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

by Magnolia on December 20, 2013

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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

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A few months ago, a reader by the name of “Andy” stopped by The Perimenopause Blog.  Andy left a comment in response to a post I had written and a conversation ensued between us that occurred over several days.

It was very typical of many other conversations I’ve had with  men who have also left comments or have contacted me privately via email seeking help with their wives who are in perimenopause. Because the conversation is so typical, I thought it would make an excellent post to include in the series “How Can I Help My Wife in Perimenopause?”

The original post that inspired the comment and subsequent conversation, was in response to some search engine data I had noticed where another husband had searched his way here trying to find out why his wife hated him since she had been in perimenopause.

Because the conversation took place in the comment section it is available for anyone to read that comes to this blog, so I am not violating any privacy or confidence by reprinting it here.  It is also quite lengthy and took place over several days, so I will reprint it in two parts.

I have edited out some impertinent chatter along with a few typos from the text, but for the most part the entire conversation begins here in Part I.

A Conversation Between Andy and Magnolia – Part I

Andy

My wife went through some traumatic experiences in her youth with her Mother. Once Perimenopause hit around two years ago (the beginning was major anxiety attacks), my wife transformed her relationship with her Mother to me treating me like a parent rather than a spouse. She’s in complete denial of perimenopause, but is over 50 and definitely in the age range.

She has gone through most of the apparent symptoms except for hot flashes over about a two year period. She also kept her days between periods on a calendar until the intervals started changing. I’ve never held her back in life and our I feel relationship prior to menopause was good for a twenty year marriage. We relied on each other and did a number of things together. After the start of perimenopause, we do mostly everything separately. There’s a lot more to this including some MLC periods that seem to have subsided.

My question is this-how do I know that this experience is mainly hormonal and eventually she will revert back to a more reasonable person or based on the article above that this is the result of a rocky relationship? I don’t want to wait up to ten years to discover the answer. She mentioned divorce several times the first year, but hasn’t in several months once I started agreeing to it.

She not only takes out her aggression on me, but on the kids, especially when I’m traveling for work. She is also angry with people at work and her family. I’ve brought up the word perimenopause a coupe of times in the past and she gets extremely angry. Why the denial when the alternative would mean some serious mental issues. I cannot reason with her and frankly, I’m at my wits end and on the fence in this relationship mainly because of the MLC issues. I’m focusing on keeping things as normal as possible for our older teenage kids and explaining what is happening. A number of men I know have gone through similar situations of craziness and basically say, life is short, it’s time to move on. There’s a lot more to this , but I tried to summarize the important parts.

Magnolia

Hello Andy

Thank you for being brave enough to speak up on this topic. I know it is very confusing to you. You are certainly not the first man that has come to my blog seeking help for perimenopause. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that my readership is likely 50/50, men/women, these days.

Perimenopause does not just affect women. It affects our relationships with everyone. And most certainly with our spouse. In some ways I understand the male response of “life is short, move on” because men tend to be problem solvers and seem to the have the capacity to “cut your losses”. Though I understand why you would feel that way, I don’t necessarily agree it is the more wise or compassionate way to look at the situation.

Menopause is a very real physical problem, not any different than say, cancer or some other life threatening illness. If your wife had brain cancer and suddenly turned into a “new and crazier version” of her old self, I don’t think you would be considering the advice, “life is short, move on”. I suspect you would dig in and remember the “through sickness and in health and for better or for worse” promise you both made.

My own personal theory on what makes menopause so difficult for everyone to deal with (us women too) is that because it’s not technically a “sickness”, we tend to think that we should be able to control it. Because it affects our emotional state, we are inclined to believe that “all you have to do is change your attitude” or “you choose how you want to look at things”, etc., etc.,

When really, we don’t any more choose to have hormonally induced mood swings than you choose to have facial hair grow on your face. Both are produced by hormones.

An interesting phenomenon in our culture these days are sex changes. It occurs by surgery and by hormone therapy. Men are taking large amounts of estrogen and becoming women and women are taking large amounts of testosterone and becoming men.

I can assure you, that if you were injected with the wacky hormonal imbalance that occurs to women during menopause you would feel a ‘wee bit out of sorts’

Of course, none of this means much I’m sure, if your wife is in complete denial. I find this phenomenon fascinating as well, because she is most definitely menopausal age and you are describing classic perimenopause symptoms. For her to be in denial seems completely absurd, yet, I’ve done the very same thing. I cannot explain to you why we cannot see the forest through the trees when it comes to perimenopause, but we often don’t. That is a fact.

However, the bigger question here, for you, right now is what can you do? One of the first thing I would suggest is that you arm yourself with solid information on perimenopause. You can find a list of the 35 symptoms here at this blog or really anywhere on the Internet these days.

I would suggest you pick up a good book that would explain what is happening physically and hormonally. A recent title I’ve been discussing on my blog is a good one to pick up, “Health, Hormones & Happiness” by Dr. Steven Hotze or perhaps even “The Female Brain Gone Insane” by Mia Lundin.

Once you have a good handle medically, perhaps you could present it to your wife. I realize you said she is in denial, but don’t let that stop you from presenting to her what is wrong.

Maybe it’s a combination of things, like hypothyroidism which is a common, oft overlooked effect of perimenopause and has many symptoms that women associate with perimenopause.

She needs to have the medical facts presented to her and encouraged to see a good, compassionate, knowledgeable physician to have her physical/emotional state evaluated.

Having raised two teens (as you are), it is very similar in many ways. When the adolescent hormones begin, they go a bit loopy for a few years. I’ve certainly had horrible clashes when my teens during the worst of their physical changes and it was rough going. However, knowing that it was in part, at least, hormonally based, enabled me to keep my head and ride the storms. That would be my best advice to you.

Keep your head.

Please, as a woman who has been through perimenopause and is still in that place at times, do not tell her she is crazy, think that she is crazy or approach her in that manner. Women are VERY sensitive to that sort of thing, Andy. So many of us have experienced dismissive attitudes from men or male physicians when it comes to our emotional state and it can be maddening. so, that she would become angry with you for suggesting that she’s a “bit unbalanced”, does not surprise me. I felt the same rush of anger toward my husband when he suggested that I ‘just get a grip’

And finally, it has been suggested by a few of my informed readers that old emotional and psychological wounds and issues seem to resurface during menopause. Yet, just another phenomenon I find completely fascinating because I’ve experienced it myself. So, what you have described with your wife and her childhood issues seems relevant to me.

It could very well be that she is now trying to understand some psychological issues that she effectively buried for most of her life and now perimenopause is unearthing some of those things and she’s not prepared to cope with them.

 

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad June 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Hi My wife was complaining of symptoms she was having that matched menopause when she looked them up. Everything was great between us for 35 years together. I love her like crazy and do everything around the house and cook for her after working all day. She was always my princess and i wanted her to feel treated like one. After 2 months of me worrying about her and telling her she she see a doctor, She just left and i came home from work to a note that said she loves me but not in love with me anymore. Said I’ve changed and don’t try to find of call her she will not be speaking to me anymore and i should just get used to it and move on. I have been a train wreck for months now without my love and don’t understand any of it. Will she possibly change her mind after menopause and come home or am i doomed to live with out my little sweetheart?

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Magnolia June 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Brad,

I’m sorry that you have been blindsided by your wife leaving. Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question for you. Only your wife will be able to tell you if she will return or not.

Without knowing much about your situation other than what you have told me here, which is very little, I can’t really offer much in terms of how perimenopause may or may not be a factor in the situation.

I can tell you that many couples do successfully navigate menopause and their marriage remains in tact. Others, unfortunately, do not. It is hard to say which marriage or which marriage won’t. But, I can say that it does demand that *both* people get involved in the situation and work through it together.

A lot of men do not feel they should or even want to change when their wife changes. Personally, I think that is a huge mistake.

I do hope you and your wife can be one of the couples who make it through menopause.

Magnolia

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Sheila from Manchester June 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

I was in the same mind as the many women’s stories I have read since I was told I was pre menopausal ,It felt like I was going “crazy” as stated by some of the partners of these women , why do I have less patience , why do I feel so disconnected from the needs of my family and husband ?.My mood was low and everything was such a chore,my doctor suggested that I may be depressed as this In his opinion was ” very common In women of my age “, It just didn’t feel right to me, I was still able to meet my work and family commitments I just didn’t feel fulfilled by them any more.
then I read an article by Jenny Murray titled ‘ Why all men should fear the menopause’, then It all made sense , I wasn’t mad I was sad , It wasn’t depression It felt more like oppression ,
It’s not called the change of life for nothing ladies , I was changing so It was everyone else who had to accept the new improved me , yes I did say improved.
Its a big misunderstanding (In my opinion of course ) that women are some how static creatures In the way they think and feel until the dreaded decline In their hormones occurs , then they are seen to have been robbed of their womanly attributes a sort of female castration .
but after reading Jenni Murray’s article I couldn’t disagree more .
just like In our teenage years we go through changes , we have the great serge of hormones and this now begins the you , new thoughts feelings and behaviours all dictated to us by hormones , we don’t apologise for these changes , our loved ones feel the child to be gone and wait for a new improved version of our selves to emerge.
The hormones women have In our fertile years are all designed to make us more inclined to nurture and be less inclined to put our own needs before the needs of the family, become the glue and the peace makers, taking happiness from giving.
All that was happening to me was the third stage of my evolution. just like the child I left behind when I became a women, It’s not to be feared It’s to be embraced.
Just because I didn’t want to run around after everyone or keep quiet when I was unhappy didn’t mean I was crazy or depressed. Once I accepted this It was a lot easier ( not easy but easier ).
If your man can see It as getting a new improved woman, with new demands and needs and less distracted by the needs of the (more than capable) grown up children or the laundry . he will eventually enjoy a new life with you exploring new adventures new hobbies and maybe a much more fulfilling sex life .
from caterpillar to butterfly to an elegant swan.
Sheila from Manchester.

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Dale August 4, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Hi My wife is going through pre-menopause but refuses to admit it to me (not sure what she admits to herself). I suspect she doesn’t admit anything to anyone with regards to it being something that is happening to her other then it’s my fault.

She has told me she has hot flashes a lot but claims “they make me feel nice and warm”. She has told me many times about the very heavy and strange periods she is experiencing. So, she has basicly admitted to going towards menopause, but says it is not effecting her in a negative way.

Oh, we also don’t have sex anymore as she says she is not into it. Oh, she also says she doesn’t like any of my family (brothers or Dad) anymore. However, “if she’s correct” pre-menopause symptoms are “not” the problem, “I am”. She also says her relationship with me is “the only relationship” she struggles with.

However, she does now “hate her job” she has done for the past 20 years. We have 4 children, two from a previous marriage of hers and two together. I came into the first two boys lives when they were 2 & 3 years old and have been “the Dad” ever since.

Their biological father has contacted them when they were little a couple of times but basiclly doesn’t want to be a dad (so I am their Dad). I haven’t always been the best Dad but have always loved ALL four children equally. Lately my wife says “you are a terrible father” and the children would be better off without you in their lives.

She has also said other “mean” things to me over the last couple years that hurt a lot. Basicly she still is a good mom and gets along with all the kids. Just not me most of the time. I would say however, there are days when she seems “really nice to me”.

Which I am getting really confused with because just as I start to get a bit of confidence again, she turns into the “Big B” again. Help, I am going crazy trying to figure out what is wrong. Is it “really me” or is it the pre-menopause?

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Magnolia August 5, 2013 at 8:53 am

Hello Dale,

Before I go into any specific detail let me answer your question directly…”Is it me, or is it the pre-menopause”

I would answer that this way: It could be both.

From what you’ve told me, it does in deed sound like your wife is going through perimenopause. Her refusal to admit it is not so much about being contrary, but she probably honestly doesn’t realize that she is. I know that sounds peculiar, but it’s not like perimenopause just turns on like a switch.

If it did, women wouldn’t be confused about it. They wouldn’t be experiencing all the symptoms, yet come here to this blog and ask me if they are.

It is a very gradual process with the occasional odd symptom that makes you go, “Hmmm” but it’s not always crystal clear what the symptoms are rooted in. So, there’s that aspect of it.

