35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

by Magnolia on February 15, 2010

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I ran across this website recently:  Evan Marc Katz, Dating Coach. Don’t ask me how I ended up there because I don’t remember.

I will admit to stopping and reading it though and I found what he had to say fascinating.  Mainly because, well, how many men and women do you know that actually understand each other?  Exactly.

I will hand it to him too, it’s a good site.  It also inspired a bit of thought about my own site here, since I continue to get my fair share of men contacting me with questions on how to handle their wives in perimenopause.

Unfortunately, though, by the time many of these men contact me they have reached critical mass in their marriages and their wives have either already left or are in the process of leaving.

In my correspondence with them, I’ve tried, often in vain, unfortunately, to help them understand what is happening with their wives and why, after years of wedded bliss, they now, all of a sudden “out of the blue” hate them.

Before I go any further, I need to say something and then I would like to point something out.  First, I really do have great compassion for these men who reach out to me.  Often, they are desperate and hanging on by a very thin thread and they are just looking for answers, you know?  The last thing I want to convey here is that I don’t feel for them and the situation they are in.  Because I do.  Greatly.

That said, please hear this gentlemen:  It’s never, and I repeat, never out of the blue.  You may have been oblivious to the signs and signals that a marital apocalypse was brewing.  But I can assure you, unequivocally, the signs were there.

I would liken it to the citizens of a city that sits right on top of a fault line.  Everyone is happy and life is rolling along just fine until the earth splits wide open.  Did the fault lines just come out of nowhere?  Well, no.  They were always there.

Had the citizens taken the time to study a geological map of fault lines, they would have known they were there and could have prepared themselves for any potential earthquake disasters. Yes?

So it is with marriages and relationships.  There are signs.  There are signals.  Chances are you just missed them.

Anyway. In addition to the emails I receive, I also see a lot of search words like these that bring men to my blog,

“wife of 27 years all of a sudden hates loving husband when she’s in menopause.”

Usually, when I read stuff like this, my first thoughts are, “Wow.  Poor guy.”

But then, I also can’t help but think, “Wait a minute.  Maybe she didn’t feel you were a loving husband?

Now, granted, I realize this is all conjecture on my part.  I have no earthly idea what is actually going on in any one’s marriage. It could be exactly as the search words say.

But, something I have learned, and granted, it has taken me a very long time to learn it, is that men and women perceive, define and give love completely differently.

So, maybe that poor guy actually thought he had been a loving husband for 27 years.  But, who’s to say that she didn’t try to tell him for 27 years what she wanted and needed from him and he wouldn’t hear it, so she finally had enough and left?  I mean, I don’t know.  I’m guessing.

I do know, though, that women often complain that when they try to communicate their needs to their husbands, they get shut down, ignored or dismissed.

A lot of these same men will justify their behavior because they feel their wives are ungrateful, spoiled, over-indulged nags and don’t appreciate that they have worked for years to provide for them and care for them financially.

They may also believe that staying sexually faithful to their wives when they could have had more than a few cute little secretaries on the side is a sacrifice of love that is rarely, if ever, acknowledged.  Or perhaps they have always remembered birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day and feel their wives just don’t appreciate it.

Okay.  So, maybe all of that is true and I will concede that women really do need to acknowledge that their men do these things for them rather than take it for granted.

But, gentlemen, if you have ignored them for the other 362 days and don’t realize or fail to acknowledge that women also have very deep, emotional needs that also need to be taken care of every bit as much as the light bill or the mortgage needs to be paid, well, I can assure you, there will be trouble in paradise.

So, anyway. As you may expect, I find this entire phenomenon completely fascinating.  So much so that I’ve skipped around the Internet a time or two to see if perhaps I could beat something out of the bushes on the topic.

As luck would have it, I ran across an article written by The Sydney Morning Herald, in 2007, reviewing the book The Female Brain by American Psychiatrist, Louann Brizendine, who in her book, makes an excellent case for why women leave their husbands during menopause.

Dr. Brizendine says that during menopause there is a hormonal shift that occurs (yeah, tell us about it) that actually “rewires a woman’s brain” (my words) in such a way that she becomes less nurturing, less motherly, less willing to put herself second to the needs of others and much more apt to decide that she’s had enough of many things that heretofore, she may have happily accepted with no fuss whatsoever.  So, let’s take the “27 years I’ve been a loving husband and now she hates me” guy, and apply this premise to the situation and well, you may very well have your answer.

I have not read the book, so I cannot speak to it, but, I plan to explore the subject even more.  In the meantime, if you wish to read it for yourself, you can pick up a  copy here at Amazon.com.

