I’m sorry I’ve forced you gentlemen to wade your way through so much context on this subject before I finally get around to offering specific things you can do.
But if you are a regular reader, then you know I’m a believer in context. I strongly believe that if we have a clear understanding of the “where-fores” and the “why-fores” of specific situations, we are in a much better position to make good choices.
In light of that, my belief has been if you understand exactly what perimenopause is, then the chances of being able to navigate the situation successfully have increased substantially.
That said, it’s also important that you understand these suggestions are just that – suggestions. Anything and everything I say should be filtered through your personal situation and applied judiciously.
If you don’t feel that some or any of these suggestions are entirely useful for your circumstances, by all means, take the meat and spit out the bones.
So let’s start with the don’ts.
Assume she will “get over it”and withdraw from her – Something I’ve learned about men (both here and in my personal life) is that when they are in conflict with women, they want to pull back and stay out of the line of fire.
The assumption is, if you stay out of the conflict arena long enough, she will get over whatever is bothering her and everything will resume back to normal.
While I certainly see the logic of this approach, and I would also agree there are times when this is exactly what you should do, it is not a good blanket strategy when dealing with women. Let me tell you why:
When women are suffering, that is, if we are hurt, if we are struggling with a problem, or we have some kind of mental or emotional pressure, we generally want to talk about it. Not only do we want to talk about it, but we want whomever we are discussing it with, to empathize and show a concern for what we are going through.
In short: we need and want emotional validation.
We need to know someone cares about what we are going through. We need to hear that you care, not only by what you say, but also how you say it. Easy enough right? But, here’s the other thing: we don’t want to have to ask you to notice.
I can almost hear the collective groan over that last statement. Why? Because I know that men are pretty straight forward. If you want something – ask. Again, there are times when I would wholeheartedly agree with you. Like, say, if I want a picture hung or have the brakes on my car checked.
I’m also willing to concede this might be a good place for women to step outside of their comfort zone and actually say, “hey, honey, I’m having a tough time right now and I really need to talk.”
I can’t guarantee, however, that it will happen. I mean, have you seen a woman in the midst of a raging mood swing? Exactly. It’s highly unlikely she will feel like stepping outside her comfort zone.
So don’t, gentlemen, pull away from her. I’m not saying she deserves a turn of goodwill. You may have plenty of good reason to withdraw and wait it out.
I’m just telling you – it’s not the best strategy if you really want to help your wife. Approach her. Pursue her. Be direct and let her know straight up that you care what she is going through and you want to help.
Ask her what you can do for her. Then do it.
Hit back when she lashes out at you – I promise you this is not a conspiracy. I’m not trying to set you up to get railroaded or to be her sitting duck. What I’m trying to tell you is how women think.
Here’s the deal:
If we are overly-emotional, ranting, raging and basically completely out of control from hormones gone wild (yes, it happens) and you are able to remain cool, calm and collected, even when taking what might be some pretty darn unfair barbs your way, she will notice. I promise.
Nothing gets to a woman’s heart like a man who has backbone and the ability to remain calm and confident in stressful situations. Liken it to what women do all the time for screaming, out of control toddlers.
If we lost our minds and gave our 2 year-olds, exactly what they were giving to us, chances are it would scare the holy moly out of the child. And it would certainly make a bad situation worse. In fact, that we are able to keep our cool and stay calm when they are losing their little toddler mind actually instills a sense of safety in their lives.
Translate that to your wife.
If you remain calm, non-defensive and in control of your emotions when she is out of control of hers, you have just created an environment where she will feel safe. Do I mean stand there while she throws things at you? No. Duck.
What I mean is, don’t give her back what she is giving you. If she has just an inkling of character, she will notice, and you will have done a great thing in helping her bounce back from hormone insanity. Easy to do? No. But, try it.
Come back for more…….I’ve got plenty.