The other aspect of it is that, yes, it does affect our perceptions and outlook on life. Much like PMS does when we’re getting regular cycles. So, it is highly likely that everything you are seeing, is in deed the result of hormonal shifts.

Now, having said that, let me also make this VERY clear…….perimenopause doesn’t make a good marriage bad. It’s important that you understand that. Many men, probably 90% which come to this blog, actually believe that they’ve had this perfect marriage, and then out of the blue, here comes this woman with this hormone stuff and just ruins everything.

I hear it over and over and over again.

And it’s as erroneous for you to think that was, as it is for her to say she’s not going through perimenopause. One gentleman came here a few years ago and made a brilliant observation. He said, “I now realize that perimenopause didn’t cause my marital problems, it shined a light on them”

And he was right.

So, whatever issues you’ve had in your marriage, were likely happily tucked away while your wife wasn’t experiencing monumental shifts in her hormonal landscape, if you will. But, now that she has, those problems (which have likely been there for a long time) have now been unpacked and laid out on the marital table.

You’ve stated that “you haven’t always been the best dad”

That’s clue number one to me that you two have had issues. As a woman who brought two children into a marriage with a man I was married to for nearly 15 years, I know EXACTLY what those issues can be like.

So, when you say “you haven’t always been the best dad” I’m willing to bet the farm, she has told you this A LOT over the course of the marriage, and that you have had more than your share of issues over her children.

So, without going on and on over this…..let me say it again: Yes, it *is* partially her going through perimenopause.

The *other* part are the issues that have likely been a part of your marriage and relationship for a very long time, that she is now ready (rightly or wrongly, fairly or not) to address.

Magnolia

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Patrick December 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

Hello, I appriciate your frank discussion about perimenopause and that the woman herself does not have control over it. Most of the time I’m ok with being the strong one and try to comfort my wife. In the beginning I pushed back a lot becasue she was always yelling at me about her feelings. Most of the time I can wait, I try to dig deep and not “listen” to all the junk that is coming out, like things that happened 25 years ago. She was abused growing up and I’m sure becasue she never sought treatment for the abuse, that it is playing a roll in what is going on. I will try to dig deeper and pray she doesn’t leave me and the kids.

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Magnolia December 18, 2013 at 11:58 am

I understand that you would push back, Patrick. No one likes to be yelled at or expected to continue to take bullets for the betterment of the family, when others don’t seem to understand their role in the problems.

As a mom who has raised two teens (and another one who is currently a teen), I understand how difficult it is to have to rise above the circumstances and ‘do the right thing’ when no one is noticing or even seems to care one way or the other.

I want to say again that I am not here to make excuses for women. I do not believe we have a right to behave any damn way wish and pull the “hormone card” as our free hallway pass. I do believe we have to recognize how hormones and perimenopause is affecting our behavior, and very often our perspective, and take responsibility for it.

But, the thing I want very much to get across – to men especially – is that we really are not getting up everyday and making a conscious decision to be a raging bitch, or a cold fish, or any of the other symptoms that arise as a result of our hormones. It is as difficult for us as it is for those around us. And if we are even slightly sensitive to those who are being affected by our “issues” then it can be even more difficult.

I can tell you how much guilt I carried around from the years of screaming and yelling at my poor children who just happened to be in the line of fire during my own years of perimenopause. They did nothing to deserve my outbursts, yet they were all too often deeply affected by it. It was very hard for them to watch their mother be out of control, and I know it.

I am now way past those years. I am nearly 60 years old. I do not have mood swings any longer. I rarely get my nose out of joint over day to day stresses – and believe me, I have PLENTY. In fact, far more than I did back then. So, that tells me that my inability to manage and cope, was directly tied to my hormone imbalance.

I am very sorry that this is difficult for you and your family. Believe me when I say that I know how bad it can be. And while I can’t give you a magic bullet answer, I *can* explain how this stuff works, and the impact it has on women.

Hopefully, in doing so, you can figure out the best course of action for you and your family.

Magnolia

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Charles January 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Magnolia

It seems I’ve joined a group of other confused husbands and it’s really confusing and hard to understand it. These blogs have helped understand a lot so here’s my story.

My story is so similar to most that it’s freaky. I’ve been married for 17 years and we really had a great relationship for the first 14. We truly had a great marriage, we loved each other and told each other daily, we told how important we were for each other, that sort of romantic life. We traveled together often and were intimate very often, which I now miss deeply. We have 2 children, entering teenage years. We’ve always been great parents, and our children are very happy. We had our disagreements, but I guess they were similar to most couples and we always had a lot of respect for one another and shared each other deeply.

A few years ago I handled an issue at my business that my wife did not approved. It was an issue that did touched us emotionally (her specially) but it turned out to be a great breaking point for the future of my company. She felt I did not support her that time and felt betrayed by me. I never felt that way, I felt I did what I had to do in order to save my business, but never out of lack of respect for her. I just handled things different than she would. That began changing everything in our relationship.

During that first year I saw a transformation in her. She started doing things to feel liberated, she developed a stronger character and became very selfish. She became rougher and sometimes mean. She began questioning her beliefs and some of our old friends. Now she started re-engaging with high school girl friends and new friends (female work related) and she won’t let me be a part of that. Sometimes she looses her temper very quickly and screamed a lot when she got mad at the children. Even the children ask me about this sometime. Now she has mood swings and hot flashes. Our intimacy, that was getting weaker, has slumped almost completely (this is making me very anxious). During the last few months I felt she’s been pushing me down and closing doors on me to the point that I began questioning how long I could hang on to this relationship. All of this caused a lot of emotional and physical separation.

The first years of this, I was very defensive about everything until I began reading and realized she could be going through perimenapause. After I learned this, I changed my ways with her and started being very supporting and loving. Now I kiss her and hug her every chance I get. I tell her how much I love her (I really do!), even though I don’t get a response back. Most of the time she returns my kisses and hugs and I really feel she loves me but a few weeks ago she began talking about separation and divorce. She told me for the first time she’s not in love with me, that broke my heart.

I’ve learned through some of these blogs that this is not personal, and that I should learn to understand what she’s going through. I’m doing so and since I’ve been more lovable with her, she seems more comfortable and happy with me, but she still wants to move forward with our separation. This is where I need help!

We have 2 boys in a critical stage of their lives and I’m not sure she has really consider all the damage this will do to them. Our children don’t know what’s going on and all they see is a father and mother that love each other and spend every chance they get with them. If we throw this at them it will destroy them, I know them, they are very attached to us and this will be devastating. Also, I’m not sure if she has considered that, if we get divorce and find new partners we will have to deal with their children, ex-spouses and all of the problems they carry along. All of this to find out a few years from now that the new spouse is not perfect either.

I don’t think she really values what she has right now. Also, I’m confused because she keeps talking about a separation but returns all of my hugs and kisses, she even initiates them sometimes. Anyone that knows us wouldn’t even think we’re having marital issues. We even talk sometimes about our family future plans with the kids and so on. I’m not sure what’s going on and I haven’t told anyone about this so yes, I am desperate.

Any advise would be very helpful.

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Magnolia January 13, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Hi Charles,

Yes, your story is very similar to many stories that I hear here at The Perimenopause Blog, and privately as well. Can I ask you a few questions to perhaps stimulate some thought in you?

When you say your wife felt betrayed by you, but you didn’t feel that way, how did you handle that? Were you dismissive with her? Did you take the position that since the outcome was good, here feelings of betrayal were therefore not important? In other words, did the end justify the means at the expense of your wife feeling deeply betrayed by you?

Is this something she has brought up since then? Does it ever come up in conversation? Even in passing? Has that issue been resolved and have you taken the time to go deep enough into how SHE felt, rather than looking at the outcome for your business?

You also mentioned that during the first years of perimenopause (how many years?) you were defensive. In what ways? How defensive were you? Did you dismiss her again? What exactly did you do? How long did you do it?

Once you realized that you *had* been defensive, did you ever discuss your behavior with her? Did you ever step up and acknowledge that perhaps you may have mistreated her? Did you ask her how SHE felt about your behavior? Do you even want to know?

Or did you simply just start changing your behavior? If you did simply change your behavior, did you expect that since you have, she should acknowledge that? Has she complained that you won’t listen to her? Has she tried to talk to you about how you have treated her, but you won’t listen?

Do you feel that your change in behavior is the important part?

There are reasons I’m asking these questions, Charlie. The answer to these questions will enable me to provide more information for you.

Magnolia

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Charles January 14, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Magnolia

Thanks for your quick response. Let me answer your questions.

– My wife felt betrayed because she said I didn’t protect her by making the drastic decision of breaking up with one of my partners when we found out about what he had done. What he did was basically a joke that got out of hand. He was implying that I was involved romantically with an employee, which I wasn’t. What I wanted to do was to strike him at the time but a partnership break up at that moment would of finished my hard earned business and I couldn’t afford that. We broke our partnership a year later anyway more peacefully and the business survived but she still felt I didn’t protect her.

We have discussed this a million times, among us, with friends, and eventually with therapists. I always tell her that I was trying to protect our relationship since if I was terrified to end up unemployed for a while and she would loose respect for me. I have to note that something very similar happened to a close friend and he ended up divorcing, and that really twisted my perception of things, it made me scared. So my decision was to end the partnership on the long term and save my business. Still, i guess, she expected to see her man defending her. We haven’t talked about this in over 6 months, now we’re dealing with the “falling out of love part” but I’m sure she still recents my decision.

Going back to the symptoms I now know, I believe she has been through perimenapause for the last 3 years but last year was the worst.

I was defensive to all the changes. Frequent trips to seminars and with friends. Activities that we used to do together, now she did them with friends. A lot of texting with her friends. Although now I’m used to all this, when it started it made me distant. We argued some but not much but it did made me distant. I ignored her, didn’t talk much, didn’t look for her much. Now I know that made things worse.

No we have not talked about my defensiveness, perhaps its a good idea.

I started changing my behavior when I realized the possibility that she was going through perimenapause (after we first talked about separation a month ago). I started not to take things personal and began to support her with more affection and by listening more. So far it has worked and she responds to that affection. Now I sit and listen more and she has opened up but she still talks about the separation. I tell her that perhaps we should give it more time. I tell her I know she loves be because I feel her. Even though she doesn’t respond with words, she responds with physical affection (non-sexual)

I feel closer to her and she seems happier since I changed my behavior but, again, she still wants to separate.

Any thoughts?

Charles

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Magnolia January 14, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Hi Charlie,

So when you say you’ve talked about the issue with your former business partner with your wife, friends, therapists, etc., how was it discussed? Has she come away from those discussions feeling like she wasn’t *really* heard? Have you been, and are you, empathetic with her feelings, or do you justify your actions to her?

Has she said anything to that effect? Because if she has, or if you have done that, I can see why it would *still* be an ongoing issue with her. If your wife has never been convinced that you *really* understand and care how the betrayal hurt her, then it will be a hurt that remains. It doesn’t really matter how much you talk about it, what matters is what you say and how you respond when you do talk about it.

So, you can spend hours and hours and hours “talking” about it, and never convince her that you care. Therefore, it will be a wound that remains raw.

I obviously do not know all of the finer details of this issue. I am simply providing some insight into how women think and when we’ve been hurt. If we are not convinced that you REALLY care and understand the hurt, it just never goes away. Yes, we can shove it to the side and carry on. But, it will linger. I know that men do not understand this about women. However, it is still very true about women.

So, please take from it what you will.

I think it is good that you are taking steps to change. That is very important, and I do think your wife should recognize that. We all want to know that are efforts are appreciated, and certainly yours should be acknowledged. I’m just curious, however, as to why she would keep bringing up a separation. That tells me that there is some unfinished business with her.

I am also glad that you have been able to separate the perimenopause from the marital issues. Because as you know if you’ve read my blog, I’ve said it over and over again…..perimenopause does not make a good marriage bad. It does not create marital problems that did not exist before. But, it sure will shine a light on them.

So, I think it’s good that you can see these two elements as separate, because they are. Perimenopause most certainly can exacerbate issues and problems. I’ll give you that. But, as you already know, the marital issues didn’t have anything to do with her hormones.

The most important thing I would like you to take away from this discussion is that you need to get to the bottom of what the problems are. And when you are discussing them with your wife, you need to be very careful to not be dismissive. Do not tell her that her feelings are “silly” or “irrational” or that it doesn’t make sense.

