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What “Not” to Do if You Want to Help Your Wife in Perimenopause

Posted May 25 2012 10:11am
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Sometimes, the best way to teach someone how to do something is to point to the opposite of what you want them to do.

It can be quite effective to say, “don’t do it that way, do it this way” when “that way” is so conspicuously wrong.

I ran across a comment recently at another blog, where the topic was “how perimenopause affects marriages. ”  I was slightly amused by what the commenter – a very bitter husband – had to say, because I am quite certain it did not occur to him that any part of his problem had to do with himself.

But then bitterness has a way of blinding us, so I won’t judge him harshly.

However, I couldn’t resist using his comment here at my blog as a teaching tool.  It is a gift to you of sorts, because it is a perfect example 0f what not to do if you want to help your wife in perimenopause.   As a matter of fact, his attitude is exactly why so many men fail miserably in their dealings with women in general.

Add in a little hormonal chaos – aka perimenopause – and you now have the perfect recipe to not only fail in helping your wife through perimenopause, but to increase the chances of your marriage crashing and burning significantly.  I know full well that many of you are not going to like this.  However, as I said in my last post on this subject , I am not here to blame you or make excuses for women.

I am here to explain perimenopause and how it affects us.  If you are sincerely interested in learning how to help your wife in perimenopause, then trust me when I tell you this: if you have an attitude that even remotely resembles this one? You will not only fail in your attempts to help your wife, but you could also do irreparable damage to your marriage as well.

What NOT to Do if You Want to Help Your Wife in Perimenopause:

I think discussions like this really solve an old medical mystery. Why do women live longer than men? Because they don’t have to put up with menopause. I would wager to say that not only does menopause cause divorce but it also causes heart attacks in men through the extreme stress and aggravation they are put through. Men have menopause too, they are usually much stronger and deal with it internally whereas women externalize it and expect the whole world to adapt to their change of life.

There are so many things wrong here I don’t even know where to begin without turning this into a 5,000-word essay.  But, let’s start with the most obviously absurd statement and take it from there:

……”Because they don’t have to put up with menopause……”

Look, I understand what the man is actually saying.  He is frustrated because he, not his wife, has very likely been on the receiving end of a few raging mood swings.   He is also probably tied up in knots from sexual frustration because his wife, not him, has no libido. So, really, he is simply venting, and I know that.

But here’s the problem:  He sees himself as a victim, and the one who is primarily suffering.  When in truth, it is his wife who is primarily suffering.  He, unfortunately, is what I often call the “collateral damage.”

A momentary digression……

I would like to stop here and take a moment to make a point about how women perceive men.  It is not a universal, iron-clad truth.  But there is some truth in it. Much like many of the perceptions men have about women.  So, please, gentlemen, take this as it is intended: a general piece of insight into the minds of women that can be quite useful to you if you can see it from an objective point of view.

Women often complain that men have a tendency to put their own needs and suffering above everyone else.  We see you as self-absorbed and, well, kind of like little babies.  If you were to eavesdrop on a common conversation among women about men, you would hear us talk about how many times you gave birth while we were pregnant.  Or we might roll our eyes because you stayed in the bed all weekend with a “willy, willy, bat code”

We still love you, mind you.  In fact, we love you a lot.  But, we often refer to you among ourselves as our “other child.”  Now you can get mad at me for saying that.  But, this wisdom has been passed down for generations among women.  Our mothers said it.  Our grandmothers said it, and our grandmother’s mothers said it.  So be wise, gentlemen, and take it for what it’s worth.

Digression over…….

I am hoping then, that given the piece of information I just presented to you, that you can now approach this original statement with more of an enlightened perspective:

“Women do not have to put up with menopause.”

To which my answer is:

Women DO put up with menopause.  Let me count the ways:

  • Hot flashes, flushes , night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings, sudden tears
  • Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
  • Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
  • Crashing fatigue
  • Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
  • Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
  • Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
  • Disturbing memory lapses
  • Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
  • Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
  • Increased tension in muscles
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headache change: increase or decrease
  • Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
  • Sudden bouts of bloat
  • Exacerbation of existing conditions
  • Increase in allergies
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
  • Changes in body odor
  • Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Gum problems, increased bleeding
  • Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
  • Osteoporosis (after several years)
  • Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
  • Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, ‘whooshing,’ buzzing etc.

I would like very much to continue my analysis of this comment, but this blog post is now reaching beyond 1000-words.  (just like a woman, eh? :) )

So, I will let this resonant with you for a while and take it back up again in my next post.  Please feel free to comment as you see fit.  I rather enjoy the dialogue.



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