For Men

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Today’s “Dear Magnolia” installment is from a reader by the name of “Dave.”  I was impressed with Dave’s comment because unlike many men who come to The Perimenopause Blog looking for help in understanding perimenopause and how it affects relationships and marriages, Dave actually takes some personal responsibility for his marital woes.

Whoa Dave!

Dave is very insightful, forthright, and honest about who he was in the marriage and realized that it wasn’t just his wife’s responsibility to change everything.  Neither could he, in good conscience, blame his marital troubles all on perimenopause or a mid-life crisis.

Double Whoa, Dave!!

All kidding aside, however, as I read his comment, I realized  Dave didn’t really need much advice from me.  He seems to have made some great strides in repairing his marriage and appreciating what he has in his wife and family. I do believe that Dave’s wife has a little bit of thinking she needs to do regarding her own feelings as well.  But, over-all, I found Dave to be in little need of advice from me.

Please enjoy this installment of “Dear Magnolia”


My story is similar to what I’ve read. A year ago, my wife dropped a bomb on me and told me she loved me but wasn’t in love with me. Devastated is the only way I can describe myself. I originally tried to blame it on perimenopause or a midlife crisis.

We’ve been married for 22 years, both 48, 2 teenage boys. We met when we were 14 and have been friends ever since.  She said she was feeling this way for years… I didn’t notice… or maybe I did but decided to ignore it?

marriageproblemsShe told me that I didn’t treat her the way she should be treated.

In my defense, I do all the laundry and most of the house cleaning… all the yard work.

I guess I started to resent her. She does a lot of stuff around the house and with the kids and I guess I was blind to it.

I handled my problems by holding them in which obviously made things worse… an error I make no longer. After she told me she wanted a divorce, I pushed for answer and tried to ‘fix’ it. This just made things worse…she moved out and went to see a lawyer. She was prepared to serve me after the holidays, something I didn’t know until months later.

I had to take a hard look at myself and see how my actions are what pushed her to make such a difficult decision. I have to say, I was impressed that she actually went that far… I didn’t think she was that strong (I was wrong). I’m a little grateful that it happened because it opened my eyes to the person I didn’t want to be and has showed me the man I want to be.

I started reading books on how to work on myself and my marriage and began using those techniques immediately. I gave her space and she eventually moved back into the house but made it very clear she was done with me. I told her I can’t promise change I could only show her I was committed to change.

Eventually she said she didn’t want to divorce and wanted to work on the marriage. I knew I still had a lot of work to do on myself. Work I didn’t realize until now. I thanked her for opening my eyes to it.


Fast forward to today… It’s been a year and we are still working, but things are not great.

She says she is looking for that deep love and doesn’t feel it yet. She says she loves me to death but can’t figure out why she just wants to be friends.

She calls me her best friend. She makes comments that we have never had this much fun together as we have over the past year.

She says I’ve been amazing in the changes I’ve made, that it is all her now. She is trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels.

Last night she stated her feelings of just being friends (this has happened a couple times over the past year). She stated that it is frustrating because she has everything she could possible want now, but still doesn’t have that deep love she thinks she should have.

I told her this morning that I’m dedicated to her and our marriage. That the conversation last night has not changed how I feel about her. I’m confident it will work out and we will be stronger. I feel that this is a process, which most marriages go through. The couples that are committed to making the necessary changes will have the strongest marriages.

I can’t be just friends…not after 22 years. I need my wife and family.


Dear Dave,

First, hats off to you for being willing to engage in self-examination.  As much as we might want to blame a failure of a relationship on our spouse, the unvarnished truth is that we all contribute to the success or demise of a relationship.  So, that you have been able to do some of the hard work of looking at your own behavior, speaks volumes about your character.

I understand that you are wanting more from your wife in terms of restoring what you believe was lost, namely, that she would be “in love” with you again.  But, here’s where I have a real problem: this notion that we are supposed to maintain the same level, type, and intensity of feelings throughout a long marriage as we had in the beginning is entirely unrealistic.

Why should “in love” be the standard for whether our marriage is good or not?  Why do we think we should always feel giddy, and have intense romantic feelings the rest of our lives? Love deepens and matures.  It doesn’t have to always have sparkles and rainbows to be right or to be called “love”

If your wife is looking for good feelings and is confusing the lack of good feelings with whether she loves you or not, then perhaps she needs to re-examine what the idea of love really is.