That is probably one of the biggest mistakes that men make in their communication with women. Women have a deep emotional need to be understood, validated, and loved. We need to know that our pain and suffering is not being passed off as foolish or unimportant. If you do that to a woman, Charlie, she won’t forget. I can assure you of that.

Magnolia

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Charles January 14, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Magnolia

To answer your initial question: Yes, she has come away as if she wasn’t really heard and I always did tried to justify my actions. I probably understand that better than ever now, after reading so many women books and information (I read “Female Brain” and all these blogs.)

After 3 years of this happening and so many changes in between, would you recommend to bring it up again, of course in a sympathetic and understanding way. Will it be too late?

What do you mean she has “unfinished business” after bringing the “separation” issue so much.

Thank you!

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Magnolia January 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm

It’s not too late if she’s still under the same roof with you. So you have that in your favor.

In terms of how to bring it up, obviously you want to be thoughtful about the timing. But, you definitely need to do that.

If your wife is talking about a separation, then there *is** unfinished business. You are going to need to get to what that is if you want to salvage your marriage.

I’m not suggesting that you have to eat dirt. But, if you have made her feel as if you were more concerned about protecting your pride and ego, than caring for how you hurt her, then you will have some work to do.

Please understand that I do not believe that women are above reproach in relationships. Clearly, we are not. I’m simply trying to explain to you *why* women do what they do sometimes.

I’m also bringing in some observations I’ve made here at my blog, and of course, my personal experience as well.

I will tell you without any equivocation whatsoever, that if my husband had ever, just once, REALLY demonstrated to me that he cared about the things that mattered to me, we would not be divorced.

That’s a fact.

Magnolia

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Charles January 14, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Wow, that’s powerful knowledge. I’ll let you know my outcome in a few days. Thank you!

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Charles January 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Magnolia

First of all, thanks for your knowledge and advise. It’s been very helpful to understand all that’s happening. It explain situations that other family and friends are going through as well.

In my situation, last week I was feeling pushed by my wife to the point that I decided to leave the house. It was not an easy decision to leave my home, wife and kids but I felt that if I didn’t, it would make matters worse on the long run. My wife reacted very surprised.

The first two days after I left she was very sad, scared and confused. She cried more in 2 days than she has in the past 2 years. She asked why the hurry?, event though she was the one forcing this issue for the past months. She seemed she wanted me to come back, not just for the kids. By the way, the kids were very sad the first day but have been getting better. They seem sad and sometimes anxious.

On the other hand, I have been feeling liberated and for the first time in a few years, I feel I have control of the situation. Now, when I look back to all that’s happened and all the changes she made, it also makes me angry that I took all that heat that sometimes resulted in insults and deceptions.

I opened up and she listened for the first time in years. I told her that in order for me to consider returning she will have to forgive and forget everything she understands I did that broke her heart (By the way, I told her once again that I was sorry I hurt her feelings when I made that decision 3 years ago, which she hasn’t forgiven and its what began this transformation). I also told her that things will have to change in her behavior, she will have to make me her priority in life, otherwise this is not a true marriage.

Right now I feel sad for not having my kids, but my wife is reaching out by helping me keep in touch when she’s with them. My focus are my kids but I do feel she wants to make this marriage work. I’m trying not to feel too optimist about that because right now she’s acting this way but tomorrow could be another story. It’s been 2 years of these mood swings and it’s what made my life miserable.

I told her I miss the woman I married, she said she does also. I’m going day by day, trying not to get excited about things. I’m thinking a lot about me and what I want to do. I know this is going to take time but truly, if I don’t see significant changes and compromises in her part, I’m not returning.

Charles

Bradley December 22, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Very well. That completes so much of the puzzle for me.
Waiting for the next part.

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Marc January 21, 2014 at 12:10 am

Magnolia,
I have reviewed some of these posts, and I truly pray that you can help me. in November 2012 my wife started having menstrual changes and had her annual pap in January 2013. For months she tracked and detailed her new menstrual cycles, and she was different at times, moody, quick to get frustrated, etc..

At the end of February 2013 she attended a training at work and in late April & May, the trainer, a married excommunicated Mormon, with a wife and three young children, ages 6, 4, and 8 months old began to pay more than the usual attention to her, and though he and his wife refinanced their house in May, he began to pursue my wife by going out to “innocent” lunches, which turned into discussions about his so called failed marriage, and my wife reciprocated with tales of unhappy marriage as well, problems I never knew we had.

The bottom line is she became attracted to him, and she actually told me that she didn’t understand why she was becoming attracted to him, because we have been married, tomorrow Jan. 21st – 19 years, and she could not explain her feelings, but she became intimate with him, lying to her boss to go in to work late to meet him at a hotel in the mornings, or taking the afternoon off to supposedly go to the doctor, so she told her boss, to spend time with him, if not at a hotel, driving to the beach in a rented exotic car that he would rent for the day.

This went on from May to Sept. before I found out and confronted her while on an Alaskan cruise as to why she seemed so distant and spent a lot of spare time reading the book, “The Great Gatsby”. She admitted to having an affair, and after a long discussion, we agreed to rely on our faith and I agreed to forgive her provided she ended it. She agreed, however when she saw him at work, she told him she couldn’t stop. The next couple of month, Sept-Nov. I made many changes, and we spent a lot of time together, and she could see significant changes and commented as such.

However I didn’t know that not only did she not break it off, but she was now paying for the hotel rooms because he couldn’t anymore because his wife found out first, and filed for divorce immediately, because this is the fourth time he has cheated on her, the first three she forgave him and tried to work things out because of her faith and beliefs, and he was excommunicated for his actions.

My wife late in November didn’t come home from work one day, after I found out it was still going on, and we spent the entire weekend trying to work things out and she agreed to finally end it, and I agreed once again to forgive her and move forward. His wife informed me that the plan was already in motion that she would leave me, they would hide out until Thanksgiving Day and off to Florida to spend a day in Florida, and then off on a 7 day Carribean Cruise to escape all the drama to let things calm down.

The day after they returned she came home to pack her bags, as they were moving into their apartment together. The saddest thing is that we talked, and she couldn’t explain her feelings other than she loves me, and cares for me, but she is not in love with me anymore, and then tells me that problems we had in our marriage 15 years ago, were never resolved, even though she told me they were, and we traveled, we did volunteer work and had what I and everyone who knows us consider to have a perfect relationship. I was blindsided to say the least.

She told me that she still wants me in her life as her friend, and that she is not sure if this relationship will work out or not, or if her feelings will change towards me or towards resuming our faith, but if it does change, she would like to come back to me and try our relationship again. She had told me that I have become a better man than I was even before we first got married, 19 years ago.

We still spend time together, having lunch, having dinner, and when were together we hold hands, we kiss, but we don’t make love of course, because she obviously feels that she would be betraying him. Her living arrangements with him are 50/50, however this past month, she paid the rent in full, and I believe that he is just using her, as he has from the very beginning. She met with the doctors in July of this year because of her menstrual issues and other symptoms, and they told her she is perimenopausal and has a hormone imbalance and has for the past 9 months prior.

I will tell you that over the last 9 months my wife has done things completely out of character for her completely. She basically gave up on our marriage, our family, her family, all of our friends, our congregation and our God. There are a couple days where we don’t talk, text, etc. and then she will send me a text asking me to go to lunch, and if I ask to go to a movie, she’ll go with me.

The Lover knows about our time together, and thinks it weird that I still want to spend time with her, but I love her, and she doesn’t want to pursue a divorce, she says if her feelings for me change, or if her feelings for him change, or if she wishes to return to God, she wants to come back to me. Some say she wants her cake and eat it too, but others say that she is confused due to her clinical condition and that there is still hope for us.

She did mention that she did lose some interest in me physically because I put on a lot of weight, however now I have lost 54 lbs and work out twice a day, and eat healthier, and in the best shape of my life. She has complimented me many times, and has even made the comment that I am almost to a point that she can be attracted to me again.

She said she has seen all the improvements and changes, but her feelings haven’t changed towards me yet. Is she waiting to see if her feelings towards me will eventually change in my favor? Is she just trying this out to see if this is what she really wants? Is her MLC affair going to end? Is she still confused and teetering between him and me, and seeing what situation will be better in the long run. With me there is stability, trust, loyalty, etc., with him none of that exists, which may mean she doesn’t really trust him, and her love for him is just that chemical reaction from a new exciting things, disguised as love.

I just want to know if there is any hope for me. I still love my wife and wish to take her back should she wish to come back, no questions asks. Truly. Tomorrow I am picking her up from her apartment, taking her to the airport and flying to Las Vegas to spend the day and have our anniversary dinner at our favorite restaurant that we go to every year. She has not idea where we are going. I planned everything, limos, penthouse suite for the day to get changed from casual to dressing attire. She bought a new dress for the occasion and all. Do we still love each other?

Please advise. Thank you.

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Magnolia January 21, 2014 at 5:17 am

Marc,

I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult time. Just reading through all of this is painful for *me*, and I am not going through it. As much as I want to be able to give you an answer that will clear up all of the confusion, hurt, and pain, I just cannot. Only your wife has the power to decide what she is going to do in your marriage to her.

When we feel vulnerable, we sometimes do desperate things. Especially if there is a lot at stake. So, I understand that you want to do everything in your power to salvage your marriage and keep your family intact. However, if I were to advise you on anything, it would be that you do not sacrifice your dignity and self-respect to maintain the marriage.

Your wife is clearly very confused and not making good decisions. Why she is doing it, I do not know. I will tell you that it has nothing to do with perimenopause. Yes, perimenopause can cause different mood changes, and other issues, but it doesn’t cause marital problems in the magnitude you are sharing here. Plus, you have said she told you that there were issues in your marriage that were never resolved.

I do not know why she would say they were if they weren’t. So, I would only be guessing to try and offer an explanation, and that would be unfair to you. I also cannot tell you if you and your wife are still in love, or if your marriage will survive this. As a fundamentally hopeful person, my inclination is to say “yes” I believe it can, because I believe that anything is possible.

However, it requires that both parties be in agreement and are willing to work through the issues. Clearly, that is not the circumstances you are dealing with right now, however. Your wife is very confused and is behaving in a very irrational manner. While she is seeing this man, I do not see that you are going to be able to put your marriage back together. For you to try to win her over with money, trips, cruises, etc., is in my view, a waste of time, money, and resources.

You are only going to feel even more betrayed and disappointed. I don’t see any good coming out of it.

If your wife is truly interested in reconciling, she is going to have to demonstrate a radical change in her behavior and attitudes. Cutting off the relationship with the serial cheater is only the first step. Until he is completely out of the picture, I don’t see things getting much better for you.

Magnolia

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Marc January 22, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Magnolia, thank you for your response.

I will tell you that we had a very enjoyable time on our anniversary and I explained to her that I did this trip to touch her heart by letting her know the kind of man that I am, I have become, and the changes I still continue to make.

She also admitted to still having in her heart a small measure of love for me, and though she cannot reassure me that her feelings from that will grow stronger or not, she continues to want to spend time together, and what she told me also was that if that were to happen, the fact that we still have a relationship would make reconciliation an easier process.

Though I realize that her decisions are ridiculous to say the least, I still love her, and I would take her back and forgive her for what she has done. I told her that I felt the only way she would return to me is if she was attracted to me again, and allowed herself to act on those emotions, because I could not see him making a mistake at this point to hurt her in anyway.

However the other variables, as far as the financial strain that is on the horizon for him, and raising children again at her age, could also put a strain on their relationship and she feels that if their relationship is strong enough, they can weather the storm, however they have yet to have any arguments at all since the inception of this relationship, so it has never been tested.

I really don’t know where I go from here to be honest. Should I just cut her off, walk away, and let her suffer with her decision and move on? She told me yesterday, that she doesn’t know what the future holds and she wants to continue our friendship, and continue to move forward, but not to move on.

I asked her if it was because she is waiting to see if her feelings for him or for me change, one way or the other, and she told me she wasn’t sure, yet she told me she does still love me, and has love for me in her heart.

So confusing… please advise

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Magnolia January 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Hello again, Marc,

I am a big believer in maintaining one’s personal dignity and self-respect. I know that when we love people, sometimes we are more directed by our feelings and emotions which can be very powerful and very strong.

