If in the 1940s women were expected to stay at home, cook meals, and tend to the children, the 1950s brought an enlightening approach. Women stood by their right to do as what men do — have a formal education, have a profession, engage in a business, and then, if well-deserved, enter politics.
While this change delivered a lot of positive things, these women did not have enough time to internalize the changes, there wasn’t enough time to process the fears, and there certainly wasn’t enough time to grow slowly. Everything has to be fast.
The result? Female midlife crisis.
Female Midlife Crisis Defined (Or Really, Just Midlife Crisis)
But before going into the in-depth discussion of a midlife crisis in men and that of a woman, let us first define what a midlife crisis is.
A midlife crisis is a term used to discuss an identity crisis happening at the junction (no longer young, and already on the way of becoming old) of a person’s life. Whether it’s a female midlife crisis, or it happens in men, there are certain causes to the problem. Let’s discuss them one by one.
- Not being able to fulfill one’s dreams – One of the most common causes of a midlife crisis, female or otherwise, is unmet goals. If a person lives 40 years of her life following her dreams, the chances of encountering a midlife crisis are low. Why? It’s because she has no regrets and is basically happy where she stands.
- Always taking care of others – If the man became a father early on, he will be dedicated to taking care of his family and not fulfilling his dreams. When the kids are grown up, that is the only time he can afford the time and money to splurge on his unachieved goals.
So, What Are the Differences?
A female midlife crisis is characterized by finding the time to finally do the things that the woman wasn’t able to do before. So, she does the following:
- Wears new clothes that are somewhat daring and provocative. And don’t forget the sudden change in makeup tastes! They also become bolder and heavier.
- Starts dating, especially if she is single. And take note of the man she is with—he is younger!
- Takes partying to a new level. A midlife crisis causes a woman to go out with friends and party all night. And because of this, she will also start minding her looks (Is she sexy? Is her makeup fine?).
Men, on the other hand, experience a midlife crisis because they think that they are losing time.
- Men become paranoid about their health. They think that a sneeze there and a cough there’s pneumonia! Seriously, they are always at the doctor’s office for a consultation!
- Men’s toys become expensive. Yes. They want a new car, and not just any car, but the car to end all cars! He wants the newest gadgets, and the newest shoes. Remember, he is catching up on lost opportunities!
- And just like with the female midlife crisis, men also become so conscious about their looks, so yes, they also have their fair share of makeovers.
Whether it’s a female midlife crisis, or it’s the man suffering from it, what’s important to know is support from friends and family is needed during this time.
The “Manly” And The “Girly” Midlife CrisisMen and women can’t help it—they want to be against each other. Most of the time, it’s fun, but sometimes, it also gets serious. The topic of this article isn’t meant to side with girls in the usual love your own fashion (I’m a girl, that’s why); it’s more about understanding the difference between a man and a woman during a serious phase of their life: the midlife crisis. So, as a heads up, it’s not “girls vs. boys” this time—what we have is an educational discussion.
For a smoother flow, we will divide the differences using aspects- here it goes:
- Men enter the crisis because they feel like time is passing by so fast. He wakes up one day and realizes that he is, indeed, getting old. When this hits his mind, he will think of doing everything that he can for whatever time that is left for him.
- A female midlife crisis occurs differently. Women will wake up not to the knowledge that there’s no more time;she will wake up to the realization that she finally has the time to do the things she wasn’t able to do because a) she had to take care of her family, or b) she needed to be very successful in her career.
- Men, since they are feeling vulnerable due to their age, will feel a lot of fear. Included in these fears are the changes in physical appearance (especially if said man is really conscious about it even when he was young), fear of being ill, and fear of dying. This is very different from what a female midlife crisis entails.
- Women, on the other hand, feel very hopeful. She knows that she has already worked hard, she sees her kids getting the lives of their own, her intimate relationship has flourished—what else is there to do? Nothing except for finally having time for herself. As you can see, a female midlife crisis tends to center on hope.
Hormones Involved (Yes, Seriously)
- Men don’t have anything to do with this aspect; this round completely goes to women (although it really is an advantage for men).