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{ 117 comments… read them below or add one }

gaz July 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Ok.
Read article.
I’ve been dating a girl for a year and a half. There seemed to be no issues. We were making plans. But she did start to complain about thinning hair and suffered from depression in the past. Now no sex, no emotion it’s just gone downhill. The change was very quick. Told to go to the drs. But she won’t go. She said it’s like admitting she is getting old. I always compliment her and tell her she is beautiful. But if she wanted the it to work why would she not go to drs. In limbo I’m torn between calling it a day or sticking with it. I think the uncertainty is the worst thing. I just want to know either way. We were friends for years. And I value the friendship. When we got together I told her I didn’t want it to impact on the friendship.

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Magnolia July 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Hi there,

I’m not sure what you’re asking me – if anything. But, just from what I’ve read here, I would recommend that you talk more with your girlfriend to decide if you want to stay in the relationship or not.

Magnolia

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Niel January 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm

My wife of 24 years doing the same things,,,,she now lies, no sex and any little things set her off on tantrums and being disrespectful…..My doctors diagnose my situation as, “nothing you can do.” Another doctor said, you better shut your mouth and stay out of her way….This is the medical personnel answer….What a joke….Not only do women in general protect and pretend menopause is about the relationship other then the women’s health during the change…..My wife assaulted me about five times to this point…My boys and I are praying for help from God….Her family have their own problems, her mother is no help…..My question,,,how many domestic violence incident were caused by women during menopause….

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Magnolia January 12, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Hello Niel,

I find it very unfortunate that your doctor diagnoses the situation as “Nothing you can do.” I’m curious though, why is *your* doctor diagnosing menopause in you? Are you just seeking his counsel?

And again, joking about you needing to “stay out of the way” might be funny and entertaining in a locker room environment, I suppose, but it’s not very helpful if you are really looking for good information on what can actually “help” you understand what menopause is and how it affects women.

Magnolia

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gaz July 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

That was quick.
I’m just wondering if her symptoms are probably menopause and I need to be patient. She complains about aching bones. Memory loss. Thinning hair. Hot flushes and insomnia. At the moment I’m talking things personally or do I support. I’m just unsure why she doesn’t want to go the drs

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Magnolia July 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I can’t explain why she doesn’t want to go to the doctor. Has she told you why? Has she told you she thinks she might be going through menopause?

Why would you take her menopause symptoms personally? They have nothing to do with anything you’ve done or not done. It is her body changing and she is experiencing these symptoms – if in deed she is going through menopause.

I do understand that if she’s experiencing mood swings that it can be difficult for you to know what to do or how to respond, and it can be very confusing, and stressful. But, it’s important for you to realize that her symptoms are not about you and are not a commentary on you as a man.

The rest of my answer is what I’ve already told you. It’s your girlfriend you need to be talking to to find out what to do about your relationship.

Magnolia

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Shands August 3, 2013 at 8:58 am

Well I found this web site when I googled why I wake up hating my husband whom I love. I a see mostly men have commented here but here I am a women 41 yrs old wondering why I all of a sudden hate my husband especially when I wake up . As the day passes I try to dismiss the feelings because I do love my husband and think maybe a bad dream caused it ..but I know better after reading this because I do also wonder why I am able to get angry and mean in situations that would have never caused me to do so before even if they were a correct response. I do feel less nurturing and cold compared to my former self who was over loving and nurturing… Perimenopause I guess is to blame and I knew going thru it was going to cause changes but hating my husband ..what do I do? I accepted all the fault lines and have lived there happily my mind tells me nothing has changed and I can get thru this but I know as I am just starting perimenopause that this is just the icing on the cake . Some of the fault lines in our marriage are pretty big ones ..going to counseling for example is something my husband just will not do..so it is up to me to make this work and I want to.

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Magnolia August 3, 2013 at 9:04 am

Shands,

Every marriage is unique and should not be judged against someone else’s standard of what it ought to be. Many marriages survive perimenopause just fine. Those that don’t were likely unraveling anyway. That of course, is simply my opinion and should be taken as such.

If you are able to accept your relationship with your husband “as is” then far be it from me or anyone else to tell you that you shouldn’t. You are living it, no one else is.

And if you are also willing to accept (and want to, as you say) the primary responsibility for keeping the marriage together, that is also your prerogative, and certainly none of anyone else’s business.

Magnolia

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Disgruntled Husband August 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

All my life I have heard about men having a “mid-life” crisis.. It sounds as if you think it is ok for a woman to have it, because of menopause?? Lol, you have no idea how biased you sound on this subject. It is NOT a man’s fault that a woman is going through menopause, unless you want to blame God… To NOT seek treatment is the cruelest thing a woman can do to her spouse during this period.. Sincerely, having to deal with it…

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Magnolia August 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Oh, hello again, you charming, son-of-a-gun, you……..um, yeah, I’m pretty biased.

When you find out just how someone can separate themselves from their inherent biases, do please let me know.

You and I will become VERY rich with that book we can co-write.

In the meantime, I would HIGHLY recommend you find a good counselor to help you sort through all of bitterness you seem to be choking on.