However, sometimes we have to make a decision based on principle and what we value the most. To me, that is my self respect. I could never stay in a relationship where I felt I was being used and disrespected.

Your wife sounds very confused and deluded, frankly. She sounds like she wants to have her cake and eat it too, if you will please forgive the tired cliche.

However, she can only carry out pain upon you that you allow. I don’t want to advise you to do anything specifically.

I would only say that perhaps you need to ask yourself what you are willing to accept. And with that acceptance, what cost are you also willing to accept with that decision.

With that, make your decision as to what you think you should do.

Magnolia

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Marc January 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Thank you.

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Philip January 28, 2014 at 8:57 am

I am in the same situation and desperate to keep my family together.

I have lived with 2 years of anger, spite, being deliberately hurtful, and watched her on the road to self destruction. No apologies whatsoever as she cannot possibly be wrong.

Her mother when she was approximately the same age (now deceased) turned on her father and was angry, spiteful and dissatisfied with everything about her life. My wife swore that she would not turn into her mother.

We have 2 beautiful kids, an almost Idyllic lifestyle but I have to go away and work for about 6 months every year, however, the monetary rewards are significant. It is always on a ship so for 24 hours a day I am on a tin prison bit have always been happy to d it to provide a secure and happy home life.

My wife has always been the organiser and enjoyed being the stay at home mum. All the time I was away she would keep me up to date with family life and understood how hard it was for me to leave home, especially when the kids were younger (they are now 13 & 15)

Now, the person I love has had a complete personality inversion. All the things tat were important now aren’t. All the goals we had in life are now irrelevant. There is no US, just her and what she wants.

I have told her how much I love her but it makes no difference. She replied once “Well, you have a funny way of showing it” funnily enough, the exact same words and tone that my daughter used when she was 11 and coming into puberty.

4 years ago, she was diagnosed with skin cancer and after a couple of minor ops, she has been clear with no other complications. At the same time, the kids left for boarding school during the week so was on her own while I was away. She always said it was not a problem and she enjoyed her own company. But over the past 3 years she has before more and more distant, spending more and more money to the extent that I am now heavily in debt and have to work more and more.

Summer 2012, She started treating me as if I was just something to be angry at. No apologies just do as she said and shut up. This got worse and on 21st Dec 2012, she announced that we were over, left the marital bed and now lives in the house extension and occasionally comes out when the kids are here at the weekends. Her idea is that we look after the kids in shits. When I am at home, she will be gone and only return when I start working again. She did say in 2012 ” I know this has come as a bit of a shock”. An understatement

She is having at least one affair that I know of and despite my pleadings, letters (factual and pointing out the consequences of what she is doing) deaf ears. I suggested premenopause and gave the example of her mother. That went well and resulted in a real outburst.

I know that she is having an affair (or more than one) and has declared that she doesn’t love me, hasn’t for years and it’s all my fault. I thought we had a really good marriage.
She is constantly angry (if I stand in the wrong place, if I sneeze, whatever I do, it makes her angry). She denies being angry and states life is hopeless and she is trapped. There is absolutely no dialog between us as she cannot see that she is doing anything wrong.

I can’t see any future anymore and am on the verge of simply giving up. It has taken it’s toll.

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Magnolia January 28, 2014 at 10:31 am

Hello Phillip,

Let me begin by saying that if your wife is having affairs, there are deep and serious issues in your marriage. I do not condone affairs, and quite frankly, in my opinion, there is never a reason good enough for anyone to carry them out.

That said, I know that people do not have affairs for “no reason” unless they are true sociopaths or narcissists with absolutely no regard for others. I do believe it is possible for people to be duped by another person, to be completely and totally deceived. It definitely happens, and those people are true victims of another person’s conniving and evil ways.

However, this doesn’t sound like your marriage. You said that you have had an “idyllic” marriage. So, that says that for a time anyway, you were happy with your wife, loved her, trusted her, and built a life with her. I am assuming that you did this because you believed she was a good person? However, now she has run off the rails and is behaving in irrational ways (according to what I’ve read here) and you are completely and totally mystified as to why she would ever do these things? Is that correct?

So, are you of the opinion that you have not failed your wife in anyway? Are you of the opinion that you have never disappointed her, never hurt her, never failed to meet her needs throughout your near idyllic marriage?

I am asking these questions because it is simply too difficult for me to accept that a normal, healthy, happy woman (which she must have been for quite sometime in your marriage or you wouldn’t have described your marriage as idyllic) would throw her entire life away on a whim.

I certainly respect your point of view. And I do not doubt that if she is going through perimenopause that she could very likely behave in a very hostile and angry way. Estrogen dominance can certainly affect how a woman behaves. That is a fact.

It’s just that when I read these stories, it is always the same……..let me say this again……it is ALWAYS the same. I hear this: We had a perfect life, a perfect marriage, a perfect family, and my wife went crazy and destroyed everything.

Here’s what I have a tough time believing Phillip……that you had a perfect life, a perfect marriage, a perfect family, an idyllic life free from strife, free from stress, free from marital struggles. Because even the best marriages have struggles.

The question is……what is it that drove your wife to go crazy and begin to behave this way? Why would she randomly start having affairs? I must be honest though…..I don’t believe for one minute it is random.

There *is* a reason.

I do not want to dismiss your wife’s behavior or sound like I’m blaming you for what she is doing. I am not. Like I said, I don’t ever believe there is an excuse good enough to justify infidelity. If someone is so unhappy that they feel driven to have an affair, I say leave the marriage. Affairs are just unacceptable to me.

So, I certainly *do* hold her responsible for having an affair, and I don’t believe you deserve or should be blamed for it. Period.

But, I want to get to the bigger picture in this situation, and I don’t believe you had an idyllic marriage. YOU may have defined it that way. But, how did SHE define it?

Until I hear that part, I just can’t accept that your rendering of your perfect marriage and life is the entire story.

Magnolia

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Philip February 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Hello Magnolia,

Thanks for replying.

You are correct in your assessment and idyllic does not really exists. It is a matter of perception (men vs women) but we have (until ‘relatively’ recently) never really argued and lived a peaceful but fulfilled life. (well I thought so anyway)

Whatever the ultimate trigger, there WAS something building inside for years without me being aware of the ‘seriousness’. (I am not one for confrontation and generally just go with the flow and agree).

On reflection, I can now see the signs, which I ignored (or dismissed), I could see that she was angry over the most stupid things. I was so confused. Words like ‘ No one is listening to me’, ” It’s not about all about you”, ” head in the sand” would occasionally come out. But then for no reason, we were back to normal. My fault, I should have been more aware and started a proper heart to heart. Too late now. I should stress that this is only over the past 3-4 years, prior to that, there was never anything (as far as I am aware). We have been together for 28 years. Still, it came as one hell of a shock. 14 months on and I still cannot function properly.

What I can’t get over (and hurts the most) is the total rejection of me personally (can’t bear to touch, can’t bear to be in the same room/house/country) and more importantly, any possibility that we can be reconciled. No dialog, no counselling, no tears, no crying, no doubts, nothing. Done done done. The only emotion I ever see is anger.

(The biggest problem and anger issue is that I am “talking” to people about our private life, it should remain private. I don’t think it makes any difference. There would always be something to be angry about.

This is not the same person that I married who had endless empathy for others, bright cheerful, and tirelessly would do anything for anyone.

I do understand that this could simply be a ‘normal’ total breakdown of a marriage and absolutely nothing to do with changing brain chemistry. I just find that so hard to accept.

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Magnolia February 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

Hello Philip,

I’m glad to hear that you realize there were signs of an impending marital explosion that you just didn’t pay attention to. And though I really don’t want to pile on here, because I sense that you are in very deep pain, and I have great empathy for your suffering, I do want to say that many men have a tendency to ignore and dismiss the concerns of women.

Chalk it up to gender differences, I suppose. Which means there is not really fault to be assigned, but as you can see, the fact that you *did* dismiss and ignore the signs she was clearly sending out, sometimes very directly, you are now dealing with at least a part of the fallout of that strategy.

Just for reference, women will often let things go for an undetermined amount of time, which can give the impression that “everything is okay now” and so men will just fall back into the routine of life thinking all is well. Only to find out years later that it wasn’t well and it damn sure wasn’t okay.

There was a similar type scenario which played out in my own marriage. My husband was VERY dismissive of me, and frankly, just shut me down cold when I tried to resolve issues that, though they were not meaningful to him, they were VERY meaningful to me. I learned throughout the years that my efforts would produce little fruit.

So, I stopped trying to talk. I stopped trying to solve the issues. I just abandoned all hope that I would ever be happy in the marriage.

He, on the other hand, saw this as a sign that everything was just fine, though I was profoundly and deeply unhappy. My unhappiness eventually pushed me toward an attorney, and let’s just say, it didn’t turn out well. It was a devastating experience that I would have done ANYTHING to avoid. But, I honestly felt that my husband made it impossible for me. If I had not initiated the separation which led to divorce, I would have had to live in a marriage that was for me a hell that I cannot explain.

The depth of my unhappiness consumed my entire life.

He thought I was “dramatic” and “blew things out of proportion” He often said I just enjoyed “rocking the boat” and “starting fights”

It never occurred to him that his attacks on me and his characterization of my feelings and perspective was every bit as damaging and devastating as the actual issues which he refused to discuss.

So, look, I’m not telling you this to berate you or condemn you. I’m certain you feel sad enough. I’m sharing this with you in hopes you might gain some insight into how women think.

Magnolia

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Charles January 31, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Hello Magnolia

We’ve been separated for two weeks now. It’s an emotional roller coaster. At first, after seeing her all emotional and reaching out to me, I thought she was hoping there was a chance between us (I certainly was) but on our first day of therapy she said she wanted a divorce. I froze at first but then I said I wanted it too. Might of be my ego but I didn’t wanted to be the weaker part. She’s a very strong woman and the site of a weak man is not what she likes.

After a few days our separation is starting to feel like routine. We kept the same routine as before to avoid making too many changes for the kids. The worse part was that she started talking about lawyers and it became rather uncomfortable. Throughout all this time she still has a lot of emotions, much more than ever before. She cries a lot and most of the time (she hasn’t cried like this since everything started falling) she looks forward in hugging and touching me. I tell her I love her and miss her, and she does too. But still, she always ends up talking about divorce.

During this week I feel we’re opening up a lot more. She told me a few things that have hurt her in the past but she never mentioned them before. I told her that made me mad since they were little things that could of been avoided if we talked about it. She told me that that has to come from me. This is very confusing. After hearing this, I’m realizing I haven’t supported her in important things for her, because I didn’t know they were important.

Today, after speaking to our accountant, which was a very cordial but sad conversation I saw her sad and confused so I asked her if she was OK in slowing down the divorce process and give our separation some time. She agreed but she says we’re already too different with different needs and expectations of life and she knows in a few month we will be talking about divorce again. For now, we’re still separated but we’re not talking to lawyers yet.

Sometimes I see her as a totally different person as the person I married, and in some ways when I see her like that I feel like running away. After our separation, most of the time she reminds me of the person I once loved. Don’t get me wrong, I do love her still, but the change in her has been so drastic that it hard. I miss my original wife. Still, if we make some compromises I would stay but she tells me she’s not in love and that will not change. Although I do feel a lot of love from her, I feel she misses me, I also feel she’s fighting to feel strong against fixing the marriage. I guess I now have a few month to make her feel different about me and our marriage.

Any thoughts?

Charles

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Chris February 5, 2014 at 5:02 am

Hi, well I am I guess in a very similar position to many others I have seen on here and elsewhere. Recently I was told by my wife of 26 years ( been a couple of 30) that she loved me, but not as much as before. Ok thinks I, I shall try harder and so in my mind I did, every night though I would make a point of giving her a hug and a kiss goodnight and tell her I loved her, she would reciprocate hug me, kiss me and say I love you to.

I knew from the hug it wasnt as it was, but felt happy, I was getting a hug and a kiss from my beautiful Wife who I have loved more than life itself for all those years. We have two children I should say at this point, a son aged 10 and a daughter aged 15.

