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 understand what is happening to their wives who are going through 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 also 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 are here 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? And 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, like most women I know, she decided that 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 Herald¹ 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 perimenopause there is a hormonal shift which occurs 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.
¹ The link to the website is no longer working. You may be able to do a search on Google to find the original article. I do not have a copy of it to download or link to.