Updates from January, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • midlifelove 12:23 am on January 26, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Gates, Dr Hilary Tindle, fewer heart attacks, , live longer, lower heart risk, , optimist, University of Pittsburgh research study.research study on optimists   

    Optimists Enjoy Better Health 

    It seems life’s most public optimists – “Can Do” power houses like Lance Armstrong, Bill Gates and Michael J Fox – are onto something.

    New research indicates being an optimist significantly cuts your chances of suffering a heart attack, and even helps you live longer.

    In the largest study done on the effect of positive thinking on health, University of Pittsburgh researchers found that compared to pessimists, optimists had a nine per cent lower risk of developing heart disease and a 14 per cent lower risk of dying from any cause.

    Bad Times Bring Good

    Seven times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong credits much of his own success on the bike to his battle with testicular cancer.

    “I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that none of, none of my success on the bike would have been possible without that disease,” he said. “Life wouldn’t have been necessarily empty, but it would not have looked like this.” Armstrong also said his optimism is inspired by his mother, who overcame her own set of challenges as a teen mom.

    “I give all the credit to my mom,” he said. “She’s really a survivor. She’s as strong and tough as they come and she never looks at anything in a negative light.”

    Incurable Optimist Michael J Fox

    Armstrong’s personal example, and the LiveStrong foundation he set up to support cancer survivors, inspired actor Michael J Fox to start his own Fox Team foundation for research into Parkinson’s Disease.

    In his most recent book Always Looking Up – the Adventures of an Incurable Optimist Fox says that “for everything the disease has taken something of greater value has been given. It may be one step forward two steps, back but I’ve learned what is important is making that one step count.”

    Bill Gates – Impatient Optimist

    He’s in good company. Microsoft founder Bill Gates has characterized himself as an “impatient optimist.”  And for those that know him, both terms describe him well.

    Gates has focused on his philanthropic efforts–which focus on areas where there is great suffering as well as the means to alleviate that suffering through attention and increased resources. But, too often, he says change is not coming quickly enough.

    The University of Pittsburgh study – on post-menopausal women – found the positive benefits of being optimistic were independent of income, education, or “health behaviors like [controlling] blood pressure and whether or not you are physically active, or whether or not you drink or smoke,” says Dr. Hilary Tindle, lead author of the study. “I was surprised that the relationship was independent of all of these factors.”

  • midlifelove 9:59 am on December 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Dr Imre Janszky, good for heart, heart attack, Karolinksa Institute, reduced risk of dying, Swedish study   

    Holiday Chocs ‘Good for Heart’ 

    If you’re feeling guilty because you’ve been snacking on holiday chocolate treats, don’t. New research shows you are giving your heart protection against attacks – just as long as you are not already overweight or diabetic.

    Eating chocolate two or three times a week cut the risk of dying from heart disease nearly three fold in a group of heart attack survivors studied by Swedish scientists.

    The researchers concluded eating chocolate led to lower blood pressure and reduced chance of dying of heart disease.

    Chocolate ‘Prevents Death’

    Of the 1,169 patients (aged 45 to 70) studied, those who ate chocolate two or more times a week cut their risk of dying from heart disease nearly threefold compared to those who didn’t eat chocolate at all, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Imre Janszky of Karolinska Institute.

    Jansky’s study also suggested antioxidants in cacao cut the risk of death from heart disease in healthy older men and post-menopausal women.

    The research, published in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine. is believed to be the first study that demonstrates that chocolate can help prevent death in heart attack survivors.

    Some Chocolate Better than None

    The study suggested smaller quantities of chocolate granted lower levels of heart protection, but were still better than not eating it at all.

    The research built upon earlier work which suggested a strong link between cocoa-based products and improvement in blood flow.

  • midlifelove 4:47 am on December 21, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 70-year-olds enjoy more sex, Alex Comfort, British Medical Journal, men not so happy, Nils Beckman, older women happier, septuagenarians and sex, Swedish research on older people's sex lives   

    Better Sex At 70 

    “The things that stop you enjoying sex in old age are the same things that stop you riding a bicycle – bad health, thinking it is silly and no bicycle.”  – Alex Comfort in The Joy of Sex

    The number of 70 year olds that are having sex – and saying it is good sex – is increasing.  And more older women in particular are indicating specific satisfaction with their sex lives.