Isn’t it better said that true love a safe place for those whom we say we love? Doesn’t it refrain from criticism and judgement?  Doesn’t it, instead, support, accept, encourage?  Isn’t mature love a love that says “you don’t have to be perfect for me to enjoy being with you?”

It seems to me if your wife is calling you her “best friend” (and she means it) that you both have something pretty darn wonderful!  That kind of comfort and acceptance with another human being is what we all strive for in our relationships.  In fact, I’m of the opinion that true friendship, companionship, honor and respect, are the basic foundation of a good marriage anyway.

loveYes, giddy love, sexual attraction, and chemistry are what often attracts us to someone in the first place.  But, are those the things that a lifelong companionship is truly made of?

Is real life full of good feelings from sun up until sun down? Is real life always the path of least resistance?  Of course not!  Anyone who has lived as long as we have is fully aware that mature, adulthood is more of a push against headwinds 90% of the time uphill.

We “learn” to be happy and content by taking stock of what we have to be thankful for, not that everything is always going the way we wish it would or that we want it to.  Yes, it’s great when it does. But, if we’re constantly looking for a life without struggle, that life simply does not exist.

So when it comes to love and marriage, what if something happened that renders you completely incapable of engaging in a normal sex life, let’s say.  Would you expect that your marriage would be over because of that????

What if you contracted cancer?  Or diabetes? Or some other serious health issue that made it impossible for you to have sex at all?  Would you divorce because of that?  If any of these things happened to your wife, would you divorce HER over that?  I would seriously hope the answer is a resounding NO!  That is because love is far more than sexual attraction and sexual activity.  Love that sustain a marriage runs much deeper than a physical release of an orgasm.

When you say you “need your wife and family” that sounds to me that you need her and your boys for the family bond that binds you all together.  And yes, that would hopefully include someone you consider your “best friend.”  Would it not?  And who wouldn’t want that? 

To be frank, Dave, I think you already see with very clear eyes.  You have taken responsibility for your actions which caused issues in the marriage, and you have come to realize how valuable your family is to you.  That’s a huge step.

The only “advice” that I can give you is to continue to be willing to listen to your wife as she sorts out her own issues.  Personally, I think she has an unrealistic idea about what she should be feeling right now (and maybe you do too).  Once she’s gets over the notion she’s supposed to feel like a teenager after 22 years of marriage, she might find that what she is has is worth keeping.

A reliable automobile doesn’t always have the new car smell.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great car worth keeping. Just keep it maintained and be thankful that it runs as well as it does.

Everybody loves reliable transportation.  It gets you where you need to go and doesn’t leave you stranded on the side of the road.  When you have that, you can think about far more important things, like how great your life is.

Thanks for commenting, Dave




Dear Magnolia….My Husband Takes My Loss of Libido in Perimenopause Personally

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I received this reader comment a few weeks ago, and was so moved by it, that I wanted to feature it in this installment of “Dear Magnolia.”  The reader posted under the pseudonym “Heartbroken.” And perhaps that is why I was so touched by it.  I could hear the sorrow and pain in her words, […]

March 28, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

A Brief Comment on Comments

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If you are a woman coming to this blog, chances are pretty much 100% any comment you leave will be posted once you are past the initial moderation phase. If you are a first time commenter, your comment will always go into the moderation queue for me to approve it before it gets posted. If […]

February 15, 2015 CONTINUE READING →

Dear Magnolia……Not Every Woman Hates Their Husband in Perimenopause

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Today’s “Dear Magnolia” post is featuring a comment by a reader named Julie.  Julie left her comment in response to the post “Why Do Women Hate Their Husbands in Perimenopause: A Wife’s Perspective”  A post which featured another reader’s story where she explained why she decided to leave her marriage once she had started going […]

August 30, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Andropause: Treating Male Hormone Imbalance Naturally

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Today’s post is a guest post by Dr. Andre Berger, founder of Rejuvalife Vitality Institute in Beverly Hills, CA.  Dr Berger’s full bio can be found at the end of the post Male menopause is a term that doesn’t correctly describe the change of life men go through. Men don’t menstruate, so how can they stop having periods, […]

June 13, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

I’m Done. Really.