Magnolia (who is definitely not feeling altruistic today)

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Easy Target August 7, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thank you, Magnolia, for this very helpful website. I too find myself in love with a 42 yr old wife that is suddenly dealing with perimenopause. Our relationship hasn’t reached critical mass yet, but she definitely hates me. It took me a few weeks to realize what was actually going on. My initial response was selfish, and that only added fuel to the fire. I’ve spent the last week or so digging myself out of that hole, but now I need to adapt to this new normal. I am intrigued by the comments left by Shands (Aug. 3) and how she is lucid enough to recognize that her emotions do not match her feelings (hopefully that’s an OK paraphrase). I would like to ask Shands what it is (aside from going to counseling) that she would like her husband to do, or to change, that would help her right now.

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Magnolia August 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

Hi there, “Easy Target”

Your language is fine, and any questions you have are fine as well. Women experience perimenopause differently. Some women actually skate through with no discernible symptoms whatsoever. Those women are rare, but they do exist.

Roughly 80% of women experience symptoms, and a large percentage of those women, experience the symptoms quite severely.

I’m not sure why it is that women feel resentful toward their husbands/spouses/partners when they go through perimenopause. I have my own personal experience, and I have listened to other women who have shared their experiences with me, but I can’t make a sweeping statement in general for all women.

I have stated many, many times, and it bears repeating once again (especially since I’ve had a rash of angry men here lately) and that is this:

perimenopause does not make a good marriage bad.

That is, if you have built a marriage with good communication, mutual respect, trust, and intimacy, no amount of hormone imbalance is going to change that.

Perimenopause can and does stress a marriage. ANYTHING like this can stress a marriage. If you were experiencing some kind of health problem that affected you profoundly, it would naturally stress your marriage or relationship.

So, in that regard, yes, when a woman goes through perimenopause, it does affect you and everyone else around her. But, it does not swoop in and make a once loving, caring, happy marriage dysfunctional and unhappy.

There are many men who come here who become enraged with me when I make that statement. They don’t want to hear that or believe that. They are convinced and refuse to see it any other way, that their marriage was “just fine” until that woman of their’s started going through this “hormone stuff”

And I will submit to you, Easy Target, and any other man who is reading this that that is poppycock, plain and simple.

While I appreciate your request from Shands as to what she would like her husband to do that would make things easier for her, as a possible solution for your situation, I’m not so sure that would be helpful to you.

Your wife is the only one who can tell you what *she* needs from you. It’s her that you need to be talking to. You said that you reacting selfishly and you are currently trying to dig yourself “out of that hole.”

Has your wife said anything to you that she needs? What has she told you?

One of the problems of relationships as I see it is that we get to the place sometimes, that we don’t want to listen to our spouse. We make assumptions, we close off to them, and no matter what they say or do, it has no credibility or holds no weight for us. There may be valid reasons for that, but I also think that when we do that, we are hurting our relationships ourselves.

As difficult as it may be for you to wade through this with your wife, if you really want to help *her*, then it’s *her* you need to ask. Then when she tells you, LISTEN to her. Really, listen.

If there is anything else I can provide in terms of general insight, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to provide that for you.

Magnolia

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Easy Target August 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I hope I haven’t come across as an “angry man”. I’m actually encouraged that there’s an explanation for why she hasn’t been herself lately. That’s not to say that I couldn’t be a better husband. I’m sure that I could be, and that’s what I’m trying to do. But I need help, and I’m afraid I might need it spelled out.

I’ll admit that I’m not exactly sure what my wife wants. I have asked her. Sometimes she says she feels like she can barely function, and she doesn’t know what to do. (So I take a few things off her plate.) Sometimes she says she doesn’t feel loved. (So I give her a kiss.) Sometime she tells me that the way I handled a certain situation 20 years ago made her feel like she didn’t matter. (I can be a jerk sometimes.) Sometimes she says that she feels like I blame her for ruining everything. I don’t even know what to do with that. (And for the record, she’s never ruined anything.)

A couple weeks ago, one of the things she said to me was, “I don’t need you telling me that what I’m feeling isn’t valid.” That seems to be the big one. And I thought I was encouraging her, “Look, you’re way too beautiful, capable, and amazing to let that bother you.” Wrong answer. In hind-sight, it does sound an awful lot like “Just get over it”, but what’s the right response?

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Magnolia August 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

No, Easy Target,

You do not sound like an angry husband. I said what I said in my first comment to you because lately I’ve been getting smacked around by a few angry husbands. And I’m feeling a little testy over it.

Maybe what you need is more assurance that you are on the right track, rather than having it spelled out for you? Because from reading what you’ve just written, I see the “answers” already spelled out for you. Maybe you just need to look at it from a different angle.

First, if you don’t already know this, let me point this out……a lot of times what women want when they talk is for someone to listen, shore us up, encourage us, and empathize. To validate our experience.

I know that term “validation” has all kinds of touchy-feely, psychobabble connotations. But, the truth is, women need and want to be empathized with.