    Swedish researcher Nils Beckman and colleagues from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden surveyed four representative population samples of 70 year olds in Sweden over 30 years.

    More than 1,500 septuagenarians gave details of their sex lives for the report, published in the British Medical Journal.

    Over three decades there was an across-the-board increase in the number of 70 year olds that reported engaging in sexual intercourse.

    From 1971-2 to 2001-2:

    • Married men increased from 52% to 98%
    • Married women increased from 38% to 56%
    • Unmarried men increased from 30% to 54%
    • Unmarried women increased from 0.8% to 12%

    Women Especially Happy, Men Less So

    An increasing number of these women reported having an orgasm during sex and a decreasing number reported not having an orgasm.

    Though fewer women reported low satisfaction with their sex lives, the situation was different for men – there was an increase the proportion of men who reported low satisfaction.

    This could be due to the modern phenomenon of male’s accepting responsibility for sexual failure, according to the authors.

    A particularly interesting finding is that when sexual intercourse stops between a male and a female, both sexes readily blame men – a similar finding to studies performed in the 1950s and 2005-06.

    The researchers conclude that, “Our study…shows that most elderly people consider sexual activity and associated feelings a natural part of later life.”

    Doctors Should Ask About Sex

    The survey was considered especially interesting because it interviewed “ordinary’ people who were not seeking treatment for sexual dysfunction.

    The researchers concluded doctors are known to be uncomfortable about asking patients questions about their sex lives.

    Given that sex plays an increasingly valuable role in the lives of older men and women, Beckman and colleagues’ study reinforces the dictum that doctors should ask – and be trained to ask – every patient, regardless of age, ‘Any sexual concerns?’ “

  • midlifelove 9:57 am on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: halves death rate, , reduces depression, reduces heart risk,   

    Sex is Good For You! 

    It’s not often you discover doing something you enjoy is also really good for your health, but researchers have come up with startling results when looking at whether having sex was good for your health, Forbes magazine has reported.

    In one of the most credible studies correlating overall health with sexual frequency, Queens University in Belfast tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade.

    Good Sex Life Halves Death Rate

    The study was designed to compare persons of comparable circumstances, age and health. Its findings, published in 1997 in the British Medical Journal, were that men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate half that of the laggards.

    Other studies show that having sex even a few times a week may help with the following:

    • Improved sense of smell: After sex, production of the hormone prolactin surges. This in turn causes stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the brain’s olfactory bulb, its smell center.
    • Reduced risk of heart disease: In a 2001 follow-on to the Queens University study mentioned above, researchers focused on cardiovascular health. Their finding? That by having sex three or more times a week, men reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half.
    • Weight loss, overall fitness: British researchers have determined that the equivalent of six Big Macs can be worked off by having sex three times a week for a year. Muscular contractions during intercourse work the pelvis, thighs, buttocks, arms, neck and thorax. Sex also boosts production of testosterone, which leads to stronger bones and muscles.
    • Reduced depression: A 2002 study of 293 women reported by American psychologist Gordon Gallup indicated that sexually active participants whose male partners did not use condoms were less subject to depression than those whose partners did. One theory of causality: Prostoglandin, a hormone found only in semen, may be absorbed in the female genital tract, thus modulating female hormones.
    • Pain-relief: Immediately before orgasm, levels of the hormone oxytocin surge to five times their normal level. This in turn releases endorphins, which alleviate the pain of everything from headache to arthritis to even migraine. In women, sex also prompts production of estrogen, which can reduce the pain of PMS.
    • Less-frequent colds and flu: Wilkes University in Pennsylvania says individuals who have sex once or twice a week show 30% higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A, which is known to boost the immune system.
    • Better bladder control: Heard of Kegel exercises? You do them, whether you know it or not, every time you stem your flow of urine. The same set of muscles is worked during sex.
    • A happier prostate? Some urologists believe they see a relationship between infrequency of ejaculation and cancer of the prostate. The causal argument goes like this: To produce seminal fluid, the prostate and the seminal vesicles take such substances from the blood as zinc, citric acid and potassium, then concentrate them up to 600 times. Any carcinogens present in the blood likewise would be concentrated. Rather than have concentrated carcinogens hanging around causing trouble, it’s better to evict them.

