15 Subtle Signs of Midlife Struggles in Men


As men reach middle age, they often try to recapture their youthful vigor, a process termed a “midlife crisis.” Understanding these common behaviors can help loved ones provide empathy and support during this challenging transitional period. So, here are 15 telltale signs that your male friend or family member is struggling with this reality. 

He’s Embracing a More Youthful Style

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It may seem out of character but don’t be surprised if your husband or friend experiments with more youthful or rebellious looks, like growing a mustache or long hair or dressing in a retro style. This reveals his desire to reconnect with the free-spirited style of his younger years as he grapples with getting older.

He Purchased a Sports Car


A classic midlife crisis move is the frivolous sports car purchase. While an impractical splurge, this could be a man’s way of holding onto a sense of youth and manliness. He may be overcompensating, but it’s often a harmless way to feed his need for excitement.

He’s Idolizing Youth Culture & Desiring Relevance


Men experiencing a midlife crisis may try to bond with younger people or obsess over youth trends and aesthetics. These excesses mask an internal fear of becoming obsolete. As he ages out of his coveted demographic, he might fear becoming the “uncool old guy” or losing touch with current trends.

He’s Prioritizing an Intense Exercise Regimen 


Getting fit and healthy in midlife is excellent. But be observant if an older male relative starts developing an obsessive, never-ending drive to achieve a sculpted physique. It could indicate he’s using fitness as an outlet to prove his desirability. 

He Starts an Affair


One of the most painful and disruptive behaviors associated with male midlife crises is infidelity. An affair can represent an older man’s misguided attempt to reignite his missing passion. While incredibly damaging to the relationship, the unfaithfulness often stems from a selfish obsession with recapturing long-gone novelty and the desire he associates with youth.  

He’s Picking Up Old Hobbies and Habits 


From skateboarding and video games to frivolous risk-taking, don’t be surprised if your husband returns to youthful pastimes you thought he outgrew long ago. It’s his way of reminiscing and denying his advancing age.

His Drinking Habits Are More Immature  

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Sometimes, a typically reserved husband, father, or brother starts binge drinking with the reckless abandon of a younger man. This could indicate he’s revisiting the irresponsible party days of his youth as a way to feel alive and free again. Therapy and a loving intervention are needed at this point.

He’s Seeking External Validation


Whether it’s overt flirting with younger people or constantly bragging about accomplishments, this thirsty behavior hints at desperation. He’s seeking external proof and validation that he’s still desirable, exciting, and capable.  

He Has Symptoms of Depression


While many of these behaviors seem to indicate typical midlife anxiety, pay close attention if it appears he may be struggling with clinical depression or some other mental health issue that requires support. Erratic conduct can sometimes signify deep unhappiness or alienation that must be addressed compassionately.

He Wants More Spontaneous Adventures


While scheduling was never an issue, a man battling a midlife crisis may start demanding more spontaneous adventures, unplanned experiences, and carefree antics. This whimsical, devil-may-care attitude can seem at odds with his usual personality. Still, it’s aligned with his desire to feel a sense of freedom, exploration, and living life to its fullest before it’s too late.

He’s Making Dramatic Career Switches

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Quitting his stable corporate job to chase an entrepreneurial pipe dream or shifting fields from a career he once loved is often a sign. A dramatic switch of this kind represents his urgency to pursue passion projects and callings previously left unfulfilled before regretfully set in.

He Has a New Aura of Cynicism and Pessimism 


Another warning sign of a midlife crisis is a newly developed pessimistic attitude toward aspects of life he used to appreciate. Such cynical perspectives emerge as he actively questions his values and beliefs and whether he lives meaningfully. This philosophical restlessness is pervasive in midlife.

He’s Becoming Unreliable and Distracted


You may notice he needs to be more mindful about chores or responsibilities. He suddenly gets distracted during essential conversations and needs help with time management in ways that were never an issue. This pattern suggests his mind is elsewhere, potentially grappling with midlife doubts and questions.

He’s Bored With His Predictable Routine


If a once content man starts expressing restlessness and boredom with the predictable cadence of day-to-day life, it could be due to a midlife crisis. The job, hobbies, and routines that once brought him satisfaction and stability now feel dull and unfulfilling. He looks at the regiment of his life with caged frustration.

He’s Scared of Aging


A man experiencing a midlife crisis often harbors an intense fear of aging. He becomes fixated on physical appearance, obsessing over wrinkles and gray hair. He may resort to anti-aging products or cosmetic procedures. This fear stems from concerns about losing attractiveness, and competing with younger individuals.


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