It’s very comforting to us to hear things like….”I know how you feel” or “That must be awful” or “I’m sorry that happened to you”

I know men do not communicate this way, but women do. I also know that you would never say that to another man. But, you are not dealing with a man, you’re dealing with a woman. So, this type of empathetic communication is something that women need.

Here’s another tip……if a woman wants something from you, she will usually ask. Like, “Hey, can you help me move this couch.” Or, “Can you help me hang this picture” Or, “What do you think about this situation?”

So, the notion that men want to offer solutions to problems should be addressed right there. If a woman doesn’t ask you DIRECTLY to solve something, it’s safe to assume, she’s not wanting you to.

But, if you are uncertain, there is never any harm in asking flat out…..”Honey, is this a time you just need me to listen, or do you need some sort of advice?”

Win-Win situation right there.

So, does she ASK you to take up the slack? Have you asked her if that is what she needs? She says she doesn’t feel loved? Ask here exactly what makes her feel loved?

It’s different things for different people. For me, someone taking time out of their life to sit with me and talk (aka, quality time) makes me feel loved. For other women, it might be gifts. For another woman, it might be doing something for her.

Ask her specifically……”What makes you feel loved?”

You can be a jerk sometimes? Okay, in what way? Examine that behavior. Let her tell you what that was…….even it was 20 years ago.

I know that seems preposterous that she would remember something 20 years ago, but hey, guess what? I remember things my husband did 15 years ago that hurt me that he NEVER apologized for. Even after I told him it hurt me. He dismissed me. Then he forgot about it. But, I never did.

So, address those issues if you need to.

Invalidating her experience and feelings by telling her she’s “too beautiful, capable, and amazing to let that bother her…” was certainly meant by you to be a build up and an assurance. I can see how you would have meant it that way.

But, what would have been the right response?

Doing what I told you earlier……creating an environment that made her feel she was entitled to feel what she was feeling, exactly the way she was feeling it, and that you supported her in those feelings…….

I KNOW that is not a manly perspective. But, please try to understand this. Women NEED to be heard, validated, and emotionally supported.

When you come in with solutions, options, opinions, judgment, problem solving techniques, or any other approach that communicates to her…..”Hey, what you’re feeling or thinking needs to be tweaked a little bit, and I’m just the guy to help you with that…..”

You’ve crashed and burned right there.

Learning to quietly listen, giving her all of your attention, and then plainly asking what it is you can do, or say, or be for her that would help, is always a winning strategy.

I sincerely hope this helps.

Magnolia

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Easy Target August 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm

So, to sum up… I’d just like to be able to do something to show her that I get it.

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Easy Target August 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Much appreciated.

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Patrick December 17, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Just exactly how does a husband “take care of his wifes emotional needs?” as you have equated it to a mans sexual needs. Throught this period I find my wife in an emotional wreck, mostley taken out on our chirldren. When I try to comfort, speak gently, I’m pushed away. Why is it doing things for her “don’t mean anything”. Just exactley how is it I should take care of her emotional needs when she doesn’t want me around except to change the tire or fix the house? I’m ok with waiting on her change, but not sure if she will go through with the divorse she threatens me with. Her perspective is all wrong on events through our 25 year marriage that she now finds nothing good about. Mostly I feel for her relationship with her children who want to run away from her mean baheavior. She also denies the need to go in and see if her Dr. can help her out. Just look for an honest answer on what I can do to help her emotions?

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Magnolia December 18, 2013 at 7:47 am

Hi Patrick,

When our needs are not being met and we feel we are being treated unfairly, it’s not easy, and perhaps we don’t even WANT to see that another person’s needs are important as well.

You might not think emotional needs are as important as your sexual needs because perhaps you don’t have many emotional needs. But, yes, a woman’s emotional needs are every bit as important as your sexual needs. I would also go as far to say that physical needs of food, clothing, and a roof over our head are equally as important. They are ALL important.

And when those needs are not being met, they can become all consuming. Just a thought.

I would also tell you, if you haven’t already, that if you read a few of my posts here, you will learn that I am not here to make excuses for women. I am not here to bash men or to say that men are the problem and cause of a woman’s challenges with perimenopause. I sincerely do not believe that. What I am trying to do here is, first and foremost, help women understand what is happening in their bodies during perimenopause.

Second, when I can, I try to address other issues, such as potential marital problems, which can sometimes be problematic as well. I really do understand that when women are going through perimenopause their behavior and moods can seem irrational, and at times even unfair. I will also concede that the changes in hormones, can DEFINITELY color the way she may view things. However, I can’t stress strongly enough that perimenopause does not, never has, and never will create problems that do not exist.

Distort them perhaps? Yes. That is certainly a possibility. But, it does not render women incapable of rational thought altogether. Though I’m sure there are more than a few men who would beg to differ.

As far as your statement that her perspective is “all wrong” regarding the events of your 25 year marriage, I would say to you unequivocally, that if you are having issues and problems communicating effectively with your wife over marital problems, that YOU are undermining all of your good efforts by stating she is wrong.

