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Peter, Paul and Marry, Marry, Quite Contrary

Posted Oct 20 2009 10:06pm

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S o, I’ve already mentioned before that men are rapidly becoming a large portion of my blog readership.  I’m finding this phenomenon fascinating and completely unexpected, truthfully.  But, nevertheless, I’m completely delighted they are coming here asking questions and participating in the conversation. 

Two very brave souls in particular have been Brian and Phil (see the conversation in the comments section).  Both of them have shown remarkable sensitivity towards their wives who are suffering with perimenopause – and consequently, so are Brian and Phil.  I have told them both it has taken me nearly 10 years of perimenopause before I was able to come out of the fog enough to see just how bad the collateral damage was in my own family – particularly with my husband.

I do not want to be redundant or continue to rehash the same old conversation until it becomes tedious; but, it seems to me that this unexpected male readership which is equaling and in some cases, exceeding my female readership, is something that shouldn’t be ignored. 

I am delighted that men are coming to this blog ( and The Magnolia Diaries ) looking for help.  It opens up a whole new dimension to the conversation that should be addressed.  I am gaining a perspective that, frankly, I simply lacked.  Not to mention, if other women can see the comments and involvement of men here, perhaps it might help them in their own marriage situation as well.  Because, let’s face it, gals, it IS affecting our marriages and family.

I have begun working on a piece for The Magnolia Diaries  on marriage relationships in mid-life and how it changes.  After Eileen’s post and interview with Suzanne Braun Levine and hearing the discussion on mid-life changes, particularly in the area of love and marriage, it inspired me to say something about it as well.  Certainly, menopause and perimenopause redefines not only our own lives but the life of our marriages and relationships and should be a very important part of any conversation about relationships in mid-life. 

Brian and Phil have both put a face on this fact.  Phil has taken it one step further and even asked why haven’t been discussing this before.  As if menopause is some taboo subject or something. He raises a good point. Why the heck haven’t we?

Unfortunately, I think it is part of the human condition to ignore something or at the very least, to put it on a back burner until that something begins to demand our attention by the virtue of the fact that is has invaded and rapidly overtaken our life.  So it is with menopause.  We’ve all known it was there, lurking in the background somewhere – like death.  But until it actually comes knocking on our own doors ( much like death) we tend to dismiss it.  I don’t know that this is necessarily a good or bad thing.  It’s just a fact.

Men and women have a tough enough time putting marriages together in modern society with all of the external pressures of careers, children, mortgages and the day to day blah, blah, blah that we all tend to.  I can understand then, how our men get blindsided when they’ve been chugging a long for 15, 20, 25 years or so in what they thought was a solid and well put together marriage,  only to get sucker-punched by perimenopause.

I’ve not read the statistics (if there are any, but I would be willing to bet there is) on divorce rates during the perimenopause years.  I suspect it would be a fascinating insight into just how far perimenopause reaches into our lives. And not in a good way either.

I confessed to Phil that I often asked for a divorce from my husband during the most tumultuous years of my own perimenopause.  Thankfully, I’m glad he didn’t oblige me.  It would have been a profound regret. 

So, gentleman, as more and more of you find your way to my blog and have the courage to speak up, please know that I’m taking notice. ou have inspired an entirely new perspective for me that I intend to explore more.  In the beginning I presumed it would only be women that would be my target audience, but thanks to you (and particularly, Brian and Phil) I have an entirely new dimension I can add to this blog.   

Finally, gentleman, if there is a subject that I can cover for you specifically, please throw it out there.  It could very well be a topic we’ve not discussed but thought about as well.  I’ll be glad to tackle it. Until then, I’ll leave you list of some of the symptoms women experience during perimenopause.  You may recognize many of these or maybe you won’t.  But hopefully, it can give you a little bit of insight and confirmation that it’s not your imagine either.  Perimenopause is real.

Till then perimenopause warriors.  Rock on dudes!

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Some Symptoms of Perimenopause (or estrogen dominance ) With a little Levity Added for Good Measure

  • Acceleration of the aging process (okay, this just seems horribly unfair)
  • Breast tenderness (which explains why we cup our breasts when we walk across the room.  It hurts when they bounce - sorry guys – it’s not a signal)
  • Cold hands and feet as a symptom of thyroid dysfunction ( totally confusing signal when the rest of your body feels like the furnace has short-circuited)
  • Decreased sex drive (the cupped breasts are just sore.  Really.  They are. )
  • Depression with anxiety or agitation (Yup.  What this says.)
  • Fat gain, especially around the abdomen, hips and thighs (sigh)
  • Fatigue
  • Foggy thinking (huh?)
  • Hair Loss
  • Headaches (Really.  No lie.  We’re not just trying to get out sex.  Promise)
  • Hypoglycemia (Pass the chocolate please and nobody will get hurt)
  • Increased blood clotting (increasing risk of strokes)
  • Infertility (thank God)
  • Irregular menstrual periods (uh, yeah.  Just a tad)
  • Irritability (accounts for that primordial growl you hear when there is a full moon – no, it’s not your imagination)
  • Insomnia (yawn – what?)
  • Memory loss (isn’t this listed already?  I can’t remember)
  • Mood swings (mood slamming is more accurate I think)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Premenopausal bone loss
  • PMS (you know this acronym, right?  Pass Me the Shotgun)
  • Sluggish metabolism (meaning:  we don’t eat and we STILL get fat)
  • Water retention, bloating (like a life raft is hanging off the front of our bodies)

This is not a comprehensive list folks.  But, it’s good for starters.

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