And you may find yourself In a beautiful house,
with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself,
"Well, how did I get here?"

—Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"

The phrase "midlife crisis" conjures up an instant set of images for most people.

You probably imagine a paunchy, middle-age guy driving a shiny new convertible, a too-young lady at his side, his newly sprouted baby hair plugs blowing in the wind as he secretly mourns his lost youth. While there may be some real-world truths in this scenario, there are more nuanced and complex ideas to consider when it comes to the changes middle age can bring.

Let's take a look at some of the challenges men and their partners face in midlife—whether they constitute a crisis or not—and some strategies for coping with them.

The history of the midlife crisis

While the phrase might be such a part of the social consciousness that it seems like it's always been around, "midlife crisis" was actually coined in 1965 by psychoanalyst Elliot Jacques.

Jacques described the midlife crisis as a dawning recognition of one's mortality, suggesting that the chore of maturing was to move beyond the idealism of youth into