Note: This is the first of a two-part series.
Dear Neil: How can I determine if my boyfriend is going through a midlife crisis?
Disturbed in Longmont, Colorado
Dear Disturbed: Take this quiz, courtesy of Gay Courter and Pat Gaudette in the book How To Survive Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis (Perigee). How many of the following fits your man?
- He is between 40 and 60 years old
- He is on either side of his 40th or 50th birthday
- He is showing concerns about getting old
- He has bought a more youthful wardrobe
- He is coloring his hair or trying a trendier cut
- He reminisces about his teen years or “when he was younger”
- He listens to romantic songs from his dating years
- He talks about his “first love” and wonders “what if”
- He yearns for a sportier vehicle (or has bought one)
- He doesn’t find enjoyment in the usual leisure-time activities
- He wants to do something adventurously out of character like hang gliding or auto racing
- He’s bored with his life
- He questions the meaning of his life
- He is dissatisfied with his job or career
- He feels trapped by responsibilities or obligations to others
- He has financial problems
- He worries about the future
- He suddenly wants another child
- He is unhappy that the children are grown and on their own
- He has some major health problems
- He has experienced the recent death of a parent, close friend or other family member
- He is frequently nervous and/or irritable
- Uncharacteristically, he is frequently criticizing you or your relationship
- He is not interested in sex
- He feels inadequate
- He says he loves you but isn’t “in love with you”
- He is uncharacteristically abusive
- He is recently divorced
- He worries about everything to excess
- His sleeping habits have changed
- He drinks more or is doing more mood altering drugs
- He feels that life no longer has any purpose
- He is concerned about death and dying
- He rewrites what you considered a good relationship by stating “We were never happy”
- He wants what he can’t have and doesn’t want whatever he knows he can have
- He finds himself thinking “responsibility bad, spontaneity good”
Scoring: 0-7 indicates normal midlife emotions.
8-15 suggests more serious midlife issues.
16 or more indicates that a crisis is on the immediate horizon.
I will continue this discussion in next week’s column.