My wife has been bringing up things from anything from 5 years ago to in some cases 20 years ago of things I have said and or done, some I remember some I have no recollection of, I certainly dont remember my mind set when I did or said these things and some sound very alien to me, wrong without a doubt and certainly I am sorry for them and I can say without doubt that even if I dont remember them I would nver have set out to hurt her, not like I sat and thought, ah ha Ill say or do that, that will hurt her.

I may not remember everything, some I do, but I do know for sure that I never would have deliberately said something to hurt even if hurt was what happened. She has always meant too much to me. Without sounding glib, we did have what I thought was the perfect friendship marriage and relationship, I thought I had always been there for her, expect on two big occasions where I know without doubt I was wrong and bitterly regret my actions and not even just for her, I regret my actions because I was wrong, as wrong as I could have been.

I have tried to find reasons for the behavior, which while not physical or the like I know was wrong and am amzed I couldnt see then how wrong I was. My wife though said I was fogiven and I have said a genuine sorry many many times, but as she said the other day ” I forgave you but cannot forget” she then went on the say those things and little things have built up one on the other until now where she wants me to leave.

I have left but only to my office next door, the action by the way not being far enough for her but still has broken not only my hear but that of my Children as well. One has withdrawn and is , I think, almost pretending it isnt happening, the other – my Daughter, is so unhappy and is spending a lot of time with me.

My daughter did say something very worrying and also insightful the other day, she said ” I dont like new Mumma! for me that hit it on the head, ‘New Mumma’ is also new Woman new wife ( maybe ??) . My wife has said she now needs to think about herself, she has also said that when I am near it is driving her mad, not with rage but mad, she feels she is under enormous stress and she 2 fears for her sanity” in a genuine way.

In our relationship throughout the years when she has had a problem, after a couple of days of actually getting her to tell me about it, I have done all in my power to sort it out, money friendships job applications, arguments with daughter ( I am always the one to sift through them and put them right) the list is quite long as you would expect in 30 years, not to say for a second she hasnt been there for me with my emotional baggage because she has.

Now though I think I see some of the problems and these blogs and elsewhere have helped, but what do I do ? I am still so in love with her and am prepared and willing to also love and cherish the ‘new mumma’ if that is what is needed, if change on my side is needed ? I will do anything and everything in my power, for her, for my children my Family and indeed for me.

I cannot see another life without her, she assures me and in fact our daughter there is no one else, she has told my daughter I would have to change a LOT when my daughter has told her I want to come home and the Children want their lives back as they see it.

I did say something about perhaps seeing a Doctor, she snapped at me ” ME ? Me see a Doctor ??” I explained I had read up on perimenopause and that indeed the Womansd brain could be going through change, I also added I was not looking for excuses or saying this is what the problem is, not like ” see it isnt me, its you now go get some medicine” I am not so stupid or indeed cold.

So , when I look at the symptoms, and not only the way she is with me and indeed has been with my daughter ( new mumma) the periods she has had, hasnt had, the coil she has had fitted to try and stem the flow on occasions, the weight loss which is quite dramatic and I am sure is stress related although when mentioned is ” because I cut down on snacks) well you have to eat a lot before cutting them out makes that kind of difference and she never did.

I am aware I made some huge mistakes, some of the things I remember saying were wrong and without doing it on purpose were hurtful, some I simply don’t remember , I am sorry ( and this is not blame) we have had only two rows in 30 years, I wish she had barked at me then ” who do you think you are talking to ?” or ” how dare you speak to me like that” or even quieter moments where she copuld sit and say how whatever I did or sadi had made her feel that day, I could have dealt with each one, learnt from each one and not made the same mistake again.

I am sure she thinks our marriage is over, she doesnt seem to have any inclination that she may be perimenopausal and while not the reason for her lack of love etc is certainly a contributing factor ( I have said that wrong but I hope through the gist of this post you will understand what I mean).
We have always been so close that our friends ?

well as a couple we dont have any, but now she is talking to the local gossip, chatting with other women and I am positive they are giving all sorts of wonderful advice,. especially if she is telling them ” he said this, did that ” etc, without any explanation as to where my head was back then, how I have had anxiety and panic attacks for years and years. Some people feel so much better when they are ‘helping’ and others pain and sorrow somehow makes their lives look so much better and they take pride, its not them its others.

So what can I do, I am willing to change everything, work as hard as I can at my relationship, I accept all things, other than an affair, to be back home with my family who even today sat here typing this, I love with all my heart – ALL OF THEM.

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Magnolia February 5, 2014 at 11:34 am

Hello Chris,

I am sorry to hear of your difficulties. Anytime our family life and marriages are turned upside down, it is so very, very stressful and distressing. Having just recently been through a horrible divorce, I know how painful it is. My divorce will be final one year next month, and it is STILL very, very painful for me to cope with it.

Unfortunately, if your wife is going through perimenopause and suffering with the symptoms, I cannot see what I can tell you which would make a difference in her behavior, unless she herself sees it and wants to do something about it.

What I can tell you is what I tell a lot of men…….many women reach midlife and perimenopause and in addition to their physical changes, they begin going through emotional and psychological changes (much like adolescents due during puberty), and this seems to be the time that they also want to “clean house” so to speak.

They start evaluating their lives. They start looking at their relationships, their marriages, and they start asking questions…..”is this what I want for the rest of my life?”

If she has been unhappy, this tends to be the time that it all comes home to roost. I know it seems horribly unfair to men and spouses who feel they’ve been blindsided by the intensity of it all. But, as I’ve also said many, many times……..perimenopause does not CREATE unhappiness or marital issues…..it exacerbates them.

These matters are further compounded when the woman does not realize or doesn’t want to consider that hormone imbalance might be influencing her frame of mind. It is a difficult thing for women to understand. They only know what they are going through and don’t always know why. That is not to say that she is imagining things.

Because as you’ve stated here, you admit there WERE marital issues before. It was just that during all those years leading up to this “crisis” as it were, she didn’t make too much hay out of the issues. But, now she is. So, you know she’s not imagining it.

However, I do understand why this is so confusing and baffling to you that she is all of a sudden and with great force, wanting to make changes and is challenging you and the state of your marriage. But, unfortunately, you will have to deal with it.

If there is anyway you can get through to your wife that perimenopause might be fueling *some* of what she is going through, and she is willing to hear that and accept that, it might be that you can get through this time okay.

It won’t be easy, and I cannot give you any guarantees. But, it is possible to get through it.

Magnolia

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Gerry Myers April 14, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Unfortunately, most if your advise is wrong. You are trained as a cultural anthro, not a clinical behaviorist. Please, please stop giving such bad advise. You should be telling people to seek the help of a psychologist, social worker etc., who has clinical experience and expertise in this area. NOTHING more.

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Magnolia April 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Hi Gerry,

Whether my advice is “right” or “wrong” is entirely a matter of subjective opinion. I have never held myself out as an expert on anything except my own experience. I *am* however spending my graduate work in the field of medical anthropology with a focus on women’s hormone health issues. Therefore, I’m as qualified as anyone else to speak on these matters.

If my readers prefer to seek the counsel of a psychologist or clinical behaviorist, or even a social worker, that is certainly their prerogative.

And I will tell you as I tell all my readers……take the meat and spit out the bones.

Magnolia

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Kirby May 12, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Hi Magnolia
My wife is 49 turning 50 at the end of this year. Last February she left home to live with her mom to so she said to try and figure herself out. When she did come home at Easter time she said that she wanted to live downstairs and that is where she has been right to now.( May 12 2014) For reasoning beyond what I can think of she shows no intimacy toward me or wants to even sleep in the same room. Her treatment towards our children has never changed but has put a wall up against me and treats me as an outsider. No more weekends away, holidays etc. With everyone else all is good. Is this normal behavior? She even brought up filing for legal separation, dividing assets but doesn’t want a divorce. Am I missing something?

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James May 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

Hi Magnolia,

I am using my sisters email to speak out as I don’t have one. I need your help. My wife of 17 yrs for 8 months has been emotional, severe mood swings. Panic attacks, anxiety , paranoid and running out with her friends. Lunch dates, dinners, concerts enjoying the single life.
We have 4 sons . She’s only 38. She’s had major weight reduction surgery a yr ago. Just recently augmentation of breasts and lipo suction of arms. She’s out of control. Now she’s gotten another tattoo. My point being she’s not happy and keeps searching and doing self satisfying acts. I have and am staying away and avoiding her. She’s talking through the children to me. Does not communicate demands separation . I’m not giving her –her wish to live her life. She’s acting so crazy an entirely different person.
I am in lock down ! Not allowed to leave the house as I watch her and hear her say I have to go and come home 24 hrs later. She claims she’s sleeping at a friends. Every chance she gets she runs.
I am easy going have never stopped her before of going out and have never questioned her. She’s meeting up with friends from work that are divorced and some with boyfriends.
She keeps saying I just want to go out with my friends. I don’t like confrontation, but lately I’m speaking out . She looks in shock and says who’s coaching you. Wow is this the new person. (Not in anger that few seconds). I cook, clean, iron and do laundry and work , but so concerned for my wife.
She walked out of counseling said she’s not doing it. I continue to go cause I’m at my wits end. I don’t want to sound like I’m perfect I am not, but I am a very good father and I thought a good husband.
My counselor is stumped I just talk . She said this is her first time hearing something so confusing. Do you think she’s seeing someone? I said, don’t know hope not , but anything is possible.
I now walked out of house last night met up with a couple of guys because I feel the anxiety . I feel bad doing this , but at my wits end. She is furious I am not allowed to go anywhere . She freaks if I left for a haircut and texts me where are you? What are you doing? Ugh I have a meeting with an attorney yet I don’t want to. I’m so confused. I’ve mentioned to her how much I care and want to help her. Her answer why? You’ve never helped me in all these years! Not true– only other thing she’ll say is your here for finances and children that’s it! I feel so used and abused , unvalued. I only want to do the right thing.
I just can’t understand how she treats her Mom (she lives with us) and me with such anger and scowled face. It’s frightening. So worried for my sons. How can she then be so perfect at work? I’ll never know. So far the boys 3 under teenage agrees and the oldest in high school they see her leaving all the time. I really feel the stomach surgery did her in and all the harmones going crazy. I pray the Dr whom she saw picked up on it. I was so concerned he called her to come in. She found out I did this. I didn’t care what would happen to me when she did find out. Oh boy now I’ve betrayed her. I said all I want to do is help you and be there for you . Your not yourself.
Thank you for listening Magnolia. I am sorry for going on and on.

James

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Jarrod June 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Hi Magnolia,
Im at my wits end and falling into depression. My partner and I met a little over a year ago. She was the light of my life. And I hers. We fell for each other in secret and when revealed to each other, we’re very soon passionately in love. We’ve both of us kids from a previous marriage. She is 43 and im 40.
When we met, she spoke of medication that she’d stopped taking. She was sternly warned by a now ex friend that this would have negative affects. She seemed to think that I was her medication. Being so much in love. 4 months into our relationship, I was introduced to another side of her personality. She turned on me, saying the most horrible hurtful remarks. She clearly hated me. When it subsided, she cried that she always pushes people away. Said id seen her at her worst.

Since then, every month (sometimes on the dot of 4 weeks apart), she turns. Anything will set her off. If I bought bananas when we didnt need any. If I give her a cuddle in the morning. Anything. When it starts she redefines cruelty. She seems to go out of her way to make me feel shut out and hated. Her face turns rigid and she breathes fire. I always end up trying to talk the matter through. Its always a mistake. She can turn any virtuous act, sentiment or gesture on my part into a vicious attack on her in her mind. She says she needs space (only from me, although she also shuts out my daughter), but when I give her space, she feeds herself falsehoods that work against her and us.

It always lasts 4-5 days.

The problem is, she then emerges into the loving, caring devoted woman/friend I met and fell in love with. I’m completely devoted to her and our family. In between times we share our dreams and talk about marriage. We have such a wonderful time and our sex life is passionate. She peppers me with texts and emails at work about how much she loves me and how she loves being in love with me. About how I swept her off her feet. Truly, she is purring for 3 weeks out of 4. She’s a devoted partner and friend.

