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Help! My Wife Is In Menopause
February 14, 2006

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #052, February 15, 2006

=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========

· Announcing: My First Book!

· Help! My Wife Is In Menopause

· Why Women Cry


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2006


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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

I am happy to announce the publication of my first book. (I have been planning to write a book for a long time.) This book is for midlife farm couples. My next book will be for midlife men.

Like andropause, menopause hits some women harder than others. Even for women who breeze through with a few hot flashes though, menopause often brings a bit of a change in personality. Women (like men in andropause) become less willing to do things they don't want to do, and can become a bit more irritable. Men living with menopausal women, can find it kind of tough going. I hope this newsletter can help make it a bit easier.

There are about 1600 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take you about six minutes to read.

All the best,



Spotted in a safari park: Elephants Please Stay in Your Car.


To The Editor

Hello Noel..... Have enjoyed reading your letters for the past year or so. Although I haven't looked through any back issues, I was wondering if you have ever addressed the issues of men dealing with their wives' menopause. I am 56 years old and my wife of 34 years has been going through "extreme" menopause for the last 4 years and quite frankly, I'm ready to call it quits..... Are you aware of any online support groups or any publications that may help?


Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but then has to check when you say the paint is wet?


Announcing: Prime Cuts: Life Strategies For Farming After 50

I am mentioning this book here, in case you are a farmer or rancher, or know someone who is, and who might benefit from it.

I write a weekly column called "Ranching After Fifty" for Canada's largest farm paper The Western Producer. The column also runs monthly in the Minnesota-based Beef Magazine. Although the content is aimed at farm and ranch couples, its focus is midlife, and applies to anyone. The book is a compilation of my top 52 columns.

I am selling it through my website at the special price of $22.50, which includes shipping. If you would like more information, go here: Prime Cuts: Life Strategies For Farming After 50


Why did Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?


Help! My Wife Is In Menopause

Some women, such as my two older sisters, breeze through menopause. Others struggle a bit, and still others have a horrible time. My mother was one of the latter. When she was finally through it, she told me she and my dad had almost split up during the worst of it. Apparently dad didn't know what to do when she cried and had wild mood swings, so after supper almost every night he would leave and go visit a friend. She said she cried herself to sleep almost every night, not knowing why she was crying, and she could hardly stand to be around people, which was tough because at that time they were running a country store. She hired a local woman to look after the customers, and that helped a lot. For two or three years, she told my brother, sisters and I not to come home for holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. It was just too much for her to handle.

Mom and dad didn't have a lot of communication skills, and mom was at her wit's end with dad leaving every night, so she finally talked to her doctor about it. He called my dad in and told him he had to stay home and talk to his wife.

This helped a fair bit, and even though I am sure dad was pretty uncomfortable with it, he hung in there, and after a few years the worst was over. They retired when mom was in her late fifties, and the next 25 years were some of the best they ever had.

Elizabeth had a pretty hard time in menopause as well - lots of crying, often feeling depressed or kind of hopeless, couldn't be around groups of people for very long (we stopped having family dinners at our place for a few years), and lost interest in the work she had enjoyed for a long time. Fortunately, we could talk about it, which we did. I also made a point of reassuring her that I loved her no matter what, and that this too would pass. Which it has. Just the same, those were some pretty tough days for us, especially as I went through my own midlife change (read andropause) at the same time, and had some similar symptoms.

I checked on the net to see what resources there are for men whose wives are in menopause, and found one that looked helpful. Here is what it says:

  • 1) Know the Symptoms Menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, decreased libido, moodiness, weight gain, forgetfulness, hostility, and depression.
  • 2) Understand the Changes Along with the symptoms and heightened emotions, a woman going through menopause may experience alarming physical changes such as a fast heart beat, thinning hair, vaginal dryness, loss of pleasurable sensations during sex, skin flushing, irregular menstrual periods, and osteoporosis concerns.
  • 3) Support Her Treatment Decisions Exercise with her. Educate yourselves about the pros and cons of more vegetables and soy in your diet, along with the advantages and disadvantages of alcohol, white sugar, caffeine and milk. Give her massages. Learn together how to meditate or do relaxation exercises.
  • 4) Encourage Her to See a Physician With the recent findings that HRT may increase a woman's risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke, and estrogen alone may increase risk of ovarian cancer, it is important that your wife consults a physician for help in making treatment decisions that are right for her.
  • 5) Communicate Don't ignore her feelings. Don't make fun of her hot flashes or put her down. Let her know she can express her feelings, both positive and negative, with you. Listen to her as she expresses her fears about growing old and as she re-examines her life.
  • 6) Make Time for the Two of You Look for ways to nurture your marriage including finding time to spend together having fun.
  • 7) Look for the Positive Don't believe all the old wives' tales. Remember that a difficult menopause is not the woman's fault. Menopause can be different for every woman. Support the idea that this can be a wonderful time of change for your wife. She can become personally empowered and learn more about her own strengths and talents. Make this a time of healthy growth for you both and for your marriage.

Couldn't have said it better myself. If your wife is struggling with menopause, I hope this helps both of you a little.

And remember... this too shall pass.