    Regular old sex could do the job. But if the flushing of the prostate were your only objective, masturbation might be a better way to go, especially for the non-monogamous male. Having sex with multiple partners can, all by itself, raise a man’s risk of cancer by up to 40%.

    That’s because he runs an increased risk of contracting sexual infections. A study recently published by the British Journal of Urology International asserts that men in their 20s can reduce by a third their chance of getting prostate cancer by ejaculating more than five times a week.

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  • midlifelove 10:11 am on November 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Botox, , , Eric Finzi, facial muscles, Fake it till you make it, , Nat King Cole, neurological link, Smile   

    Women on Botox Happier 

    woman botoxNat King Cole knew more than we realised when he sang “Smile, what’s the use of crying, You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, If you just smile.”

    That’s because science is increasingly finding that changing expressions can influence mood, although scientists still don’t fully understand why.  But they are beginning to suspect a neurological link between facial muscles and brain activity.

    People asked to smile while watching a cartoon, for instance, report it is funnier than people who are not asked to smile.

    Botox Lifts Depression

    Now a series of studies seem to show that women who have Botox treatments are happier – and it has nothing to do with increased self confidence because they look better.

    First (in 2006) a Botox-happy cosmetic surgeon reported a  small study which claimed that filling out depressed women’s frown lines so they couldn’t wrinkle their brows helped lift their depression.

    The pilot study of 10 patients was the first to provide empirical support for what a number of clinicians say they have noticed anecdotally: People who get their furrowed brows eliminated with Botox (botulinum toxin A) often report an improvement in mood.

    Washington dermatologist Eric Finzi’s study found that even patients who were not seeking cosmetic improvement showed a dramatic decrease in depression symptoms.

    Not Just Self Confidence

    And a follow up study reported in Time magazine suggests that Botox may lighten people’s moods by literally wiping the frowns off their faces.

    The study, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, followed 25 cosmetic-surgery patients, 12 of whom received injections of Botulinum Toxin A or similar neurotoxins, the others receiving fillers, peels or other cosmetic treatments for wrinkles.

    Two weeks after the treatments patients filled out a questionnaire for depression and anxiety.

    “The Botox patients scored much lower on measures of depression, anxiety and irritability,” explains Michael Lewis, a psychology professor at the University of Cardiff and lead author of the study. “Crucially, there was no significant difference in how much their treatment made them feel attractive from those who had other treatments, suggesting that [the mood boost] wasn’t just down to a boost in self-confidence.”

    Face and Brain Link

    At the time, Finzi explained the results of his 2006 study using the facial-feedback hypothesis — a feedback loop in which people frown back at a depressed person, further deepening that person’s sense of isolation. He suggested that if a depressed person can’t frown because of Botox treatment, then others won’t frown back at them, thereby breaking the loop.

    Others have suggested facial muscles may alter the temperature of blood flowing in the brain. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and tai chi may help cool the brain and result in a more positive mood.

    Whatever the mechanism, moods can clearly be influenced by expressions, not just the other way around, said Paul Ekman, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of California at San Francisco, who has spent decades exploring the connection between emotions and expressions.

    “If you make a facial expression voluntarily, you can change the autonomic and central nervous system to generate that emotion,” he said.

    Meeting People Easier

    But Ekman said the relationship between emotions and expressions is probably too complex to explain Finzi’s finding. It is unlikely, he said, that simply altering one’s expressions can relieve depression.

    More plausible, Ekman said, is that changing expressions can help heighten or decrease emotional states. Or it is possible that by frowning less, patients in Finzi’s study seemed less forbidding to others, which helped to strengthen their social connections. In turn, that may have helped ease the depression, Ekman said.