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Don’t worry. I’m not done with blogging.   I’m here for the duration. I’m done with men – not all of them, mind you. Just many of them which come to my blog. Let me explain: As many of you know, I started a new series a few weeks ago to focus on the book The […]


Menopause, Marriage & the Male Brain: The Teen Brain

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According to Dr. Louann Brizendine, if testosterone were beer, a 9-year old boy would get the equivalent of 1 cup a day. For teenage boys, however, the testosterone that washes over their body by the age of 15, would be equal to two gallons.   Yes, you read that right.  Two gallons of beer testosterone per day, […]


Menopause, Marriage & The Male Brain: More on the Boy Brain

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We left off in my last post on this series discussing attributes of boys during the pre-pubescent years, when their hormones (particularly testosterone and MIS: Müllerian inhibiting substance) are making neural pathways in their brain which “hardwire” male specific behavior and tendencies. While it is certainly true that the surge of testosterone during puberty – […]

March 28, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause, Marriage & The Male Brain: The Boy Brain

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For the sake of those who might just now be joining this series or reading this blog, let me state again the purpose and reason for this series. I receive a fair amount of traffic and communication from men who are looking for help in understanding perimenopause, how it affects their spouse/partner, and the impact […]

March 21, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause, Marriage & The Male Brain: What Makes a Man?

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I said in my first post in this series that we would begin with chapter one of The Male Brain. However, I’ve since decided to begin with the Introduction with an important note which will lay the foundation for this entire series. Dr. Brizendine, while very feminist in her point of view, is not a man-basher. In […]

March 20, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Menopause, Marriage, & The Male Brain

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Dr. Louann Brizendine is a doctor of psychiatry and neurobiology.  She is the founder and director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic in San Francisco, California. She is also the author of the books The Female Brain and The Male Brain.   I have referenced  The Female Brain  here many times, because in my opinion, it is one […]

March 5, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

The Female Brain The Male Brain: More on Perimenopause & Marriage

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Not surprisingly, the subject of perimenopause and marriage continues to be an evergreen topic here at The Perimenopause Blog. It is very evident to me this is a very serious and important topic which is not be being adequately addressed by much of anyone in any professional field. I wish I could say I had […]

January 24, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

How Can I Help My Wife in Perimenopause? A Conversation with a Reader Part II

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Part II of my conversation with Andy which was originally posted in 2010.   ******** Gentlemen, I sincerely hope you are finding the conversation between Andy and me helpful. As I read back through it I couldn’t help but notice once again, a tendency men have when it comes to menopause.  It is not something […]

December 23, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

How Can I Help My Wife in Perimenopause? A Conversation With a Reader – Part I

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This post was originally written in 2010.  Given that it is a perennial topic, I thought I would repost it again while I’m on a posting hiatus for the holiday season.  I plan to launch a new series for men in 2014.  Until then, perhaps these old posts can generate some some conversation ******** A […]

December 20, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

More on “Misogynist John” and Women’s Health

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Ever since I received the comment from “John”, who I now affectionately refer to as “the raging misogynist,” I’ve spent a fair amount of time (perhaps even too much time), thinking about men like him, who believe that women’s issues, whatever they may be, constitute “feminist bull.” I’m well aware that true misogynists like John […]

August 12, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Dear John(s)…….

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I’ve made a new decision regarding my comment policy. Going forward, raging, angry comments by men, against me or women in general, over what they have read here, will no longer be allowed.  They not only won’t even make it past the moderation process, but they will get blocked and banned with no questions asked. […]

August 8, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Why Do Wives Hate Husbands in Perimenopause? A Wife’s Perspective Part II

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The subject of perimenopause and marriage has been a hot one here at The Perimenopause Blog. Until recently, I have given men the floor, so to speak, by posting conversations I’ve had with a couple of men in hopes the dialogue would be useful and helpful for others. A couple of weeks ago I decided […]

July 23, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

Why do women hate their husbands in perimenopause? A wife’s perspective…..

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I thought I might do something a little different in this post series, by featuring a couple of comments from a woman (with her permission) who identified herself as SAH. SAH is in her late thirties, is married with two young children, and beginning to enter perimenopause.  Her comments are a  perfect illustration of the […]


If you want to help your wife in perimenopause……you can start by listening

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I can’t begin to put into words how much the topic of perimenopause and marriage is beginning to frustrate me. There is no one out there tackling this subject who is more earnest than I am in their efforts to help men understand perimenopause, I can assure you. Yet sometimes it feels like I am […]