When I came up with the name of this blog, Man-o-pause, I wanted to convey levity to the change of life for men. Unlike the female menopause, which has been researched, dissected and discussed for years, men rarely seek help when a midlife crisis strikes.
The fact is the male mid-life is no laughing matter. The midlife anger that often erupts for men can and does destroy family relationships, self esteem, and physical health.
Jed Diamond, a pioneer in the emerging field of male gender medicine, addresses a woman's concern in helping a spouse through his midlife crisis. He details the latest research findings on male menopause symptoms and on this crucial change of life for men.* For example,
* 52% of men between 40 and 70 in the U.S. are now going through male menopause. * Men experience complex hormonal rhythyms that affect their mood, their physical well-being and their sexuality. * Emotional symptoms include irritability, worry, indecisiveness and depression. * Physical symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, short-term memory loss and sleep disturbance. * Sexual symptoms include reduced libido, fear of sexual failure and an increased desire to "prove" he can still perform by seeking a younger partner.
Finally, male menopause is like adolescent puberty where a man faces issues of identity, sexuality, dependence and independence for the second time.
What makes this so difficult for the family, and spouse in particular, is that because the symptoms of male menopause often come on suddenly, the reaction is often one of judgement and recrimination.
I remember preparing for my son's eventual passage through adolescence when he was only a toddler. I had read that adolescence was very similar to the Terrible Twos. I thought that if I gave myself a 10-year head start, I'd be better prepared for the inevitable adolescent angst, and I was.
To my female readers, I recommend preparing for your husband's midlife as he approaches 40. I speak from experience. You'll need time to work through your own levels of acceptance, similar to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross's " Five Stages of Grief," because this phase often represents a "loss" of the man you once knew.
Change is never easy, but awareness is the first step toward acceptance and your man in this stage of life needs all the love, patience and mid-life support you can offer.
Ending on a lighter note, I just discovered a multi-search site at Webmonkey called Addict-o-matic™- inhale the web. I gathered all the news, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, top blogs and twitters, Diggs and Wikios found across the Web all about male menopause.