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7 Stages of a Healthy Relationship
Stage 6: Midife Crisis or Seven Year Itch

When and how the mid happens varies as the midlife crisis is very individual, but it generally follows the child stage when the couple should be feeling a sense of fulfilment. The time varies as well from the mid thirties to early fifties. It can come as a sense of restlessness, depression or a general feeling of meaninglessness. When it comes unexpected and the person, not being prepared, goes with the flow, this can be very destructive.

Some people go into a state of self-destruct, breaking up with their partner, family, changing jobs, all in a vain attempt at becoming the person they think they should be, or find some fulfilment or meaning in their lives.

The infatuation stage was an immature silly phase, and this one can be as embarrassing. It can happen that one of the partners feels the need to run from the relationship with an inane statement like, “I need space,” and then run off and have an infatuation infused affair with someone young enough to be their child. As if that will give “space?”

The causes of midlife crisis are varied and individual, some of which are:

This is where immaturity, undeveloped by being stuck in some of the earlier relationship stages, becomes a destructive force. Many develop an unrealistic idea that change means “new” or that they have to start over where they were 20 or 30 years earlier with a new partner to prove to themselves that they are still attractive. What they are lacking is a maturity that a healthy relationship could have given them.

My own midlife crises hit me suddenly. When I was in my twenteens I considered as a worst case scenario being 45 years old with a wife, children, a house with a mortgage and finding myself in a career I do not enjoy and unable to get out of. One day I was on a business trip visiting a factory outside the city where I grew up and spent my years as a twenteen. I finished early and had a few hours to spare before I needed to head to the airport. So I went to a park near where I used to live. I sat on a bench in the winter sun looking at the swings, between where we kids had played marbles, at the field where we flew kites and a church hall where we had local discos. Then I thought back at how I was then, my thoughts and aspirations. The realisation that I created my worst case scenario hit me like a punch in my solar plexus.

It took four years and a lot of trauma, including changing employment, from the frying pan into the fire, before our family moved and started a new life. I have had three jobs since then and am now retired and starting a new career, which gives me more fulfilment than anything I have done before in my life. Our children are adults and have left the nest, and my wife and I now help underprivileged children. We can only help a few at a time, but building self-esteem in one child with a feeling of worthlessness, has a value that far exceeds helping a multinational chemical company increase profits.

We now lead a way of life with a low status, but high sense of fulfilment.

A midlife crisis is a normal part of the maturing process. It is not unusual to experience some form of emotional transition during this time of life. A healthy attitude to a midlife crisis is to take stock where you are in life and make sensible adjustments in your life.

A couple having successfully negotiated the previous five stages should be able to support each other in this emotional and confusing phase and come through this stage in their relationship smoothly without making major life changes. What awaits when this stage is over is the third honeymoon.

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