No Crisis: Just Middle-Aged Men Behaving Badly

The midlife crisis is often little more than an easy way for men of a certain age to explain away selfish behavior, argues an essay in this morning’s New York Times.

” ‘I’m having a midlife crisis’ sounds a lot better than ‘I’m a narcissistic jerk having a meltdown,’” writes Richard A. Friedman a professor of psychiatry at Cornell.

He cites cases from his practice where middle-aged men bored with family life raise the flag of midlife crisis as a way to shirk their familial duty and cheat on their wives. “Why do we have to label a common reaction of the male species to one of life’s challenges ? the boredom of the routine ? as a crisis?” Friedman asks.

But all hope is not lost. Friedman cites a large survey, conducted by the MacArthur Foundation, that found that while 23% of people reported having a midlife crisis, “most people also reported an increased sense of well-being and contentment in middle age.”

Photo by NAFaz via Flickr

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