We've all heard the term midlife crisis in relation to men. That men reach a stage somewhere in their 40's or 50's where they go off the charts and buy a Ferrari or run off with a younger woman. But what is really happening to them?
As women we go through tremendous changes over our lives and we shed old parts of ourselves and remerge many times. We have at the very core of us this deep emotional drive which exists also in men but past generations haven't really allowed this expression.
To understand their expression of this stage we must first understand that men are driven to be providers and problem solvers. They are more dominantly in their masculine which is the go go go, the speed, organising and building. Both men and women have both masculine and feminine drives within us. The feminine is the deep, the emotional, slowness and being present. When men hit their transformation stage they can easily feel stuck in the feminine of the depths which is terrifying for them as it feels unfamiliar. It also makes them lose their sense of providing. Team this with any other big life events such a redundancy and you have a cocktail for the biggest identity crisis he has likely hit.
A man enters what some call a tunnel like time where all of his sense of self is stripped bare and he feels stuck in the darkness. The trickiest part is due to his masculine drive to solve his own problems he will want and need to exit this himself. To feel reliant on another will feel incredibly emasculating and deplete his power. So how do we help the men in our lives without them feeling disempowered?
There are a few key tips. Firstly definitely do not try to change him. He is already feeling lost with who he is and likely feeling unworthy or that he has little to no purpose so any effort to change or "improve" him will cement his feelings even more. When we try to change or mould someone we are subliminally sending the message that they are not enough as they are. When he says "I don't know" it will literally mean just that. He has no idea how or why he is feeling the way he does only that he wishes it would go.
Secondly witness him. Validate how he feels. Listen without trying to fix. We often listen to respond without even realising it. Simply listen to hear. You'll be surprised how powerful it is to simply feel heard and understood. We often come up with our own solutions when we feel heard, validated and understood. It can feel like a veil is lifted.
The third thing is to remind him how wonderful he is. How fulfilled you life is with him and how important he is. Often we feel frustrated when our partners are stuck in a time of moodiness and negativity and we can try to push them out which actually reinforces the very thoughts that are keeping them there. So love him up. This can be hard when you're feeling separate but this is the way out. Through love.
Most men need to feel intimate to feel loved and most women want to feel loved to feel intimate. You can see where this can go wrong! We can end up in intimacy
lock down and then both partners become resentful. Start small. Massages are a great way to communicate love and touch without feeling it has to be sexual. It will also help him to open up if his main love language is touch. I highly recommend checking out Gary Chapmans work on "the five love languages". It is really to know each others way of receiving and giving love as we often expect it in the same form we give it in.
Last of all know that the greater your love and support for him the greater the chance he comes out of this challenging time. And not only that the more he will feel empowered to be the very man you need him to be. After all we all go through these terribly dark times and struggle to come out.