Although many male adults claim or poke fun at the idea that they are in 'midlife crisis', the concept of the midlife crisis being a stage in life experienced by most adults has been rejected by academic researchers since the 1980s. However, this state may still be experienced during midlife (between 40 - 60 years) and may cause to reevaluate and to make considerable changes to one's physical appearance, marriage or romantic relationships, lifestyles, and expenditures, to name a few.
Why do people suffer from a midlife-crisis? Is it real or are they just trying to justify selfish motivations?
I think mid-life crisis is real in the sense that it creates a deep and intense realization of what we have achieved and what else remains to be done in the 40 odd years that we have existed in this world. Sometimes it can create a sense of urgency to do more works a lot quicker, or at other times it may cause a sense of depression. However, no matter how intense our feeling of mid-life crisis is, it does not justify hurting our spouses by cheating on them and being dis-loyal to them.
My ex-husband claimed at one point that he was suffering a midlife crisis and started travelling and engaging in many athletic activities including sky diving. However, I also found out that during the travel and activities, he was sharing these with another woman 12 years younger than him. So, it's very confusing to really know if midlife crisis is real in this situation, or purely self motivated. I think the person himself is the one to recognize the condition he is in. After all, there is no pharmaceutical treatment for midlife crisis, but there is psychotherapy treatment that is available to help men and women cope up with reality of maturity. Here's a site I recently found out that maybe of interest: http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-midlife-crisis.html
I think it is real, however, I don't think it's an excuse. So you may have those feelings, you work on your appearance or you buy the snazzy car or whatever. Do you actually run off with someone? That's just thinking of your self and not the consequences.
My midlife crises started with a strong sense of depression at the thought that I would never in my life see the heads on Easter island. I have since then, thought carefully about where we travel to, as everything comes at the cost of not seeing something else.