There’s something in the male psyche that makes normal, happy men do some very weird things around a certain birthday. So be careful when you light those candles, says Jonathan Thompson

Description: He’s 29? Run!

He’s 29? Run!

Tom and Sarah seemed happy. They’d bought a big house in the Kent countryside, a brace of smart cars and two kittens they doted on. They’d recently celebrated their six-year anniversary as a couple, and another milestone was approaching: Tom’s 30th – just two months away. Everything seemed settled, even idyllic. From Sarah’s point of view, the glass wasn’t just half full: it was brimming. And then, all of a sudden, Tom turned it – and everything else in their lives – completely upside down.

“The approach of 30 was a massive wake-up call,” says Tom, now 31. “Day-to-day it was fine. But I knew I couldn’t marry her. It got to the stage where for the sake of both of us having a chance to meet somebody else, I had to man up and end it.”

Tom’s abrupt change of heart – suddenly ending a long-term relationship on the eve of his 30th birthday – is far from an isolated tale. In terms of the social motorway that our twenties and thirties have become, there’s a genuine problem occurring in the other lane of Generation Y. And it’s happening at Junction 29.

Description: “A year around their 30th birthday, men are making key decisions that previously would have been made far earlier”

“A year around their 30th birthday, men are making key decisions that previously would have been made far earlier”

Let me explain. I’m a 33-year-old heterosexual man, but secretly I cling to Frank Lampard. For the past four or five years, I’ve thought about him pretty much every day: I believe my future happiness is inexorably linked to his. This is not out of any personal desire for the man – I don’t even support Chelsea. No, it’s because Frank Lampard is two months older than me, and as long as he’s still playing Premier League football, I can reassure myself that I’m not old. Women like Christine Bleakley might still give me a second glance.

And it’s not just me – many male friends have quietly assigned themselves ‘football lifeguards’. When David Beckham, now 37, finally leaves his watchtower, a lot of men will be floundering.

The problem, for Tom, me and thousands of other men, is we reach a point, just before we hit 30, when all of a sudden we’re mortal. Psychologists refer to this as a ‘personal disequilibrium’ or ‘transition period’. However you label it, we’re spending our twenties largely unburdened by responsibility, speeding happily along without considering our destination, then suddenly, the traffic around us starts to thin. A few wedding cars pop up in the slow lane. Our fuel tank isn’t as full as it used to be. We start to panic, and that’s when we see our escape route: Junction 29.

Academics believe this pre-30 male meltdown is a phenomenon unique to Generation Y – children of the 1980s.

“A year around their 30th birthday, men are making key decisions that previously would have been made far earlier,” says Dr Oliver Robinson, a psychologist at the University of Greenwich, who has researched the issue, which he attributes to ‘emerging adulthood’. “It has an important position in the male lifespan that it didn’t have two or three decades ago. Our fathers didn’t go through this turning point at 30: there’s no rulebook, which makes it even more difficult to deal with.”

The problem, it seems, is that while women are maturing in their mid-twenties, men are often going through this period of ‘emerging adulthood’. That phase, says Dr Robinson, typically comes to an end around age 28 or 29, when boys finally stumble, blinking, into the world of authentic manhood. It’s more common than you’d imagine: behavioural scientist Dr Donna Dawson estimates that as many as 75% of men between the ages of 25 and 35 are experiencing a bona fide crisis.

Description: Men look for things to change about their live

Men look for things to change about their live

“Biologically and legally these men are adults, but socially they’re not,” says Dr Robinson. “When they emerge at the end of their twenties, they can find themselves in a state of emotional uncertainly and person insecurity. Many describe a sense of being ‘trapped’ in a job, a relationship, or both.”

This is when the pressure of expectation hits. In fact, a recent gumtree.com survey found 86% of 1,100 young people questioned admitted “felling under pressure” to succeed in their relationships, finances and jobs before hitting 30. Fearful they haven’t made the right decisions or achieved enough yet, men look for things to change about their live. And when we start spiraling out of control, the automatic response is to reach for the ejector seat. We might be parachuting into the unknown, but it’s better – or, crucially, easier – than risking an enormous personal crash later.

Top search
- 6 Ways To Have a Natural Miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- Grape Is Pregnant Women’s Friend
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- Some Drinks Pregnant Women Should Say No With
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy
- Why Do Pregnant Women Have Stomachache When Eating?
- Top Foods That Pregnant Women Should Be Careful Of
- 6 Kinds Of Vegetable That Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
- "Has Online Dating Ruined Me?"
- The Truth About … Fats
- Nutrition Wise : Just say no to sugar, Upgrade your snack time
- Anxiety Your New Secret Weapon ?
- Bye Bye Boredom
- How To Get An Extra Day’s Holiday
- Sculpt Your Body Slim In Six Weeks
- Health Monitor : Snooze Or Sweat
- Grocery Grab - Say Cheese!
- Are Dogs Our Future
Top keywords
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Top 5
- 5 Ways to Support Your Baby Development
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain