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Older man dumps his wife because he's discovered love with a much younger woman; they ride off in his new convertible. Older woman cries constantly, throws things, has a nervous breakdown and an unclean house as she contemplates his betrayal and her loneliness. Generalized and sometimes glib, depictions of midlife crises sell movie tickets and earn Oscars. While there is continuous debate among health professionals about whether the midlife crisis is a real phenomenon, one thing is certain: the transitions that trigger this behavior are not easily condensed.

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1. Midlife Crisis Definition

The term "midlife crisis" was coined by Canadian psychoanalyst and social scientist Elliott Jacques. Midlife is defined as between the ages of 30 and 70, but the focus of Jacques' research refines the range to between 40 and 60. During this time, people experience many transitions that call lifestyle choices into question, including work, relationships, and finances. Sometimes, factors can combine to result in crisis.

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