Telling your wife, or ANYONE for that matter that their perspective is “all wrong” is going to do nothing constructive. In fact, I would say it is only going to make it worse. Quite frankly, I’m not sure that anyone would take too kindly to being told that they have it “all wrong”, which only suggests that YOU have it “all right.”

Not going to help you at all.

As a mom who had one hell of a time going through perimenopause, and who also, unfortunately, took it out on her young children too, I can empathize with what you are saying about your kids being mistreated. It does happen. I won’t deny it. When I look back on my own years when I was having a difficult time, I cringe at how I behaved. It was horrible.

However, I also took responsibility for my behavior and apologized to my children. A lot. I explained to them what was happening and that I was doing the best that I could. I don’t know that they always understood, but my taking responsibility for my behavior was all I could do at the time.

And yes, it is true, sometimes women just really do not see how their hormones are affecting their behavior. The same can also be said of men. But it’s important that you understand, any and all changes that are occurring in her body as a result of perimenopause are not a choice.

Women do not choose to get up everyday and have mood swings. We do not choose to gain weight, have our hair fall out, lose our libido, suffer from vaginal dryness, incontinence, hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety attacks, heart palpitations, vertigo & dizziness, and a host of other symptoms which are all associated with perimenopause. We Do. Not. Choose. It.

And many of us have no earthly idea how to get help for it either. You may or may not know this, but when women go to physicians to get help with those symptoms, we very often get shut out. We are treated as if we have psychiatric problems or some other issue that can be “cured” by just taking a few pills. And unfortunately, they don’t work. Which is why this blog was born.

It is also why thousands of women come to this blog monthly seeking help. The medical community is damn near useless.

I may or may not have provided something useful for you in my answer to you. If I haven’t, I apologize. I wish I had a simple, all inclusive answer that would fix everything for you. But, I don’t. I do my best to explain what happens to women during perimenopause to men, in hopes that some of them might have a light go on over their head.

Some do, but most don’t. And if I come across as insensitive or sarcastic at times, it is because I am tired and frustrated myself. I pour my heart out here, and I have done so for years now. And it seems that no matter what I say, the average male is really not interested in understanding. They are only interested in understanding as far as it might help “them” get what they are wanting from the situation……usually to get laid.

I would recommend that you look around. Perhaps something I’ve said in the past might resonate with you. If you have any specific questions, by all means, direct them to me and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.

Magnolia

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Dean December 26, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 27 years and have been together for 30. We have had a wonderful marriage with some ups and downs like any marriage. All of a sudden a few months ago I could tell something was changing. My wife has never spent time away from me. We did everything together but now she spends most of her time with a girl friend from work. She says she needs time away because she is confused on the feelings she is having about me. I ask her what is wrong and she always tells me she doesn’t know. I’ve been reading your blog and you always say that there is always signs, the husband just never sees them. It has always felt to me that we have had good communication and understandings of each other. So I have no idea what has happened, we were inseparable. It is killing me to not get any answers but I don’t want to give up hope. I just don’t know what to do anymore….

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Magnolia December 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Hello Dean,

First, let me offer an apology regarding my statements on husbands not seeing the problems which are almost always there. I am very aware that it is entirely possible that men *might* not see the issues. And I also know it is entirely possible that you could in deed have a good marriage where both people seem happy, and then one or the other decides they are not happy. It can and does happen, and so, I apologize for coming off rigid in my views about it.

That said, please understand that it is not uncommon for women to discuss this matter among themselves, and it is certainly not uncommon here. It is safe to say that if women find common ground to complain about certain things, such as, they’ve *tried* to solve issues in their marriage and their husband thinks everything is great… or that men are often the last to know there are marital problems and usually don’t want to consider that there are problems until the wife is walking out the door……it’s a pretty safe bet that it is a common problem.

It is certainly a very real and common issue here. It is a very real and common issue which was a huge factor in the ending of my own marriage.

Maybe it is because men and women see problems in a different way. Maybe it is because women are unable to communicate their dissatisfaction in a way that men are actually able to hear it. I’m sure there are a multiplicity of explanations. The point is, I’m not pulling that statement out of thin air. It really is a HUGE problem for many couples.

So, I hope I made it clear. I don’t want to come across as insensitive

Has your wife said she is willing to seek counseling to get to the bottom of the issues? Has she given you ANY indication of what might be wrong? Has she dropped hints in anyway?

Because unless you give me more information there is not much I can offer you outside of very general suggestions, which probably won’t be very helpful at all.

Magnolia

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Dean December 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Sorry I gave wrong email address, please correct. I originally gave deno201130@gmail.com and it should be dean201130@gmail.com

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PKay February 19, 2014 at 1:46 am

Anger – I’m 51 and feel at the end of my rope. I expend a lot of patience on my stressed-out teen who is applying for college. I can still be there for her and help her calm and deal with life. But that’s it – I work, earn the family income and have no bandwidth for compensating for my husband. I am so angry at him so much of the time-and while I wish he were better at many things, he doesn’t deserve the of anger I feel (and periodically express). How does one know if it is peri-menopause or just pent up anger finally overflowing?
What helps?