    But Lewis says he favors the theory that facial muscles influence brain activity directly and points to earlier research that suggests such a neurological link.

    Fake It Till You Make It

    For example, studies have shown that subjects find comedy routines significantly funnier when they hold a pen between their teeth the way a dog holds a bone, a pose that stimulates the muscles used for smiling. Similarly, subjects laugh less when holding a pen between their lips, a pose that mimics frowning.

    Such studies are part of a growing trend in counseling and therapy that focuses on behavioral change — a new approach summed up by the Alcoholics Anonymous slogan “Fake it till you make it” — rather than the stern “talk therapy” of the Freudian era.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy, for instance, teaches patients to alter the physiological feedback cycles of certain conditions by slowing their breathing during panic attacks or cutting the hangdog look during periods of depression.

    But Lewis warns that his and Finzi’s studies both examined small sample groups, so it would be premature, he says, to consider Botox injections — at around $400 each — purely on the basis of their potential for mood enhancement.

  • midlifelove 12:57 am on October 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cleo the Uppity Cat, facing life with courage, grief, Helen Brown, Marley and Me, Next magazine   

    Mending Broken Hearts 

    helen brown bookIf you’ve ever been tempted to ‘keep yourself young’ by following the advice to do something that frightens you every day then you’d be inspired by my friend Helen Brown, an award winning columnist and best-selling author.

    Helen would be the last person to see her own life as something others should emulate, but she is one of those people who lives every day with courage.  Her humorous tales as a middle class wife and Mum in Melbourne, Wellington and Auckland through weekly newspaper columns and now a monthly column in Next magazine share one theme – her willingness to be honest about her insecurities and fears.

    Her latest book Cleo – How an Uppity Cat Helped Heal a Family – described as a blend of Eat Pray Love and Marley and Me – is her tale of how a small black kitten helped her overcome family tragedy and learn to live again – through grief to a second marriage, having another child, relocating countries and then facing breast cancer.

    It’s a story she says that she hopes will encourage others going through tough times to believe “there is a future”.

    More Than Nine Lives

    Every few years Helen seems to have stepped off life’s high diving board and taken on new challenges. Some of them are the ones we all face up to – her second marriage to a younger husband, a new baby, relocation to Australia when she was well established as a writer in her NZ homeland and unknown across the Tasman – and some of them are more extreme.

    Like her decision to write and perform a one woman show based on her story and then – without any theatrical training – take it on the road in Australia and New Zealand fund raising for hospices – an experience you’d think would be close to daily torture for someone who doesn’t willingly hog the spotlight.  One she made into a touching – and that word again – inspiring performance.

    Retirement on Hold

    Her book about Cleo appeared just as she was feeling retirement might be looming. Its success has set in train what looks like it could a whole new career and international recognition.

    Cleo, the story of a small black cat – is being published in eight languages; it is in its second edition in Australia already (extracts appear in the October edition of the Australian Women’s Weekly, in the upmarket The Week and in Sunday Times magazine (WA) on October 4) and it is sitting near the top of NZ best seller lists.

    Go Helen!

  • midlifelove 8:53 am on October 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , authentic life, baby boomer, better jobs, Fay Weldon, happiest womens secrets, , Marcus Buckingham, opportunities,   

    She’s Got It All – So Why Isn’t She Happy? 

    sex and the cityAs a baby boomer lucky enough to have made it through to the 21st century, I can’t imagine a better time to be a woman! With access to work, education and leisure opportunities like never before, I just can’t imagine what woman have got to not to be happy about.

    Want to go skiing in your 60s? Why Not? Get remarried in your 70s? Go for it! Back pack around the world or take up the flute in your 80s? Hey if it excites you, do it!

    It’s a historic fact that the last four decades have seen women secure better jobs and education, higher salaries, more free time and more influence.

    Fay Weldon Recants

    So why, as recent studies have shown, are they, unlike men, growing sadder as they grow older? Why is feminist author Fay Weldon (77) now saying women should step back from the board room and have babies, pick up men’s socks and fake orgasms?

