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17 Signs of Midlife Crisis in Women That May Surprise You

The signs of a midlife crisis in women are not as obvious as those for men. Driving convertibles and having affairs are not the usual outcomes.

signs of midlife crisis in women

If a man, starting to go grey, buys a red sports car or starts sleeping with his twenty-something secretary, it can be a major alert that he is having a midlife crisis. But the signs of midlife crisis in women are more subtle. 

Women have a lot of responsibilities and are often judged for their choices, no matter what they are. So, when that time comes, a woman will not respond in such a blunt manner. [Read: Biggest signs of a midlife crisis in men]

A midlife crisis in women isn’t as well-known or discussed as men because women are used to hiding these things. If they are going through this change, they will continue on with minor changes to their routine. They won’t do anything shocking like growing unattractive facial hair.

The difference between middle-aged men and women

Often men are looking to make a change. And usually regarding their masculinity or financial success.

Men look at themselves. They want to have control over a change that they essentially don’t have control over. And they are concerned with what they think of themselves.

Women, however, already don’t have control over how others see them. This is another way a midlife crisis in women is not the same.

Women have been judged for their appearances for decades. Since junior high, they were judged for not having boobs or having boobs that are too big. Now they are judged for not aging gracefully enough. This pressure comes with being a woman, and when you become a woman of a certain age, that pivots. [Read: How to feel more confident in yourself]

Women usually get validation from their relationships. Whether as a wife, mother, or even a friend, women see their worth in a different way than men do.

A woman will look back on her life and think about what she has accomplished personally or maybe professionally. She will wonder if where she is right now is as far as she will ever go.

When a man goes through a midlife crisis he tends to act before thinking. Women, on the other hand, tend to overanalyze.

For example, women make their decisions after a lot of overthinking. So, women will not go and spend a lot of money on a sports car. They will instead, spend time researching changes they can make. She will take time to really ponder her life instead of acting on her initial feelings. [Read: How to relax and stop overthinking once and for all]

A woman asks herself deep questions like is this all there is? Is this all I have? And thiis can cause a woman to recede into herself and become withdrawn.

But just as with men, women also show erratic behavior uncharacteristic of her norm. So answering these life-altering questions can be seen in all sorts of ways.

Signs of midlife crisis in women

When women have a midlife crisis, it is often shrugged off as “the change” or menopause. According to society, women have to have a physical reason for their altering behavior. But, that isn’t usually the case.

Just like men, women have stress and worry, but when it gets halfway through life, women react differently. [Read: Understand the difference between men and women]

Everything from having irrational emotional moments to spending more time on herself can be signs of a midlife crisis in women.

1. Insecurity

Whether she has always been self-conscious or not, she may begin to worry more about her appearance. Or a deeper interest in beauty or a new unlikely fear of aging could signal a midlife crisis.

Women already have so much scrutiny over their looks. When they hit that stage in life it can become overwhelming. If you let gray hairs show you don’t care, but if you dye your hair you’re vain. If you get Botox you’re trying too hard, but if you don’t you look old and wrinkled. [Read: 20 signs of insecurity to look out for]

This pressure has always been there but when middle-age comes, it can become debilitating. If a woman who has always been quite confident begins to worry about grays or even considers plastic surgery this could mean a midlife crisis.

2. Emptiness

Around the time many women hit their midlife, their kids, if they have them, are grown or out of the house. This could be the first time in nearly two decades that she is no longer a caretaker. Even divorce can trigger this.

Whether she is dealing with the adjustment of becoming an empty nester or not, she may question what her purpose is now. She may look into new hobbies or jobs. She may begin to volunteer or start a project.

When a woman who has had a routine most of her life is yanked away from what she is accustomed to, she will try to find a way to remain useful. [Read: How to cope with the empty nest syndrome]

3. Socializing

As previously stated, this might be the first time she has had free time and a lessened sense of responsibility. Not only is she adjusting to new freedom, but she may take that time to go out and enjoy herself.

Whether that means going to the movies or out on the town with gals, she wants to make the most of some of the things she may not have been able to do.

She may join a club or take classes. She wants to fill her time. Because women who suddenly have free time aren’t used to it, they will try to fill it with as much as possible. [Read: 19 ways to be more social and connect]

A newer sign of a midlife crisis in women would be using social media to reach out to old friends.

4. Changing behavior

When a woman goes through a midlife crisis she may finally feel a sense of freedom. Although she loved the last twenty or so years, she has paid her dues and deserves a break.

So whether she decides to stop cooking a full dinner every night but rather orders out or even dresses with a new style, she may just be giving herself the life she has been away from for many years. This can be seen in major and minor ways.

She may start taking better care of herself through exercise or her diet. Or, if she has always been perfectly styled she may start to relax and be comfortable. Any break from her norm could be a sign of a midlife crisis in women.

5. Dreaming

Women tend to put their careers and dreams on hold to focus on their family. And if this is the case, she may finally have the confidence and time to fulfill those aspirations. And even if she doesn’t, this midlife crisis could push her to make time for herself.

Perhaos she wants to go back to college and get her degree, start painting, or travel the world. If she didn’t get a chance to do these things when she was younger, now is her chance and she is taking advantage of that.

Even if you never knew she had a dream to teach dance or visit Paris, she is finally able to let her dreams out from the box she’s kept them in. [Read: How to follow your dreams and feel proud of yourself]

6. Dating

And good for her. Whether she is divorced or has been single for a long time, dating is refreshing. And if she is dating younger men she wants something new. There is nothing wrong with dating a younger man, but if this is a change for her, it could be a sign she is going through a midlife crisis.

Although some studies say women are not interested in intimacy during this time, women in their 40s and 50s tend to just be coming into their sexual peak. Whether she spent most of her life with one man and wants to experiment or just has a ton of energy, this could be a clear sign of a midlife crisis.

