How Is Midlife Crisis Different For Women?
Midlife crisis is something that gets associated with men. It almost seems to be regarded with amusement as people picture men going out to purchase expensive cars or try to find younger girlfriends. Genders roles are changing though, and midlife crisis happens to women too. Maybe it always has, but women may have been better at hiding it.
Wall Street Journal family columnist Sue Shellenbarger has written extensively about this period that seems to happen in the late 40′s or early 50′s. She found that her newspaper touched such a nerve with her audience, that she went on to interview a variety of different women and share their stories in her book, The Breaking Point, about the female midlife crisis.
- By age 50, 36.1% of women report a turbulent time of crisis and transition.
- Only 34% of men report the same thing.
- This means that about 15 million American women could be facing their crisis soon or are already facing it.
Women’s Midlife Crisis Can Be Positive
This time might be traumatic, but it may actually end up positive for women. During child rearing years, women tend to put their own fulfillment on hold to satisfy the needs of their families. After the crisis years, women also tend to rebound in a position where they are fulfilling themselves again.
According to MacArthur Foundation data, thirty-six percent of women between age 50 and 84 report having fulfilled a long-held dream during the last 5 years. This shows a positive response to women’s midlife crisis.
How Are Men’s And Women’s Midlife Crisis Different?
As women tend to be more centered around their families, their midlife crisis tends to begin with some family issue. It could be a divorce, the death of parents, or issues with grown and growing kids. Work and career issues tend to generate the crisis in men.
On another positive midlife crisis note for women, females are more likely to be open about their problem. They will tell their friends and close family members, and they may even see counseling or therapy.
How To Turn Your Female Midlife Crisis Into Positive Changes
Marcia Reynolds, PH.D. has some tips to help women make positive changes during a midlife crisis. She says the primary thing is to own your feelings and not allow others that you have no right to be unhappy. This is the time to make tentative plans for the rest of your life, and not to simply repress your feelings.
It might be a good idea to seek professional help if you find yourself breaking down. Sometimes it takes and objective professional to help you find yourself, if you feel that you have gotten lost. Your friends and family mean well, but you are probably in no mood to listen to them anyway.