Which is why I come undone so completely when she turns. This week is our 12 month anniversary. She booked us a romantic getaway by the sea this week. We talked about her period coming. On Friday morning she was all smiles and happy. By the afternoon she hated my guts. HATE. She wouldn’t let me give her a hug hello after work. She was short and rude with me. She hasn’t made eye contact with me all weekend. They seem to be getting worse each time.

The second last time she told me she wanted out of the relationship and that she fell out of love with me ‘last week’. When she eventually came around, and we were out on a ‘date night’, she was clearly happy and in love. She popped out an apology for what she said. She didnt mean it. The last time, she ‘wanted to talk’. She was saying the same things. About to leave me. I managed (barely) to get her to see the slightest trace of reason after talking at her for an hour. She came through in the days that followed and we were back on track. Happily living our lives and enjoying each other’s company. We had a wonderful weekend together. Its seriously been all smiles. Like true love. Building up to this romantic weekend. Then on Friday night…Bang.

When it happens, she has no memory of her feelings or point of view when in the happy state of mind. Just as when she’s happy she has no sense of what happens in the hormonal state. I cant remind her of things she said as she’ll disregard them. She’l betray herself in a sense.

She had a terribly traumatic childhood. Rife with sexual abuse as a child and spousal abuse in later life. She triumphed over these things and raised 3 kids. they are wonderful individuals and she is right to be so proud.
I am a devoted and loving person. I pamper her and treat her like my Queen. She is irreplaceable. I want her to get help. Or at the least, have this ‘thing’ known for what it is. So that when it happens, there isnt the hurt. She is capable of treating others with care and love during these periods. I am the only one who is despised.

But these months of hurt have left me a nervous wreck. Today I have seen the doctor to get anti depressants. Im a gentle soul and im just not cut out to take this on the chin. I wound so very deeply. My own thoughts now work against me.

Her children say that this cycle has gone on their entire lives. She used to take it out on them. There simply must be a solution. Something that can be done to lessen the emotional cost to the family she’s hurting. I know that my love is in there somewhere. But I also know that the dark side is actively informing big decisions that will be a mistake. And I fear, impact us all in ways she could never dream. There will be a ripple effect that will damage lives forever.

In constant pain. Please help.

Jarrod

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Magnolia June 2, 2014 at 5:49 am

Jarrod,

Is your girlfriend on medication for a particular mood disorder? While it does appear and sound as if she is having hormonal swings, I’m still curious about what the medication was she was taking and why she was taking it.

That she “can’t remember” her mood swings is rather curious and troubling to me. Women going through perimenopause do not lose all recollection of mood swings and shifts as a result of changing hormones. It can and does cause radical mood swings for many women, but not a loss of all recollection of what happened.

What you are describing sounds like something entirely different. And it could be if she suffers with some other type of mood disorder or psychological issue, that the hormone imbalance every 3 or 4 weeks is making it worse.

I would be careful to assume that what is happening between you is all hormone related.

Magnolia

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Nancy June 28, 2014 at 12:10 am

Hmmm, yes I am perimenopause and loving it. After having spent the last 30 years being the servant, I am glad to find time and money for myself. After having spent 30 years with an unresponsive husband who did as he please, why is it so terrible shocking that as a woman I would want my freedom after having spent so many years being a slave. I supported my husband, I supported my children, now it is time for ME!!! If perimenopause has helped me to achieve my own freedom, the same freedom that everyman feels he deserves then why is it so horrible of women to be seeking it. Yes, I am sure it would serve men very well for us to oppressed all of our life. Thank goodness for perimenopuase if it is what has finally helped me to seek something for myself. My husband moved on and I was very happy for it. Spent 30 incredible miserable years being told I was crazy, irrational, and stupid. The lioness finally woke up, thank goodness for perimenopause as I was miserable and incredible lonely, meeting his needs while mine were too much for the male. And, rejoice, I no longer feel the need or desire to read self help books, I feel perfect as I am and any male in the future that doesn’t accept me for who I am and is constantly looking for the next better than will get to see my backside as I walk out the door – no longer taking the male crap. Hmmmm, sound rather manish doesn’t it and all men I know say this is ok. So what is good for the goose if good for the gander.

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Nancy June 28, 2014 at 12:14 am

Ohhh and by the way – a fact. You men will whine, whine, whine when tings are good for you and possible you may take the crap for a year then do your walking routine. I have learned from the best, that is a man, when I’m not getting what I want, I will walk. Wish I had done it 30 years ago when I wasn’t getting what I wanted and being dismissed. Happily divorced and truly enjoying being selfish and enjoying my freedom. Sounds just like my ex and his crap, so glad I finally found my balls and my life. I lived with a man that the primary reason we were together was to support him, I was dismissed and ignored. Thank goodness for perimenopause!

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Gary July 7, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Hello My name is Gary, I have been going out with a beautiful, lovely women for a year and a half, she has been separated for 3. Our relationship, was long distance about 4 in a half traveling, we took our turns going back and fourth, each weekend, we were so in love, nothing would stop us from see ing each other. So, the last 5 months, I ve been living with her, gave up my job, and friends, too be with her, and since last October, she began menopause, and just after Christmas, when I started, living with her, there was a lot of tension, she went to the doctors, and told me she has severe menopause, and depression, and about the end of March, her ex husband talked about divorce, they were married for 18 years, when they were separated, with two children age 15 and 17, he would help her a lot cause she knew no one else. But now he has a girlfriend, and it felt like she was jealous, not sure, she said no, but when he talked about the divorce she got mad and said too me, I bet his girlfriend put him up too it, or asking me how do I find his girlfriend, which I did not really want too respond to that question, because I knew where is was leading too. She has a good job with the government, but took a sick leave for 6 or 7 months, could not handle going too work anymore, would always cry, thinking everyone was against her. She would start getting jealous for no reason with me, asking about my ex s, then telling me how come, that I did not run away as far as I can from her, and then saying that I am coping well with her menopause, I tell her everyday that I love her, and she tells me everyday that she loves me, and that I say how she is beautiful, carrasing her, being there beside her, laughing talking, and then recently near the end of June we took a beautiful 4 day camping trip to our favourite place, when we got back, two days later, said she was going for a coffee with her ex too disgust things, so when she got back, and walked in the room, she did not look too good or happy, so later she told me that he wants a divorce and wants it now, normal, he is moving on with his new girlfriend. So, the next day she was mad, angry irritable, getting on my case for no reason, then ask me if I can move out and either go back to my home town, and get my job back, or stay at someone place, I was pretty much in shock, hurt, and mad. So, I took a walk, and then text her, that I was so sorry for getting mad at her, through the days we talked, but I am not too good at talking live, my head comes too a blank, on a Friday I wrote a big letter, telling her I do not want too lose her, I want too be by her side and get through this, and l went and got the camping gear, set the letter on the counter, and left for the weekend. She ask me if I wanted too talk, so she told me in her own words that she is very sorry, to make me quit my good paying job, and too move, but says right now she feels empty inside, and that she feels nothing for me no love, even it was me or some other man, and that she does not love herself, does not know, what is going on with her, or what she wants in her life, and that she misses her home with her family, back in Edmonton, she said she needs time alone and wants too sort this out by herself, and for herself, she says she is mixed up, confused and unhappy with so many things in life, and needs to fix them first, so sorry Gary this is for the better. Thats my story, I miss her so much, but I have too respect what she wants, my hands are tied behind my back, hoping with counselling, that it will help her, or should I just move on. She texted me the other day saying too me, Gary I am so sorry. I didn t mean to hurt you. I am so confused I am just not happy. I started going to counselling and I hope to figure this all out. Sorry I hurt you. So what does this mean for me, do I have one foot in the door, and give her time. Also the divorce is not final yet but coming up soon, and I know that will take a bigger toll on her. Thank you if someone answers this, God bless you all menopause for women is a bad thing like a gift from hell, feel sorry for all the women who have too go through this.

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Magnolia July 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Hello Gary,

I’m very sorry you are having issues in your relationship with your girlfriend. I do hope you understand that menopause does not cause the type of issues you are describing.

Yes, it can make communication difficult if a woman is moody or having physical issues, but there is so much more that goes into interpersonal relationships besides menopause symptoms.

I hope you will try to find a good counselor and that your girlfriend can join you.

Magnolia

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Gary July 8, 2014 at 1:20 pm

thank you for answering but I don t need a counsellor, and she has just started with one, I would like too join her, but I am sure she would not like that, she said, she wants too do this on her own, and for herself, it has been close too two weeks, and do not live with her.

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Magnolia July 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm

My suggestions were that both of you (at least, that was implied) find a counselor, Gary. I was not suggesting that you personally need one.

And I thought you stated in the beginning of your post that you *do* live with her. If you said somewhere toward the end that you moved out, I missed that.

Either way, however, my advice is the same.

Magnolia

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Gary July 8, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Thank Magnolia for the help, I moved out because she ask me too, and I hope for her, going to counselling will help her a lot. Gary

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Mike August 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Like everyone else on this blog, I’m going through similar issues with my wife. Perimenopause runs a little early for the women on my wife’s side of the family. She’s 46 and her hormones are on a teeter-toter. However, I can also offer a somewhat unique perspective in this case. Last year, I was diagnosed with a pituitary macroadenoma (non-cancerous tumor on my pituitary gland in my brain) about the size of a walnut. The net effect of which took my testosterone levels and put them in the tank. It also jacked my prolactin levels and sent them into orbit. Essentially, I was as hormonally imbalanced as a woman going through perimenopause. I cried a lot. I was moody and while I had some desire, sex just wasn’t high on the priority list. It turns out that I’ve had the tumor for a long time and just didn’t know it which explains a lot of symptoms I have been noticing over the years. Thankfully, the right meds are putting me back on track and I have noticed constant improvement. The downside is that my improvement was hitting just as my wife’s afflictions got into full swing.

So now, it sucks to be me. I try to offer my advice from the perspective of having actually gone through it. My wife still fights me on it, even though she’s recently been to the doctor to confirm that she is perimenopausal. The word divorce gets thrown around once in a while but mostly it’s been a lot of arguing, her hot flashes and zero sex. I asked her to talk to the doctor about hormone therapy and the doctor just put her on standard birth control and said “it might help”. All it’s done so far is give her a month long period. That’s just made things worse since that’s all she want’s to talk about. Sorry ladies but while I can tolerate a lot, a month of complaining about a period is just plain gross. I know it is for my wife too but I just don’t want to be dragged into it.

I’ve tried to be patient, strong, even nurturing; based on my own experience, but I see no improvements. It’s breaking my heart to see out relationship hit the pits like this. I find myself tuning out lately more than ever. I’m afraid that by the time she emerges on the other side of this, there may not be a relationship left. Oh and by the way, the consistent comments from the ladies about not making the choice to act out as a raging demon is pure garbage. When I had essentially lost all the hormones that make me a man, I was moody but I still made very deliberate decision each morning to not drag my wife through what I was feeling. I didn’t always succeed but I did the overwhelming majority of the time. The mind is still stronger than the body. It just takes discipline.

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Magnolia August 25, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Hello Mike,

Thank you for your comment. I was especially intrigued to read about your own hormone imbalance and how it affected you. So, now, from your OWN experience you can say with certainty that you didn’t “choose” to be depressed, moody, or have no sex drive.

Given that your testosterone levels were in the tank, I think it is safe to assume that you didn’t exactly feel aggressive or exhibit the typical male behaviors associated with testosterone levels. I would like to suggest, however, that if your testosterone levels were ELEVATED, you might have become a Class-A ass, with aggression that would have been pretty difficult for others to be around.

Testosterone, as you know, is the hormone which drives male aggression.

When women are raging during their own episodes of hormone imbalance, it is estrogen dominance (usually unopposed estrogen due to low progesterone levels) which rocket us into aggressive behavior.

And Mike, you might want to hear this – and this is fine – but the truth is, women aren’t choosing to rage from their hormone imbalance anymore than you chose to be depressed and moody with no sex drive. That is the truth.

I’m glad to hear that you have endeavored to be a decent human being, despite your hormone issues. But, I wonder if you were pumped full of estrogen beyond normal limits, just how successful you would be?

I’m saying this because, though you are presenting a certain measure of compassion based on your own experience, you are still assuming a common male attitude toward women and their hormone issues…..”control it”

And it just doesn’t work that way.

Thank you for commenting. I have found your perspective interesting. I wish more men experienced hormone imbalance beyond their control. The world would be a different place.