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Magnolia February 19, 2014 at 6:48 am

Well, are you experiencing any symptoms of perimenopause, PKay? And if you are, it’s probably safe to say that your anger and irritation with your husband could very much be exacerbated by your hormone shifts.

As far as trying to tell which is which, that’s like trying to separate your mind from your brain. :) Were you experiencing irritations and annoyances with your husband long before you started entering perimenopause? Were there issues in your marriage that drove you crazy and made up unhappy, but you were able to shift them aside and manage?

It is common for that to be the case with women, and then when hormones start shifting, buttons get pushed, and before you know it, those irritations which were on a slow burn, have now boiled over.

Magnolia

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SuzyQ March 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm

“…and have no bandwidth for compensating for my husband.” First of all, not to be mean to the gentlemen here, but that made me chuckle out loud because that’s exactly what it feels like for me now at 51 (that and the wording was exquisite). With the shift of hormones away from “nurturing and tending” and more toward self, I can see how women struggle with the “systems” in place in marriage. I get the pervasive feeling that some men just want to “fix it” so it will all go back to “normal” and are not interested in growth and change along with their wives. I can assure those that want to go back to the status quo because it’s inconvenient for them will have the hardest time of all. consider this stage of a woman’s life like an uprising, and you can either be part of the solution or part of the problem. And of course, search terms brought me here cuz I’m down in it with an oblivious but sweet husband.

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Magnolia March 5, 2014 at 8:24 am

Spot on, SuzyQ, spot on. Yes, men need to learn to change right along with their wives. Those who refuse are usually the ones who are the most unhappy.

Magolia

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D March 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Magnolia,
Not sure where to start but I can see many parallels with other male writers here.
I dont know if I’ve been a good husband over the 24 years, I could blather on about what I did to help around the house and bringing up the children etc but that’s irrelevant and I believe in this day and age should be a given.
When I first experienced the onset of my wife’s menopause it hit me like a freight train and in hindsight reacted very badly, the coldness and lack of intimacy I interpreted as my wife having an affair /had stopped loving me . I am sure many men have made this same mistake. I don’t know if it has been mentioned but men of a certain age (50 in my case) are also likely to have changing hormone levels with a decrease in testosterone which ironically makes them more sensitive and in touch with their feelings. Unfortunately the two created a perfect storm I was very depressed and put on citalopram. It was only the thought of my three children (as I was of the opinion that my wife didn’t want me) that kept me going .
Things somehow calmed down, after a year I came off the Citalopram and we have managed to get back on track.
This all started four years ago currently things are tough again my wife locks herself in our bedroom doesn’t want to spend time with me at all. Despite her talking about trial separation under the same roof ( for the sake of not disturbing our daughter’s exams for uni in eighteen months time) I am going to try and ride out the storm and see what happens.
Often men are accused of being poor communicators of their feelings which is probably true but in the case of menopause there are no quick fixes and attempts to help will often be rejected. Its a tightrope, do nothing your marriage may fail, try to help you may accelerate the demise.

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Magnolia March 5, 2014 at 7:58 am

Hello “D”

I honestly do not want to be insensitive, dismissive, or harsh when I say this. Because, frankly, I know that others are affected who are around women experiencing perimenopause and menopause. It’s just a fact.

During my days going through it, the mood swings were horrendous, and I said and did things that I deeply regret. And it most certainly affected others around me. But here’s the thing…..while it *did* AFFECT others around me……THEY weren’t the ones going THROUGH menopause. They were being affected, yes, and how they were being affected can certainly be defined by their own experience. And therefore, they could say, “I went through this”

But, they weren’t the ones primarily suffering from menopause. I liken it to raising my two adult children and my current teen. When a teen is hormonal they can spew their angst all over those who are around them. I currently experience this with my youngest who is a 15 year old girl. She gets moody, she gets snappish, she withdraws, etc.

I *used* to make it about me and take it personal. However, I was also going through a nasty divorce and my father died during that period, so I was very fragile emotionally, and so it was easy for me to place myself in the center of her mood swings and become a victim of them. Unfortunately, that made it VERY difficult for HER.

She would worry that I was getting offended or wounded when she was having trouble stabilizing her moods, and it made it worse. Once I stopped taking everything so personally, it seemed to improve. In fact, she even mentioned to me several times (and just again last week) that she is so glad that I don’t take her mood swings personally because it’s not ME she’s really mad at.

So, when I read in your comment….”When I first experienced the onset of my wife’s menopause, it hit me like a freight train” the first thing I hear is: I made her menopause about ME.

And as you continue in your comment, it is very evident that you most certainly did as it eventually led to depression. As one who has fought depression her entire life, I can tell with certainty, that a particular element of depression is that depressed people tend to dwell on their own pain and become very victimized in their thinking.

