Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Virtual Book Tour Q&A: "Irritable Male Syndrome"

Many of you women in the Sandwich Generation logged on yesterday to take part in our interview with Dr. Jed Diamond. We had a spirited discussion with the author of The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression. Our thanks to Jed for being so generous with his time – and here are a sampling of questions and his responses:

One reader's comment:

Thanks for this good information. So far my husband doesn't seem to have any problems, but now that I know about IMS, I'll keep my eye out for it.

And another's question:

Great post today with lots of information - thanks. I've been married 8 years and my husband is only 39. Lately he has some of the symptoms you mention - isn't he kind of young for this?

Jed's response:

Irritable Male Syndrome can occur at any age. The two most common times are with young men between the ages of 15 and 25 and older men between the ages of 40 and 55. At 39, that's generally in the common range.

Sally shared her ambivalence:

We've been married 32 years and my wonderful husband has become impossible to live with. I've asked him to see a counselor with or without me but he flat out refuses. I don't want a divorce but I don't know what to do anymore.

Jed's reaction:

Men often are resistant to looking at these issues. Fortunately there is a lot a woman can do. I'm finishing a new book, specifically for women, Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome.

Another question:

I married a strong, in charge guy, and that made me feel taken care of and secure for many years. Now that I'm more confident I want an equal partner. Is it wrong to expect his cooperation in changing the rules?

Jed's answer:

As you point out, what we are looking for when we marry may change over time. Most men like to feel in charge and be able to "protect and serve."

Many women want a more equal relationship over time. The key is to do it in such a way that a man still feels needed and valued.

A concern from Beverly:

I have close ties with my girlfriends and that's great. But I want a deeper relationship with my husband and for me that doesn't mean more sex. Is there any way to make my husband understand?

Jed's thoughtful response:

Men often express their more intimate feelings once they are connected sexually. For women, they are more likely to want to have more sex when they feel closer emotionally.

This is either God's cosmic joke to punish us or an opportunity for each of us to learn the language of the other.

Lizzie wants to know:

How can I help my partner with his ugly moods?

And another common concern:

The changes in my husband puzzle and upset me but he's not at all concerned. As he has never been one to self reflect, am I expecting too much? Or maybe it's me who is different?

Jed's helpful answer:

One of the best tools for helping a man recognize he has IMS is to take the quiz which I've posted at Often a woman will take it and get a score, then ask the man to see what his score is.

Since one of the primary symptoms of IMS is that a man doesn't realize he has it, a woman must often learn a lot herself and make changes that can help, even when the man is still in denial.

We want to thank Jed for shedding light on a challenging subject for many women. As Jed said: "I’ve gotten hundreds of letters from women who want to know what they can do to help the man in their lives, deal with their own wounds, and insure that their relationship survives this difficult period." Stay tuned for Jed's virtual Book Tour, Part II, when his new book, Mr. Mean: Rescuing Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome is published. And clicking on the title of this post will take you to where you can sign up for Jed's free e-newsletter.

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