But as long as she is being safe, more power to her. Men have been dating younger women for centuries. It’s a lady’s turn. [Read: The 10 reasons May-December relationships are good for you]

7. Big changes

Whether she has finally decided to leave her husband, quit her job, or even move, a midlife crisis is a push to alter something in your life. Once a midlife crisis arrives, it causes a constant nagging feeling that something is missing.

Just because these decisions may be signs of a midlife crisis in women it doesn’t mean they are any less valid or important. Sure, a forty-something man sleeping with his assistant seems futile. But, when a forty-something woman takes charge of her life it means something.

A big change like switching careers, moving to Tuscany, or even taking skydiving lessons doesn’t mean she’s lost her mind, but it can be a sign her midlife crisis has hit. [Read: Learn how to adjust to change]

8. Intense emotions

Yes, this can signal menopause too, which often comes around the same time as a midlife crisis. How lucky for women, huh? Women are hit with bad timing and an imbalance of hormones all at once.

And one way that comes out is through mood swings. These signs of midlife crisis in women can be seen through irrational anger, random crying fits, or even boosts of energy, not to mention trouble sleeping, hot flashes, and more that would alter anyone’s mood. [Read: Why are women so emotional? According to science]

If you notice the woman in your life lashing out or becoming flustered or even irrational it could be a sign of a midlife crisis. Women always have fluctuating hormones, but at this time those highs and lows can be a lot more intense.

Experiencing all of these changes physically and emotionally at once is a lot for anyone to handle.

9. A lack of fulfillment

Even if nothing in her life has changed in a way you’ve noticed, she may suddenly feel unhappy. This feeling can lead to big changes like adopting a child, selling her house, or investing her money in a start-up. It can also manifest in smaller projects like a remodel, retail therapy, or volunteering.

When she has hit middle age and her life isn’t changing, it can feel like she needs to do something to feel like she has accomplished something.

Sometimes timing and big life changes can push a midlife crisis into the open, but other times they can come along all on their own. [Read: Find your confidence with these simple daily habit changes]

10. Denial

Aging is something we can all get quite sensitive about, some more so than others. But during, or even on the verge of, a midlife crisis women may get quite defensive about the fact that they are getting older.

Whether she dyes her hair or slaps on anti-aging makeup, admitting how old she is turning, celebrating her child’s graduation, or even becoming a grandmother can feel like a slap in the face. The last thing a woman going through this wants is her age being rubbed in her face. [Read: 15 steps to help you look and feel younger]

11. Nostalgia

Reminiscing on the glory days is a fun time for anyone, but trying to relive that time can be a sign of a midlife crisis in women. She may not dress up in her 80s outfits, but she will look back at old photos, home movies, and other things to try to feel what she felt back then.

To her, those days were exciting and there was so much unknown. Now, she is settled. No matter how happy she has been in her life, she may try to achieve that level of youthfulness.

She may try to get the old gang back together or live vicariously through her children. Or, she may even buy things on eBay that remind her of what she believes was her best years. [Read: Get help letting go of the past and move forward]

12. Inadequacy

Women are often comparing themselves to others at all ages, but during a midlife crisis those feelings can be overwhelming. She may spend time on social media wondering why other women her age look so good or have time to go on vacations.

She may even compare her children’s accomplishments to those of others. It is unfortunate, but feeling like others are happier than she is can be a sign of a midlife crisis in women. [Read: Finally, stop comparing yourself to others]

13. Regret

This can happen to anyone when they have hit a certain point in their life, but women in the midst of a midlife crisis can be overwhelmed with regret. They may feel like they made the wrong choices in life.

Although being able to make changes can be liberating, for some women they may feel trapped in regret. Instead of trying to branch out, they may become unhappy in their lives wishing they made other choices that are too late to change. [Read: Stop regretting your past and face reality]

14. Depression

Even a woman who has never struggled with a mental illness could be thrown into depression at this point. This isn’t normal sadness, but a lack of interest. If she is having trouble getting out of bed and doesn’t do the things she once enjoyed, she could be dealing with depression.

This, of course, is a much bigger deal than the other signs of a midlife crisis in women. So, it should be taken seriously. If you know a woman who is experiencing these symptoms offer her help. Seeing a licensed therapist can make a big difference for her. [Read: Let’s breakdown the stigma of mental illness]

15. Anxiety

No, anxiety and depression are not the same, although both can be majorly helped by seeing a mental health professional. All these others signs of a midlife crisis in women can manifest themselves in anxiety and even panic attacks.

Overwhelming stressors and changes can cause symptoms of anxiety, like sweating, shaking, hyperventilating, and more. These things can add to the already frustrating parts of a midlife crisis in women and should not be ignored. [Read: How to explain your anxiety to a loved one]

16. Fear

A midlife crisis is not all about one’s life, but also death. This is morbid, but knowing that you are closer to the end of life than the beginning of it can be terrifying. This can cause a lot of symptoms in women. Everything from excessive dieting and exercise to risking taking can be signs of a midlife crisis.

With death feeling closer, a woman might try to face that with extra vitamins or doctor’s appointments. But, on the other hand, she could also be inspired to take risks like skydiving to feel more alive.

17. Excitement

Although the term midlife crisis sounds pretty horrible it doesn’t have to be. It can just be midlife without the crisis. A woman can hit middle age and have a newfound excitement for life. She may realize how much she has to live for or how much she can do.

A midlife crisis in women can be a crisis of overwhelming joy, not just fear and stress.

[Read: Learn how to enjoy your life all the time]

These signs of midlife crisis in women do not need to be so dramatic or overwhelming. This is an entirely normal part of the aging process for women. It can be a liberating time instead of a limit on time.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...

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