Magnolia

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Chris November 9, 2014 at 8:11 am

Magnolia,

My wife changed during perimenopause and menopause, like Mike, I too have low T
for other reasons, probably secondary hypogonadism, I have been willing to pursue
answers for it and willing to be on the “right” treatment for it, I have tried replacement, but trying to wait to see if Androxal gets approved to restart my own system. Well, my wife has the totally opposite view, I even bought her a tube of natural progesterone creme, the lady at Vitamin shoppe told me it helps, well my wife refused it, I even bought her a book on it and she read the whole thing, she refuses any hormone replacement or balancing no matter how minimal it is, she said this is how God has made her at this time in her life and I just have to accept it, she no longer wants sex as it is painful for her now. All this could be relieved with hormones, at least she could get the E-string, but no. Despite her not wanting hormones(she is too scared of getting cancer although cancer is not prevalent in her family), she will take her blood pressure meds religiously. I told her what is the difference, why take the BP meds if that is how God has chosen for you to have high BP at this time in your life ? The risk of cancer from low dose estrogen is very small and they can monitor if markers go up. After many arguments, she is separated from me and she is pursuing a divorce. When you get married you give up the right to save yourself, or be selfish about your body. You have an obligation to be a committed partner, if that means going to doctors and getting treatment. She would rather end the responsibility and be alone.

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Magnolia November 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

Chris,

There are so many things that jump out at me in your comment, but it would take entirely too long for me to adequately address everything. I hear your frustration and anger toward your wife loud and clear. I do agree that when you get married you have an obligation toward your spouse. But, it should be out of mutual agreement. Spouses don’t *own* the body of the other.

I had a male reader come here and tell me once that sex is the glue that holds a marriage together. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) that without sex you don’t have a marriage. I pointed out to him that if that were true then my parents (who are both deceased) should have called in the divorce lawyers when my father had a series of strokes (and he was quite a young man I would like to point out) which rendered him completely disabled eventually.

He even suffered with ED for quite a time which essentially shut down their sex life completely. So between his strokes and his ED, the entire, supposed “glue” that the reader said keeps marriages together was gone. But, my parents remained married to each other for another 20 something years. I’m also convinced there wasn’t any sex going on either.

Sex is an important part of marriage. But, it is not everything. And frankly, I don’t believe it’s the glue that holds ANYTHING together. Too many things can happen in a marriage which can affect sex. And when it’s physical, and you can’t control it, well you’ve got some serious problems if that is the glue. So I don’t accept that it is the glue in a marriage. It is a part of it and a very important part of it. But, it is not the primary focus and frankly, I don’t think it should be.

All of that said……I don’t believe your wife left your marriage over sex. In fact, I would be willing to bet the farm there are some far deeper issues which motivated her to leave. Women (or at least the ones that I know) don’t leave happy marriages over not wanting to have sex. They leave for far more complex reasons than that.

Magnolia

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Chris November 9, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Magnolia,

Yes, there is more to it than sex, she became extremely critical of me, of things she adored and admired me for now are iritants. She is a choleric
at the core, cholerics like to argue and can get quite loud and they seldom think they are at fault. I am a melancholic, I avoid conflict, but I can only take so much, I have a long fuse but there is an end to it. I can sit and listen to her go off on me for 30min. straight, but I have my limit before I get loud. She wanted to change so many things about me, but if I even dare to ask her to
fix up like she used to or something simple, she claims if I love her I should accept her as is. Double standard. I still love her and would take her back,
I would just have to try to give her more what she asks for and not get mad.
But I would expect more affection from her, sex may come back with time.
I also would expect less criticism and more respect. I am willing to do more small things and spend more time her as well.

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Magnolia November 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Chris,

I was married to a man for nearly 16 years who would also sit for 30 minutes (sometimes longer) while *I* went off on him. I would scream, yell, stomp, throw fits of epic proportion, while he sat and stared at me placidly.

And you know, you sound just like him. He would describe me perhaps, exactly as you have described your wife. Now, I’m not saying that what I did and how I behaved was okay. It wasn’t.

I have HUGE regrets when I look back at how I behaved in our marriage. It hurts me deeply to know how horrible I must have looked and sounded. There is nothing redeeming about any of it, and I cannot offer any explanation or rationalization that would make it okay. In fact, in the past nearly 2 years that we have been divorced, I’ve wept bitter tears at night when I lie in my bed and recall those awful fights we had.

Yet, I STILL divorced him. And given the dynamics of our marriage, I would STILL divorce him. In fact, since our divorce, I’ve seen with VERY clear eyes exactly what drove me to utter madness and insanity with him. He was as guilty of destroying our marriage as I was. No, he wasn’t loud. No he wasn’t somebody who slammed doors, or would follow me around and unload his anger.

He would do nothing.

He would say nothing. He would just sit and stare. And the ability he had to live in iron-clad denial and assume the posture of a victim was Oscar worthy.

Now, I’m not saying you are my husband. And I’m not saying that your complaints are not valid. What I *am* saying is that it takes TWO to destroy a marriage.

My ex-husband is one of the most ingratiating, two-faced hypocrites there is. You would NEVER see the issues that drove me to divorce him unless you were around him for a very, very, VERY long time. And even THEN you might question if what you think you see is really happening.

So, please understand. In my nearly 60 years on this earth, I’ve come to one very clear conclusion:

Two people enter a marriage. And two people bear SOME responsibility for the outcome.

Magnolia

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Chris November 9, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Magnolia,

When my wife was just in menopause, once a month about the same time, she would be the nicest person to me and to be around for a few days and then it would wear off. It was as if she was still trying to ovulate but her body could not. Menopause is not felt the same by all women, but some it affects drastically. My only hope was that as she got worse, I should have been much more attentive and reassuring, but I was too busy trying to keep from being attacked. It really isn’t her,
as much as it is the imbalance and lack of hormones now.

I agree with you, both share responsibility in the outcome of the marriage. Menopause just made it very difficult whereas before it
was easy.

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Magnolia November 9, 2014 at 7:23 pm

I will not deny that hormone imbalance can, and most certainly does make things difficult. It was certainly a factor in my own relationship. I had a VERY tough time with it and it spilled out all over my family. And it most certainly had a very deleterious effect on my marriage.

However, for me…..and Chris, for many women…….the hormone imbalance didn’t make my marriage bad. My marriage was already bad. We were completely unable to find a way to bring our lives together in matrimony. My perimenopause sure didn’t make it any better either. In fact, it exacerabated everything.

Do I think we would have been able to solve our issues had my perimenopause issues not brought such strain to our marriage? No. I do not. In fact, it was my husband’s complete lack of emotional support through everything (perimenopause included) that was the nail in the coffin for me.

I will not deny that he could present a long….yea, a VERY long list of my sins and horrendous behaviour during perimenopause. I was an out of control maniac. It makes me shudder to think about it.

However, now, several years into menopause and RARELY in a bad mood (with the exception of grief over the loss of my two parents recently), I can say with great clarity that my ex-husband’s temperament and tendency to be a complete self-absorbed schmuck is still alive and well, and it has nothing to do with my hormone imbalance.

Everything that bothered me about him during our marriage and which went nuclear during perimenopause, is STILL there.

He would tell you that menopause killed our marriage. I would tell you that menopause strained an already doomed marriage.

So, I do not dispute that your wife’s issues with menopause are causing difficulties between you. I believe you. I’m just telling you……there is probably far more there that has caused her to leave than just menopause.

Magnolia

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Chris November 9, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Relationships reveal who we really are and our weaknesses,
it is a test of character. It’s easy to be at peace by yourself,
there is no test.

Marriage is not dating, love is blind during courtship, reality
comes into view after I do. It’s unrealistic to expect to be able to keep up the level of affection that happened during dating, after
a year or two into the marriage. Sometimes people feel then that they are falling out of love. Daily living is full of mundane chores and responsibilities, there should be a balance with going out and doing things for fun, but no spouse should feel that they always have to keep the other entertained somehow to keep them from getting bored. Everybody needs their own
personal hobbies to fill in the gaps. I feel that unrealistic expectations cause a lot of problems in marriage. You can’t rely on another person to make you happy, you have to be happy within yourself first.
Love is not always a feeling, it is a choice. I will say that sex isn’t everything, but when she used to desire it, we got along much better because we had a better bond. Just sleeping together in the same bed does wonders for bonding, which helps people to
hold their words at times, for fear of hurting that bond. Stop sleeping together and their isn’t much to hold you back.

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Magnolia November 10, 2014 at 7:12 am

Chris,

I entered into this interaction with you against my better judgement. Primarily because, through the years I’ve been blogging on this subject, the average male reader which comes here is not interested in thinking differently about the experience of perimenopause for women.

They only think about it as it pertains to “them” and nothing else beyond that. So, for that reason, I rarely engage men here. In fact, more often than not, I don’t even allow their comments to make it past the moderation stage. It’s just not worth my time to keep saying the same things over and over and over again, to an audience (male) that is impervious to anything other than what they already think and believe.

I do understand that when one is hurt (and divorce is perhaps the deepest hurt one can feel in this life outside of losing someone to death) it’s very difficult to see anything other than what has hurt you and why. I completely understand that because I am still recovering from a devastating divorce myself.

I’m not too interested, neither do I really care about my ex-husband’s pain. He caused so much for me, I couldn’t care less about his. So, I get it, and I completely understand that you are grieving as well.

That said, however, it does not change my position on why women leave marriages during mid-life and menopause. Your wife left because of reasons that perhaps you haven’t discussed here. But, you seem hell bent on making it about her and her choices and her hormone issues. Again…..your perspective is not new. I’ve seen it and heard it for years at this blog.

And I’ve said continually to men just like you: perimenopause does not make a good marriage bad and it does not create marital problems that lead to divorce. It shines a light on them.

So, my final thought and comment on this topic is that perhaps *your* test of character is whether you’re willing to consider that there are issues far deeper and far more complex, and maybe too uncomfortable for you to accept, that led to your wife leaving the marriage.

You can continue to shift the focus to her and make it about her. But, that will not change what I believe about any of it.

Your wife, like countless other women who leave marriages during mid-life, left for reasons that are far deeper than hormone imbalance.

Good day, I won’t be discussing this topic any further with you.

Magnolia

Luis October 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Hello Magnolia,

My wife and I have been together for 20 years. I have been reading this blog as well as others trying to do research on premenopause and perimenopause so I can understand what my wife might be going through. My wife is 36 years old and has been showing several symptoms of premenopause/perimenopause like having mood swings, headaches, sleepless nights, fatigue and other symptoms. The fact that my wife is bipolar doesn’t help in what she is going through.

My wife has gone from wanting a divorce/separation to saying that she gives up and will stay with me. I tell her that I won’t stop fighting for our marriage and she asks me why and why do I love her so much. I tell her I took my vows 13 years ago and renewed them 4 years ago and my vows are very clear. As to why I love her I tell her that she has always been my best friend and the only person I could count on and that God has put my love for her in my heart. I tell her that I am sorry for everything I have ever done to her that has caused her pain.

I see that many men are going through very similar situations. I left my home for a few days but then I returned and told her that if we were to even try and work things out in our marriage it had to be done as a family under the same roof. She still wants me out of the house and tells me that in time she will make a decision, but I don’t agree. She has quit her last job and returned to her previous job that she was at 6 years ago. I try and support her in every way I can. When we do not discuss our relationship it seems like things are great. At times she will call me babe which makes me feel like there is hope. I tell her all the time that I love here and she doesn’t reciprocate it back which I have learned to understand, but it hurts.

My wife has started to find her high school girlfriends and rekindle with them. She has become more independent and stubborn. I feel the situation out before telling her something to avoid conflict. My wife can at times be destructive and has cheated on me in the past as I have done as well. My fear is that she becomes so overwhelmed with what she is going through that she does the same thing again. We talk and I tell her what my concerns are and she tends to be understanding and tells me that she is sorry for the past destructive behavior. I tell my wife that if we have God, trust, respect, loyalty, faithfulness and love in our relationship everything will work itself out.

I am trying to be understanding but like all the men that are going through similar experiences it is very difficult. I love my wife with all my heart and soul and I have cried many times. I will do everything within my being to be there for my wife during these difficult times and pray that my marriage is saved.