    Despite all the gains of the last 40 years, gains that were supposed to have given women fulfillment and even, for the special few, the sustained thrill of living of an authentic life, women’s general life satisfaction is trending downwards.

    Ariana’s Sad and Shocking Truth


    As journalist /blogger Ariana Huffington has noted in The Sad Shocking Truth about How Women are Feeling “It doesn’t matter what their marital status is, how much money they make, whether or not they have children, their ethnic background, or the country they live in. Women around the world are in a funk.”

    The usual excuses – working longer hours, doing more house work, gender stereotyping – don’t stack up when examined closely.

    Marcus Buckingham, a best-selling author and former Gallup Poll researcher reckons he’s got the answer – and that is that women and men pass each other in a mid point in life. Women start out feeling more fulfilled, and then lose it as they age, while men go in the opposite direction.

    Happiest Women’s Secrets

    In Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently, due out in the US in late September, Marcus suggests the happiest and most successful women:

    • Don’t agonize over who they aren’t—they accept and act on who they are. They have discovered the role they were born to play and they play it.
    • Don’t juggle—they catch-and-cradle. They don’t keep things at bay, but select a few things and draw them in close.
    • Don’t strive for balance—they strive for fullness. They intentionally imbalance their lives toward those moments that make them feel strong.
    • Always sweat the small stuff—They know and act on the specific details of what invigorates them (and they let go of what doesn’t strengthen them).

    So what about you? Are happy with where you are? Has life lived up to your expectations so far? And if not, what are you doing about it? We’d love to hear.

  • midlifelove 11:27 am on September 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aids weight loss, boosts sex, , , civet coffee, cola, drinking coffee, increases infertility, Jack Nicholson, Kopi Luwak, reduces Parkinsons, Starbucks, The Bucket List   

    Caffeine – Sex Booster or Cause of Infertility? 

    sex booster
    Four out of five Americans and two out of five Australians start the day with a coffee.

    It’s almost certainly not the same brew –“the best coffee in the world” – consumed by Jack Nicholson’s character in the 2007 movie The Bucket List.

    That was a rare blend known as Kopi Luwak, civet coffee – where the beans have passed through the digestive tracts of civet cats, and are gathered when the seeds, still coated in some cherry mucilage, are eliminated in the cat’s “poop”. Great!

    But whether you take your daily caffeine fix in Kopi Luwak or Starbucks, in cola, chocolate or black tea – there’s truckloads of conflicting evidence about whether caffeine is good for your health and love life, whether it boosts sexual desire or causes infertility.

    Good and Bad News About Caffeine

    Good: A new study shows caffeine gets females in the mood for sex. With a few provisos – if you’re a female rat who hasn’t previously experienced a caffeine “lift”  – it had them coming back for more – sex that is not coffee.

    Researcher Fay Guarraci, an assistant professor of psychology at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, is cautious about whether it would boost women’s sex lives in the same way.

    “We gave only one dose of caffeine to animals who had never had caffeine before.

    “Most of the time, women drink coffee on a daily basis or ingest caffeine in cola beverages,” she observes. “In humans, it might enhance the sexual experience only among people who are not habitual users.”

    Bad:  More than four cups of coffee a day increases infertility in women who are already subfertile, according to a new European study. For many women though, it probably won’t make any difference.

    One study done in 2003 showed women who consumed less than 300 mg of caffeine a day (appx 2-3 cups of coffee) a day did not experience reduced fertility.

    Yet another study of over 1000 women found the risk of not conceiving to go up with each additional cup of coffee, where even one cup reduced a woman’s ability to conceive.

    The results are mixed for men as well. One study showed that sperm count, motility and abnormalities increased with the number of cups of coffee drank in a day – while another Brazilian study showed increased motility for mild to heavy coffee drinkers.

    Good: Coffee drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and gallstones.