Grown men may learn from very little children, for the hearts of little children are pure, and, therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which other people miss. Black Elk


Why Women Cry

I have noticed that we men often get real uncomfortable in the presence of a crying woman. We seem to have no idea what to do. We get all fidgety and embarrassed, and maybe even angry and upset. We like to be able to fix things, and we don't know how to 'fix' a woman who is crying.

If your wife is already through menopause, you probably already know what to do. If she isn't, you would do well to learn what to do when a woman is crying, because as I mentioned above, when she does hit menopause, the chances are she will cry quite a bit.

So here is a little primer (Elizabeth having been through menopause, and I've learned a few things):

Crying is just crying. As far as I know it is not dangerous, and it is perfectly natural, just as laughing or frowning is natural. It's even a healthy thing to do. When a woman cries, she is not necessarily trying to manipulate you or make you pay in some way.

Women don't always know why they are crying. This is especially true during menopause. Perhaps the physical changes, such as decreased estrogen production trigger crying.

Women often cry when they are frustrated or angry, or maybe they are sad or having a troubled relationship with someone.

Avoid belittling or dismissive comments

No matter how uncomfortable you feel when a woman is crying, don't try to belittle it or make her stop just to make yourself more comfortable. Saying things such as "Don't cry, it'll be alright", "Oh jeez, here comes the water works", "You are too sensitive, you should get over it", "It's that time month again, is it?", "Is that all you are crying about?", or "How can you not know what you are crying about?" are not helpful. In fact, those kinds of expressions may stop the woman from crying, but you will not enjoy what comes next, including the hot tongue and cold shoulder for supper.

When a woman is crying, especially if you have come upon her crying alone, it may be just as well to leave her to it. Perhaps she is just 'having a good cry', and doesn't need comforting or a shoulder to cry on. On the other hand, if she does tell you what she is crying about, it is good to show understanding. That doesn't mean giving her a bunch of 'man advice' to help rationalize the problem away. It might be better to empathize a bit: "It sounds as though Mary's comment really hurt you", or "I guess our financial situation is worrying you more than I realized".

Men cry too, but for different reasons

Professor Randolph Cornelius is a professor of psychology at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and has been developing 'an evolutionary theory of weeping'.

"My general theory of crying is, it's about attachment", he says in an interview in the UK newspaper The Observer, in April, 2003. "With women, it's about relationship conflicts, anger or frustration. With men, it's about loss, some kind of broken emotional bond, particularly that between fathers and sons. It speaks to the whole generation of men like myself whose fathers were deeply affected by World War II and who matured in the Fifties, when father/son relations were at their most distant."

Just as there are 'chick flicks' - films that women enjoy but men usually scoff at - there are also what professor Cornelius calls "male weepies", which make men cry. Some examples are Antwone Fisher, Field of Dreams, Saving Private Ryan, and Braveheart. Cornelius says the ultimate male weepie would set up a father/son barrier and breach it after much struggle, only to have death or disaster intervene and slam it shut again.

If you are a man in midlife, chances are pretty good that you are moved to tears much more easily than you used to be. My friend John says even a news story about someone being rescued will set him off. Don't worry about it. It simply means your tear ducts still work, and you are perhaps a bit more emotionally open than you were before. Nothing wrong with that.

Bottom line… women cry for different reasons than men. It is a mechanism to release tension, and that's good. If you have a tissue, you might offer it, but you don't have to fix anything or get it to stop. Just be with the person who is crying - man or woman.


ON A BAR OF DIAL SOAP: Directions: Use like regular soap.



I do this newsletter and host the website as a service to other men, and am happy to do so. Just the same, it costs some money, and if you would like to make a small contribution to help with those costs, I would really appreciate it. If you would like, you can make a donation at:


Got your copy of Picking Up The Burning Feather yet? It will help you on your spiritual journey.

Just go to Picking Up The Burning Feather: A Spiritual Guide For Midlife Men.


Just For You: A Free Do-It-Yourself Retirement Planning Report

If you are a new subscriber to this newsletter, you will recall I promised you a link to a secret page on the Midlife Men's site where you can download a free 27-page report on 'DIY Retirement planning' by George Slater.

Welcome to the newsletter, and for your free report, go to: DIY Retirement E-Report , and follow the instructions.



Learn to be a Teleclass Facilitator

If you are a facilitator/speaker/professional who gives lectures or workshops, you can do it from home and make money. Teleclasses (also known as teleseminars) using telephone bridge lines, are becoming increasingly popular, and and a very inexpensive way to deliver high-quality training. I took training in teleclass leadership from Teleclass International which I highly recommend.



A Destroyer of Compasses by Wade Bell, published by Guernica Editions, (Toronto, Buffalo and Lancaster UK) $15.00 Cdn

One Man's Mid-Life Crisis Led to Spain. Planning to spend six weeks, he stayed five years.

A book of stories the Toronto Globe & Mail called "an assured and sensual portrait of a culture" with "precise and ironic examples of human idiosyncracy." The review went on to call stories "gems."

Available from Amazon, E-Bay and local bookstores.

I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.


Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.

All the best, Noel

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