If you have any advice I would appreciate it.

Thank you,

Luis

Reply

Magnolia October 1, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Hello Luis,

I have copied and pasted your comment below. Please see my answers to you under each paragraph in italics.

My wife and I have been together for 20 years. I have been reading this blog as well as others trying to do research on premenopause and perimenopause so I can understand what my wife might be going through. My wife is 36 years old and has been showing several symptoms of premenopause/perimenopause like having mood swings, headaches, sleepless nights, fatigue and other symptoms. The fact that my wife is bipolar doesn’t help in what she is going through.

Luis, 36 is a little young for perimenopause, but not completely out of the question. Has she said she’s starting to skip periods? Is she having hot flashes and night sweats? Has she said that *she* thinks she might be going through perimenopause? Or are you thinking that given her age and some of these symptoms that she might? Is your wife on medication for bi-polar disorder?

My wife has gone from wanting a divorce/separation to saying that she gives up and will stay with me. I tell her that I won’t stop fighting for our marriage and she asks me why and why do I love her so much. I tell her I took my vows 13 years ago and renewed them 4 years ago and my vows are very clear. As to why I love her I tell her that she has always been my best friend and the only person I could count on and that God has put my love for her in my heart. I tell her that I am sorry for everything I have ever done to her that has caused her pain.

Since you are apologizing for “things that have caused her pain” does this mean she is trying to tell you things that she is unhappy with?

I see that many men are going through very similar situations. I left my home for a few days but then I returned and told her that if we were to even try and work things out in our marriage it had to be done as a family under the same roof. She still wants me out of the house and tells me that in time she will make a decision, but I don’t agree. She has quit her last job and returned to her previous job that she was at 6 years ago. I try and support her in every way I can. When we do not discuss our relationship it seems like things are great. At times she will call me babe which makes me feel like there is hope. I tell her all the time that I love here and she doesn’t reciprocate it back which I have learned to understand, but it hurts.

Yes, it is difficult for other family members when wives/moms are going through perimenopause – IF – that is what is happening with her. But, if I could please say, respectfully, that when women are going through perimenopause, it is not something that “men” primarily go through. Women are going through it. And yes, it affects other people around her. But, it’s important, if you want to help your wife, that you frame this situation properly. She is the PRIMARY person suffering from hormone imbalance (if that is in fact what is happening), and you are having to figure out how to cope with and manage the change that you are seeing in her as a result.

My wife has started to find her high school girlfriends and rekindle with them. She has become more independent and stubborn. I feel the situation out before telling her something to avoid conflict. My wife can at times be destructive and has cheated on me in the past as I have done as well. My fear is that she becomes so overwhelmed with what she is going through that she does the same thing again. We talk and I tell her what my concerns are and she tends to be understanding and tells me that she is sorry for the past destructive behavior. I tell my wife that if we have God, trust, respect, loyalty, faithfulness and love in our relationship everything will work itself out.

So you both have been unfaithful to each other? You both have caused a lot of pain in your marriage? It does sound like you have some very complicated, and perhaps unresolved issues from the past that need to be addressed. However, if she is not willing to talk about it honestly, there is not much you can do to force the situation, as I’m sure you know. I do agree that a spiritual life does help anchor one through tough times. I highly recommend it. However, without mutual cooperation and the willingness of both partners to work together, there’s not much God can do to fix your marriage. I don’t mean to be harsh. But, that is a very unvarnished reality. Both parties have to want to work on the marriage.

I am trying to be understanding but like all the men that are going through similar experiences it is very difficult. I love my wife with all my heart and soul and I have cried many times. I will do everything within my being to be there for my wife during these difficult times and pray that my marriage is saved.

I agree. It is difficult when the one you love is struggling with hormone imbalance – again, IF that is what the problem is – and so, I do offer compassion and understanding. The best advice I can offer you, Luis, is that you first and foremost realize that perimenopause is not causing your marital issues. Especially if you are telling me that you both have been unfaithful to each other in the past, and that you both have done destructive things which has hurt your marriage. Perimenopause has a way of shining a light on problems and cracks in a marriage, but it doesn’t create them. It can certainly exacerbate them, there is no doubt about that, but it does not create them.

If you want to save your marriage, I would strongly recommend that you find a really good marriage counselor that you trust. Begin with yourself, and then ask your wife if she will come with you. I would also suggest that you find out if your WIFE thinks she is going through perimenopause. If she is, perhaps she can check with a physician to have her hormone levels checked. But, unfortunately, given her age, I’m afraid most will pass her off and tell her she is too young.

An endocrinologist might be a good place to start. And finally, Luis, I would tell you to hang in there and give it your all. I wouldn’t give up on my marriage until the last leaf had been turned over. Not until you’ve done everything that you can possibly do.

If you have any advice I would appreciate it.

Thank you,

Luis

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Luis October 2, 2014 at 5:45 pm

That is why I said premenopuase which is actually from what I have researched even possible before perimenopause. Her periods are coming around 21 to 25 days. She has had some sweaty nights but not too often. When I spoke to here about premenopause she said no that she was not going through it almost like in deniel that it could happen to her. Yes given the symptoms I believe it’s possible. She has been off of her medication for almost 2 years. The medication made her sick and she actually has been able to function better without the medication.

Yes she tells me she is unhappy and doesn’t love me or wants to be married. My wife brings up the past but not only about me. She talks about her father not being there for her when she was young and how the men she has loved have hurt her.

I understand that us being destructive in the past is not because of premenopause but I believe it has brought it up to the surface and has made things more complicated. I fault myself for all my mistakes.

I love my wife with all my heart and soul and I will keep praying and will do everything I can to save my marriage. I will respectfully disagree with you that just because I want to save our marriage and my wife is confused or doesn’t want to at the moment that God can’t save it I have faith in God and anything is possible with God.

Thank you for your advice and kind words.

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Magnolia October 3, 2014 at 9:14 am

Luis,

When you say “pre” menopause, I think you mean “perimenopause” Perimenopause is the time of transition before actual menopause. So, actually, “pre” and “peri” menopause are the same thing.

It is certainly possible that if she is suffering from hormone imbalance issues that it would affect her moods and even how she tends to view or frame certain issues in her life. But, from what you’re telling me, the perimenopause (if in fact that is what it is) is not causing your marital problems.

You might find the book by Dr. Christiane Northrup, The Wisdom of Menopause an interesting book. She addresses the issues of women re-examining their lives once they start going through perimenopause, which includes digging up past hurts, old wounds, and unfinished emotional business. It is a large book and covers a lot of topics, but you might find that particular section helpful. You can find a copy of the book at this link here.

Magnolia

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Melissa December 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

I am starting to realize menopause is causing to me be hateful and hurtful and I hate it. I am unmarried at this time and find myself being extremely mean to my son. I don’t like the words coming out of of my mouth but can’t seem to stop them. It seems like because I can’t control my emotions.

I seem to strike out at him when he just says hi.

Why do women seem to turn on the male people in their life at this time ?

I enjoyed reading everyone’s stories, make me feel like I am not crazy just going through a large change in my life. Hopefully with some understanding on all parts I can start to go back to the loving person I use to be.

Reply

Magnolia December 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Melissa,

I’m certain that if you had a daughter instead of a son, you would lash out at her as well. It is true that a lot of marriages feel the strain of perimenopause, but women don’t turn on males (contrary to what some men might think :) ) simply because they suffer with hormone imbalance.

I do understand it is very difficult when you feel so out of control. I felt the same way and it was just awful. The thing I did was talk to my kids and tell them what was happening to me. I said a lot of horrible, hurtful things during that time and I can assure you, I had to do a lot of apologizing too.

I think if you let your son know it is not something you enjoy, and that you really do care how he is feeling, and that you are sorry for you behavior, it would go a long way. You can’t help the mood swings, but you can take responsibility for your words and apologize when you say hurtful things.

Have you thought about hormone therapy? It could be that your progesterone levels are low, and therefore your estrogen levels are high as a result, which causes mood swings, irritability, and rages in many women. Progesterone can help balance the estrogen and ease the mood swings.

You can also simply MAKE yourself leave the room or take a long walk, or whatever you think will help you get control of yourself. Heck, lock yourself in your bedroom or something. That is what I used to do until I could calm down.

And I can assure you that once you reach actual menopause the crazy mood swings will go away. You will feel much more in control of your emotions.

Magnolia

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Magnolia January 22, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Hello Charles,

I do offer my sincerest encouragement that you and your wife can find a way to work through all of the issues. I hope that you both will find your share of the responsibility within the situation, because, frankly, trying to gain the upper hand or “control the situation” as you stated, does not sound like a good way to ultimately resolve the issues.

As you have expressed, your own vulnerability and feeling that *she* had the upper hand, left you feeling afraid, scared and confused. I certainly hope that you will not use this new position of power that you feel you now have to attempt to avenge yourself.

It’s just not a healthy maneuver for anyone to use.

I certainly understand that you have needs and there are things you wish to see so that you feel safe again in the marriage. However, as you have stated, there have to be compromises……and of course, that comes from both people.

Dictating ultimatums rarely work in the long run for any of us.

Magnolia

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Charles January 31, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Hello Magnolia

We’ve been separated for two weeks now. It’s an emotional roller coaster. At first, after seeing her all emotional and reaching out to me, I thought she was hoping there was a chance between us (I certainly was) but on our first day of therapy she said she wanted a divorce. I froze at first but then I said I wanted it too. Might of be my ego but I didn’t wanted to be the weaker part. She’s a very strong woman and the site of a weak man is not what she likes.

After a few days our separation is starting to feel like routine. We kept the same routine as before to avoid making too many changes for the kids. The worse part was that she started talking about lawyers and it became rather uncomfortable. Throughout all this time she still has a lot of emotions, much more than ever before. She cries a lot and most of the time (she hasn’t cried like this since everything started falling) she looks forward in hugging and touching me. I tell her I love her and miss her, and she does too. But still, she always ends up talking about divorce.

During this week I feel we’re opening up a lot more. She told me a few things that have hurt her in the past but she never mentioned them before. I told her that made me mad since they were little things that could of been avoided if we talked about it. She told me that that has to come from me. This is very confusing. After hearing this, I’m realizing I haven’t supported her in important things for her, because I didn’t know they were important.

Today, after speaking to our accountant, which was a very cordial but sad conversation I saw her sad and confused so I asked her if she was OK in slowing down the divorce process and give our separation some time. She agreed but she says we’re already too different with different needs and expectations of life and she knows in a few month we will be talking about divorce again. For now, we’re still separated but we’re not talking to lawyers yet.

Sometimes I see her as a totally different person as the person I married, and in some ways when I see her like that I feel like running away. After our separation, most of the time she reminds me of the person I once loved. Don’t get me wrong, I do love her still, but the change in her has been so drastic that it hard. I miss my original wife. Still, if we make some compromises I would stay but she tells me she’s not in love and that will not change. Although I do feel a lot of love from her, I feel she misses me, I also feel she’s fighting to feel strong against fixing the marriage. I guess I now have a few month to make her feel different about me and our marriage.

Any thoughts?

Charles

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Charles February 3, 2014 at 8:08 am

Hi Magnolia

Any chance you saw my last post? Any comments?

Charles

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Magnolia February 3, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Charles,

Is it possible for you to pull back and tell her you will not discuss a divorce with her any longer? Is it possible for you to tell her that you don’t want to get a divorce, but that you will not make it easy for her to do it?

I’m just curious if it might help you calm down and help the emotions of the situation settle down? Staying *in* it while trying to process it, is bound to cloud your ability to make good decisions. If she wants a separation, then separate. That doesn’t mean you HAVE to get a divorce.

But, the truth is, if she is determined to get a divorce, there is nothing you can do about it. I know that is not something you want to hear, but it is the truth. Surely you understand that?

I would make my position clear and unequivocal. If you do NOT want a divorce, tell her that. Then put the ball in her court. Make her take responsibility for her decisions without constantly engaging emotionally with her. That does nothing but keep you in turmoil, and that is just hell in my opinion.

Sometimes you have to draw hard boundaries and stay within them for safety. It doesn’t mean you will get what you want from the other person, but it does provide an emotionally safe place for you to be.

Magnolia

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