- Experts say that the female midlife crisis may commence after the woman experiences menopause. It isn’t just because of finality in age and physiological capability—it is also about hormones playing with emotions. When a woman reaches menopause, her hormones will be altered, and they may cause mood swings and depression. Thus, some cases of female midlife crises can be attributed to hormones.
Now let’s talk about the similarities. Men and women suffering a midlife crisis generally undergo the same stages.
- Shock – for a man because he’s really getting old. Shock for a woman because her body will experience changes both due to hormones and aging.
- Denial – A man doesn’t want to grow old yet; he has a lot of life in him and he doesn’t want to concede that half of his life is over. Females, on the other hand,focus on denying that there’s nothing to do anymore (kids have grown up, career is successful, etc.)
- Depression –It doesn’t always happen, but if it does, it’s usually only mild to moderate.
- Anger – Both men and women may experience this. The extent, however, will depend on various factors, such as support from friends and family, regrets, and aspirations that are not yet achieved. A female midlife crisis can force a woman to go all out in things (buying expensive things, partying, etc.); it’s the same for men.
- Acceptance – And finally, when all is said and done, acceptance becomes a beautiful finality in the midlife crisis.
Knowing all these, we can conclude that once acceptance is reached, both men and women are the winners.
The Face of Female Midlife Crisis
How female midlife crises came to be exactly is still unknown; experts, however, say that it came from unexpected changes– both wanted and unwanted.
A very good example is the transition of women’s roles decades ago. You can still vividly remember how women before were expected to just stay home and take care of the children and chores. And then all of a sudden, some people demanded change– that women can also do what men can – that they are intelligent, and they are capable of being in a career or profession.
In the middle of it all, those women were forced to reevaluate what they should be doing, and they needed to reevaluate fast. Hence, some things were overlooked, such as their feelings about the change.
Psychologists explain that a female midlife crisis may happen if the time comes when the women realize that there were things on their bucket list that they were not able to accomplish. In other words, things they wanted to do before, but for some reason, they were not able to.
What Happens When You Have a Female Midlife Crisis?
The next question to ask is what will happen should one person become subjected to the said condition. Well, for one thing, it varies– depending on the extent of disappointment, as well as the support system. But there are definitive signs of a midlife crisis. Let us discuss them one by one.
Deciding Things Once And For All
A female midlife crisis forces a woman to make not-so-sound decisions. For example, she really wanted to become a designer, but she got stuck with being a seamstress for so many years because this was the job that gave her (and possibly her family) the needed stability. What she will do now is quit her job without much thought and proceed in her new career as a designer.
She Suddenly Wants To Be Young Again
In connection to missed opportunities, a woman experiencing a midlife crisis will have the tendency to want to become younger– in every sense of the word. That is, she will try to wear youthful, and often times, sexier and more daring clothes, will change her makeup style, and will have a schedule of a teenage girl. This is especially true if the said woman has missed opportunities when it comes to love. And lastly, don’t be surprised if she dates younger men.
She’s Always Looking Back
Perhaps this is the first and the most enduring sign of a midlife crisis. The woman will often feel the urge to look into the past and evaluate the things that happened in her life. Even when she’s already making changes to compensate with the missed opportunities, it’ll still feel like she’s regretting a lot of things.
This isn’t uncommon, since whatever they do in the future, the past is already done. And they know it deep down, hence the remaining disappointment.
These three are the most common and most obvious signs of a female midlife crisis. No one can tell exactly how long a woman shall experience them, and the severity of damage (especially women who will suffer from depression) will remain to be a mystery. But one thing is certain: support from friends and family should ALWAYS be present.Lastly, I'm starting to tell other women about a health newsletter that I've benefited immensely from and that I highly recommend. I think you might like it, too. If you want, you can sign up here. It's completely free!
Before you go, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below. I'm working hard to build a community here and a big part of that are your contributions! If you have experiences to share, questions, comments, suggestions, or anything else, please leave us a quick comment. I promise to reply!