    • A recent Harvard study of over 126,000 people conducted over 18 years found that compared to non-coffee drinkers, drinking 1-3 cups of coffee a day will reduce the risk of diabetes by single digits, but drinking 6 or more cups a day reduced that risk by 30% in women and 54% in men.
    • At least six studies have shown coffee drinkers are significantly less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease (at least three studies showed that the more coffee you drank, the lower your risk).
    • Coffee drinking reduces the risk of cirrhosis of the liver by up to 80%, and cuts the risk of gall stones in half.

    Bad: Random Coffee Fact: People who buy coffee primarily at drive through windows on their way to work will spend as much as 45 hours a year waiting in line.

    Good: Caffeine aids weight loss

    Caffeine speeds your body’s metabolism so you burn calories at a faster rate, and it breaks down fat. Fat conversion is up to 30% more efficient when you consume caffeine before you exercise. It also keeps blood sugar levels higher, reducing appetite.

    “A Little Bad, A Lot of Good”

    Concludes Dr. Tomas DePaulis at Vanderbilt University Institute for Coffee Studies: “Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more helpful than harmful.” Drinking coffee, he says, brings little bad, but a lot of good.

  • midlifelove 11:55 am on September 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: passion, reasons for having sex, , sex survey, why women have sex   

    Why Women Want Sex 

    women love sex
    Women have sex to “ensure a quiet life” or to “bargain for household chores” ahead of expecting the earth to move.

    That’s what a survey of 1000 women interviewed by Texas University professors admitted as their reasons for having sex. Forget physical attraction!

    From relieving boredom, to keeping the peace or curing a headache, women have sex for many reasons but romance and passion come rather low on the list, a book presenting the survey results reveals.

    One woman even admitted to having sex just so her husband would put the rubbish out.

    Mundane Motives

    “Research has shown most men find most women at least somewhat sexually attractive, whereas most women do not find most men sexually attractive at all,” Why Women Have Sex authors Cindy Meston and David Buss said.

    One woman she did it for a spiritual experience, proclaiming: “It’s the closest thing to God.”

    But mostly the explanations were far more mundane, with 84 per cent admitting to having sex just to ensure a quiet life or to bargain for household chores. One woman said: “I have sex to relieve the boredom because it’s easier than fighting. Plus it gives me something to do.”

    While it may not come as welcome news, some women have sex out of sympathy, with one admitting: “I slept with a couple of guys because I felt sorry for them.”

    But many have more selfish motives, with financial or material rewards a major factor.

    Sex For Fun

    In one survey of students, nearly one in 10 women admitted to “having sex for presents”. Others said: “He bought me a nice dinner”, “he spent a lot of money on me early on”, “he showed me he had an extravagant lifestyle”.

    And rather than love or romance, for many women sex is just about fun.

    Six in 10 university students said they slept with a male friend who was not their boyfriend.

    “Life is too damn short to be waiting four years to have sex again,” one said.

    • Katarina Nolte 4:52 am on December 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      You have a cool blog. Where is your RSS? If you get it I’d like to add you to my Google Reader. Thanks

    • thelocalguide 1:21 am on January 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      After reading I’ll have to think men make it a lot more simple in their heads when it turns to sex…. sometimes for worst ,sometimes for better…

    • naturegirl 2:03 pm on January 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I would feel so cheated if I couldn’t have regular lovemaking! I may be well into the menopause but believe me I enjoy & crave sex as much as I did when I was younger! And for the record, I can still achieve orgasm every time (not to mention female ejaculation!)
      For me….ok, us, sex is what binds our relationship, without it we would feel lost & unhappy. I don’t know how much longer it will carry on, but mother nature willing, we will still be at it for all the right reasons for some years yet!!
      Great blog.

  • midlifelove 8:54 am on September 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , irritable male syndrome, Jed Diamond, , , mid life changes, why men leave women   

    Why Men Leave Women 

    It can start with a small crisis – an illness, job change, traffic accident, children going off to college, a friend getting ill, parents aging, worries about finances or a business setback.

    The man of the house gets irritable, his moods are unpredictable, the formerly Mr Nice can turn suddenly Mr Mean. His wife or partner doesn’t know how to interpret the changes, but many are quite unprepared for what comes next. He walks out on a long term relationship with no apparent regrets or remorse.

