hobbies and exciting new (ahem, also expensive) toys, what does a woman undergo when she has the so-called female midlife crisis?

Let’s divide the changes happening to a woman into 2 parts. The first resembles the good things, and the second, well, the not-so good things.

Good things about a female midlife crisis:

1. One of the advantages of undergoing a female midlife crisis is when a woman puts emphasis on her health

She wants to be younger, and thus will note down what she eats and how much exercise she gets. She will basically want to become fit, and it’ll show in her lifestyle.

2. The reflection that comes with a female midlife crisis is also a good thing

During this period, a woman will want to be alone, not because she is depressed (well, maybe she is a little sad), but because she just wants to evaluate where her life is taking her.

What has she accomplished? What are the things that should still be done? These are the most common questions that reign her mind. If things become good, she will realize that she has done a lot, and there are a lot of good things ahead of her.

But then comes the sad part of a midlife crisis.

female midlife crisis3. Exaggeration

Sometimes, the desire to be healthy and be fit becomes overboard. Every single cough, and all the barely felt headaches will transform into chronic and severe diseases… in her head.

A woman going through a midlife crisis may feel the need to always consult her doctor and ask him or her (repeatedly) if she is well or not.

4. Being young, in all sense

When being healthy and being fit don’t satisfy her desires, she becomes young at heart, and her love life. Yes. She may start looking for a younger man as her lover. And if she is married, she may start having an affair.

Her family may notice that she goes out to buy provocative clothing, and she frequently parties at night. And mind you, she may not have been techie before, but she may start having social media accounts and never leaving her mobile phone away from her.

5. Desperation and depression

Believe it or not, some women who are suffering from a midlife crisis develop the urge to pack and just leave everything behind them. This happens when a woman suffers from an extreme identity crisis. At some point during her reflection, she realizes that she isn’t living the life that she wants. That all throughout the years she spent– it simply wasn’t her, thus, the wanting to move as far away as possible.

The depression brought about by a midlife crisis should also not be ignored. Sometimes, it’s too severe that the woman will be lethargic– there’s no more purpose, no need to work, no need to go out. At this point, professional help is needed, and loved ones’ support must be full force.

6. Comparison

Sometimes, a midlife crisis makes a woman vicious and bitter. She won’t take kindly to the success of others and will often bad mouth them openly or privately. But the truth is that she is just jealous. Perhaps, once in her life, she had wanted the same success, but she never got it.

A midlife crisis can happen to both men and women, so keep these signs in mind, especially if you’re reaching the middle of your life. Read: Difference Between Men and Women In Midlife Crisis

5 Tips on How to Prevent a Female Midlife Crisis

Nobody can tell exactly what will happen in the future, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot come prepared. A female midlife crisis may be an unpredictable situation, but a lot of studies pose that it can be prevented. Before reading on, you must understand that these preventive measures, even though they sound so drastic and over the top, are the best courses of action, not just to avoid the crisis, but they will also make you live a more fulfilling life.

Since each person is unique, differences are inevitable; thus, it won’t be surprising if some of the steps here are not applicable. A lot of factors should be taken into consideration, such as disposition, notion of success, and emotional desires.

Tips on how to prevent a female midlife crisis:

1. Think, think, and think

Before making choices, be sure that you really, really want them. The main reason why a midlife crisis commences is because of the decisions made that are not justified. Like the famous saying, you should always look before you leap.

2. Mistakes are not absolute

Before a woman reaches her 40th birthday, she will make a lot of decisions — some of them are great, while some are better than others. If you happen to make the wrong ones, don’t waste your energy regretting them and blaming yourself. The best course of action is to make the best of what you have. If the effects of wrong decisions can be reversed, reverse it now.

If you don’t really love your current job, why not rethink your career options? Women who suffer the crisis often state that they regret choosing their current career. Don’t make that mistake. If you still have the chance to change your career, do it now.

Relationships matter—a lot. Are you with the one? Is the one you’re with right now making you feel confident? Are you happy? Are you comfortable? If you answered negatively to these questions, perhaps he isn’t Mr. Right.

female midlife crisis3. Give it your all

If you’re so sure and so confident of your decisions, you’ve to give it your all. If you’ve desired one thing and were able to obtain it, do your best to keep it. Oftentimes, a midlife crisis is aggravated when there are regrets that manifest when you say, “If only I did this…” or “I should have…”

4. Help others

Helping others will make you appreciate life more. It will also make you feel productive and fulfilled. By the time that you reach your 40th birthday, you’ll be able to look back on the positive things. You have acquainted yourself with people whom you’ve helped, or with people who helped others with you. A midlife crisis can be prevented if you’ve a lot of appreciation in your pocket.

5. Cherish the treasures of life

Success is subjective. You may think now that success entails having a lot of money and expensive things, you’ve to rethink it. Condition your mind about the concept of success. You have true friends, you’ve a loving family, you love your job, you’re able to buy simple things that you need—what can be more successful than that? The earlier you start with this disposition, the farther away a midlife crisis is from happening.

Positivity is another aspect of preventing the crisis. Wake up with a smile, take notice of the things that come out of your mouth, apologize immediately for mistakes committed, and say thank you for even the littlest of things. Do all this and you can live a future life without the vexing female midlife crisis.

Already experiencing sure symptoms of midlife madness? Read: How To Deal With A Midlife Crisis

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Ava Moore
BA, MA Psychology (and Conflict Resolution), University of Cambridge (2007). With a decade of trial and error in psychology and 33 years of navigating my own complex (that's one word for it!) relationships with family, friends, co-workers and men, I hope I have some useful knowledge and skills to share with my readers about making sense of relationships and trying to become a better person every day.

I'm the Chief Editor here at Independent Femme and would love to hear from you.

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