That is what your comment sounds like to me. And please do not let this discourage you. I would hope you could find a way to step back and separate yourself from what is happening to your WIFE and see that YOUR reaction is simply that you have personalized everything.

Yes, I know that men have hormone changes once they reach middle age too. And I see how this changes your temperament. Ironically, men become more like women as they get older in their sensitivity level. Perhaps that might be something you could reflect on and consider? You are perhaps walking in similar shoes to those that women walk in for most of their lives. And unfortunately, we are accused of being “too sensitive” or “too emotional” or too “something” by far too many men.

Now, perhaps you might be able to understand what that feels like? It’s not really great.

No, there are no quick fixes to dealing with the issues that menopause brings up in the lives of married couples. But, I will still remind you, “D”, that most of what I read here from you sounds like you are very much putting yourself at the center of your wife’s menopause.

I do not have any specific answers for you in terms of what you should or shouldn’t do. Except, perhaps, that you examine your tendency to be victimized in your mind.

Magnolia

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D March 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Hi Magnolia,
Thanks for your reply I agree with your summary about personalising my wife’s menopause , problem was that like many men I had no idea on many levels.
As as been mentioned in previous threads men don’t discuss such issues amongst themselves other than at locker room banter level which isn’t really helpful. I do have women friends but feel that discussing the situation with them would be disloyal to my wife. I will take your advice (it affirms the conclusions I was already arriving at) and try to stop feeling like a victim. I realise my wife is having a terrible time, she doesn’t want to talk about it (which is fair enough given my history of projecting it onto myself).I don’t want her to feel I am ignoring her though .
Going back to the issue of sensitivity, I have never found women’s to be an issue but rather a desirable one. My wife has always been there to comfort anyone in distress(including complete strangers) I’ve always admired this and secretly wished I could be more like her. As you pointed out I probably am now!
I appreciate your frankness regarding your own situation as it is a great help in demonstrating how much I have made this about me and how much I need to stop taking everything so personally.
One day at a time I guess.
D

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Magnolia March 5, 2014 at 6:04 pm

It is not an easy proposition for anyone, “D”. I do understand how it bleeds over into households and a woman’s relationships.

It certainly affected my family and made an already difficult marriage excruciating. Most of what I’m trying to do here for men, is to help them realize that women are not choosing to go through perimenopause and have all these horrible symptoms.

And though we *can* say something like….”I’m feeling hormonal and this is not about you” to their spouses, it’s not always an easy thing to do.

And as I’ve said often around here…..I’m not trying to make excuses for women or relieve us of any personal responsibility. I’m just trying to explain what is happening when we go through hormone imbalance.

Magnolia

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trs March 16, 2014 at 11:44 pm

I am very hurt my wife is 44 yrs old and left me five times in the last 3 yrs 4 days ago while I was at work she packed all her cloths and jewelry called my mother and told her for me not to contact her,all she does is stay on facebook chatting with her friends and I cant even talk to her,Ive bought her everything new jeeps a beautiful home but now she has gone and Im sitting here crying she was my best friend I loved here dearly,but I cant take the hurt anymore, is this menopause making her this way,it is killing me I don’t want a divorce but I cant take this anymore.

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Magnolia March 17, 2014 at 9:37 am

I have no earthly idea, TRS, if she is in menopause or not. I would suggest you speak with your wife, and perhaps even a marital counselor.

Magnolia

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James March 17, 2014 at 1:05 am

Magnolia,
Firstly, let me say, I am no saint. I know this. I talk too much when I should be listening. I work too much when I should be at home. My faults can be measured and weighed as well as any other person. But I am now at the end of what my heart can bear.
*****
James, I realize that you are here telling me your point of view and that you are not looking to be chastised. So, I will do my best here to be sensitive to your perspective. However, please understand that before I ever begin to offer support or advice to the men who come here looking for it, that I enter the conversation with a basic resistance to the fact that everything that has gone wrong is entirely due to a wife and her perimenopause symptoms.

And I begin by starting here where you have said you are no saint, that you talk too much when you should be listening, and that you work when you should be at home. If this is true, then you need to be willing to give equal weight to these issues that you are giving to your wife’s behavior.

That is where I want to begin

**********

My lovely wife of 23 years is 45 and not the same person she was. Our three children and myself have been sad participants in the worst of “the change in life”. My wife has even cost me my job and reputation to the point where now I work long distance and can only visit every couple of months. She now points to that and tells our children that I have abandoned them. This is not the case. I would love to have everyone relocate inclusive of my wife but she is dead set against that. I do not blame her as we have moved around too much. As an Engineer I must go where the work is.

********

How has your wife cost you a job? And if you don’t blame her, why are you blaming her for “costing you a job” You have some contradiction here

********
A couple of years back I came home and clothes were gone, and a note was on the table. Three weeks of loss and pain I went through until I saw my children again. They were allowed to visit. She had checked herself into a house for abused women. Upon that, they eventually put her out as there was no merit. We have never argued or fought in our lives. Spending habits were our worst problems.