    He won’t discuss it, he won’t agree to counselling, and he’s gone for good. For the woman in his life it can be a bewildering experience.

    So why do men leave? Jed Diamond PhD has done extensive research on men’s emotional and physical health and is the author of several books on the impact mid life changes can have in men’s lives.

    In this interview he answers the questions women living with someone who is turning into a grumpy old man want answered.

    1) Is there any way a woman can tell the difference between her mate “just being a grumpy old man” and something being seriously wrong?

    Sometimes it’s difficult to know if he is just “normal” grumpy or whether he has Irritable Male Syndrome.  In the research that I did for The Irritable Male Syndrome:  Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Aggression and Depression, I developed a diagnostic questionnaire that enabled us to assess the degree of irritability and how it impacted the man and his family.

    Our initial study was with 1000 men and 1000 women, mostly in the United States.  Once the book was published I posted the questionnaire to the web and now we have results from over 60,000 men and women from all over the world.  You can take the questionnaire at http://www.IMSquiz.com and find out if IMS is a problem for you or someone you love.

    2) What reasons do men give for leaving?

    Most of the time, when men leave they aren’t aware of the real reasons.  They say things like:  “I need my space;”  “I just need some time to sort things out;”  “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”

    3) Is there any research which shows whether these reasons are the “real” ones or not?

    The real reasons that emerged from our research show men are dealing with mostly unconscious issues:

    • Hormonal changes and drops of testosterone make them more irritable and frustrated.
    • Changes in brain chemistry make them more depressed.
    • Increased stress levels make them look for a simpler life.
    • Changes in male role identity make them go looking for a relationship that recreates some of the old familiar roles such as sole provider or protector.

    Men are looking for something, but often act like confused homing pigeons that fly 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  They are really feeling that their stable identity is coming apart and are afraid if they stopped to look at what was really going on inside it would overwhelm them.

    4) Do most wait till they have a “replacement woman” to fill the gap?

    Some men wait to find a replacement woman who will calm his fears.  But most often the men are just walking off into the unknown, or as I say in a one of my books, they are “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

    5) Are there any “warning signs” that tell women her man is going to leave?

    There are a number of warning signs including the following:

    • Increased restlessness, irritability, and anger.
    • Increasingly seeing the wife as someone who is “out to get him.”
    • He changes from Mr. Nice to Mr. Mean or as some have said from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.

    6) What is the best way for a woman to deal with the situation? If he refuses to admit to any problems – or take any responsibility for the difficulties himself – what can a woman do?

    A woman needs to learn all she can about The Irritable Male Syndrome.  On my website http://www.TheIrritableMale.com and on http://www.MenAlive.com I offer support and information.

    Next, she needs to reach out to someone she trusts and talk about what is going on, how she’s feeling, and what she needs.

    Often there is a code of silence that develops within families when Irritable Male Syndrome, IMS, is a problem.

    He may become possessive and not want her to talk to anyone.  It’s his way of fending off his shame.  But she must reach out.  Finally, she needs to take care of herself emotionally and physically.  Before she can help him she must help herself.

    • Thomas 8:49 pm on November 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting analysis of some of the literature out there. I am intrigued by this same topic and have a few of my own ideas which are just that. I deas. Grumpy ios one that really gets to me. Can I justsay as a male..men are not “grumpy” it does make me grumpy whn women call me that..(that was a joke) …men are grumpy because the feel and cannot articulate…it broods simmers and festers yes..but it is symptomatic of much of the way we raise our boys, and develop as men..emtional quotent bereft certainly doenst help us. Grumpy is the first of many signs that stuff is happeneing. Get someone safe and able to hwelp process those feelings because this is the seed bed for drastic change and not always good change if it is not addressed..just my view and a view brought about aby talking with lots of other men about this exaact same thing. I really do thinkw e need to start scripting our own story.too many people speak on our behalf because of that vacum we have created.I wish you well on your journey and will keep dropping in.Cheers Thomas

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