********

If you have never fought, but your wife is unhappy? Why? You have already stated that you talk too much when you should be listening, and that you are not present when you should be. Could it be that you dominate the marriage and do not allow for discussion?

If you are not present, there is certainly no opportunity for fighting. And if you talk when you should be listening, that tells me that perhaps your wife has TRIED to talk to you about what bothers her and makes her unhappy, but you wouldn’t listen?

If that is the case, then I would think she has a lot of pent up, unresolved issues. Is there any truth to that?

*********
She will spend her nurses income and as much as she can of mine. I have constantly been the bad guy demanding bills to be paid, and groceries in the fridge.

********

Excessive spending can sometimes be a symptom of unresolved emotional issues. Does she feel abandoned? Does she feel you have neglected her? Women will sometimes resort to “retail therapy” if you will, if they feel they are missing something.

It is a way to distract themselves from pain. Rather like eating, indulging in alcohol, watching a lot of television. And of course, women are not the only ones who do this. But, since you are pointing out that she spends too much money, I’m offering possible reasons as to why.

********
I dearly love my the job and the opportunity. My coworkers are a joy to work with and I find the challenge to be invigorating. I would dearly like things to work out but each time we talk she is up and down. She stresses about money and is hard on the kids. I have asked her to seek help repeatably but I do not believe she is.

********

Is it possible that your suggestion “she seek help” increasing her stress? Does she feel you think she and only she is the problem?

That’s what it sounds like to me, and I’m not your wife.

******
I come from a large family. Even my mother, whom I have the highest respect has told me I have been too good to her. How is this possible? I am no pushover, I grew up on a farm and I am very handy. I know hard, hard work and I can lead teams through multimillion dollar projects with ease.

*******

With all due respect, you need to keep your mother OUT of your marital issues. Your seeking your mother’s advice over seeking out your wife? That’s a recipe for disaster right there.

Not to mention, your mother is not exactly going to take your wife’s side over her son’s. I have a son. I know of what I speak.

I’m not sure why you are telling me that you are handy and can lead multi-million dollar projects? Is this another attempt to elevate yourself and continue to point to your wife’s failures and not your own?

********
I was not raised out of the church but I am not over churchy either. But my vows are very sacred to me, and I meant it when I said sickness and health. I just do not know how to deal with this increasing unhealthy situation.

********

It sounds to me that you do not know how to handle it because you are more focused on your wife’s failures than your own. Your mother sounds like she is more than happy to help you do that by suggesting you are too good for her. Which, can also be stated as, “She is not good enough for you.”

And if you are allowing your mother’s opinion of your wife to become part of your marital dynamics, you have problems far deeper than you realize. If you want to seek counsel, your MOTHER is not the person to be seeking it from.

********

On my first trip away she told me she wanted a separation. She then proceeds to tell others she is getting a divorce. I am home now on a visit. She is no longer wearing her wedding rings. Instead she has another in its place. I asked. She said she likes it better.

********

Given what you’ve told me thus far, this does seem like a logical progression. The question is, WHY is your wife behaving this way. Do you feel that you are completely free of any and all responsibility? If that is the case, I would say that the chances of your marriage surviving are pretty slim.

********
We went to marriage consoling and that worked for awhile. I have pleaded for further consoling and financial consoling but to no avail. She is happy. She sleeps in a separate room, enjoys payday and has her freedom from me mostly.

*********

If the counseling helped for a while. Why did you stop going?

**********
My oldest starts university in the fall, but my other two of 13 and 14 are at home still. I do not want to upset my wife further but, I am worried they may not be in the healthiest atmosphere. I guess I am hostage to my heart and hoping my wife will be able to cope with her change better and I will always be waiting. My kids tell me they hope she will become herself again but at the moment, it is so very painful…and pitiful.

**********

I am in no way diminishing the effect that hormonal change can and does have on a woman’s behavior. It is a serious physical and emotional change which, for a lot of women, requires some kind of intervention to enable them to cope.

However, I will tell you what I’ve told thousands up thousands of men thus far…….perimenopause does not cause marital problems. Perimenopause does not cause you to talk when you should be listening. Perimenopause does not cause you to work when you should be home. Perimenopause does not cause a meddling mother-in-law.

Perimenopause DOES cause mood changes and can in deed exacerbate day to day life stressors and difficulties. It does not, however, create communication problems or other marital issues which you seem to be suffering with as well.

My best advice to you is to realize that you are as much a part of the problem as your wife is. And unless you are willing to accept some responsibility, then chances are your marriage will not survive these perimenopause years.

***********

Sincerely,

Waiting for my love to come back to us.

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Magnolia March 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

James,

Please see the italicized comments I’ve inserted directly into your original comment, separated by asterisks.

Magnolia

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