Men's Mental Health... Does it exist for Men Over Sixty?

by Julie Grenness, in Australia.

Men’s mental health—does it really exist for baby boomer men?

Are men so bound by their own concept of masculinity and gender stereotyping? Men can be lovable, yes, but may appear to be emotionally dependent on a nurturer, who men wish would be like their mother. Such men can be flawed by their own relationship failures, any substance abuse, any racism, his perceived misogyny, and can rely on blaming women for male inadequacies.

A comic might say that it is a because ‘boys will be boys”, “they’re all as mad as snakes”, and “Eve always gets the blame!”. What is your opinion?

A typical character of an over-sixty male might be described as only truly happy with: a Playboy magazine; gazing at his dipstick and carburettor; a winning bet on a horse race; and a team in the football finals! This is an example of a gender stereotype of a man’s mental health, especially in Australia. But are women of baby boomer age to be blamed?

Maybe women and men of our age were all conditioned to accept that women were ‘good girls’ if we nurtured men in the same way the men’s mothers had, as emotionally dependent. Can women really blame the men?

A reciprocal caring and emotionally nurturing relationship is an ideal in society, where we all do seek some sort of relationship, even introverts. Some people can be satisfied with good friendships, while others have to compromise in a search for ‘the one’.

So, can baby boomers seek their own need to change? Over-sixty and male---does men’s mental health really exist?

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What the Heck?
by: John A / Tyler, TX

Maybe I am misreading things here about Men's Mental Health and whether it exists.

From a humorous stand point, as I start to approach the age of 70, I discovered long ago the man's mind is the second thing to go. I won't delve into the first. The hearing is the third.

If I wanted to have a mother figure in my life, I would have stayed at home with "mommy and daddy". Instead, I chose to bond with a wonderful lady who only enhances my life. We help each other through the good, not so good and the difficult times.

As part of that life, we encourage each other to have different interests so that we can continue to grow as individuals. She has her own interests and I have mine. However, our central interest is in each other and our well being. And we share the joy and enthusiasm in the things we do individually. It involves the other even though not directly involved in the "doing" of those things. It's all part of the effect communication process that goes on in a relationship.

But to stare at Playboy, as many males do, is something abhorrent in my life since I view that sort of thing as cheating on my wife. It's emotional infidelity. When that sort of thing creeps into a relationship, then it is already on the rocks. It's better to avoid those types of things since they only tempt. Think about it. One will realize as he grows older in life, the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence by looking at filth.

I don't buy the notion boys will be boys in the things they do. Instead, I view them as mixed up priorities in life. My better half is my number one priority in life. I don't point the finger at her like "Adam did with Eve" After all, when one points a finger at another, there are three fingers pointing back. Instead I involve her in different ways and share what I experienced and learned. That's not to say we don't have our differences. We iron them out by talking and sharing of thoughts and emotions. Not via yelling and screaming.

And yes, I have absolutely no true idea what it is for a woman to go thought child birth. I can only guess what it is like.

And women most likely do not quite fully understand that men wrap up their self worth in the job they do and the social pressures to be the bread winner of the family. That male role has been defined over many thousands of years and it really hasn't changed much since then.

To say that all men and women need marriage counseling nowadays is a little bit overboard.

Perhaps if men and women just sat down an really talked with each other and listened....not hear...but listen, counseling would not be necessary. There's a big difference between hearing and listening. But to rely on marriage counseling on solving our differences will most likely result in folks taking on the hangups of the counselor.


Agree
by: Anonymous

My husband after retirement really changed. It was all these stereotypes he was programmed from birth to believe.

When he retired, he lost his purpose in life and no longer had control over a work group, as he was a manager. We had moved out of state and he was out of his comfort zone. He became depressed and critical and a bit controlling. Small things would irritate him and he was just never happy.

He passed away 4 years ago. He had everything a man could want, nice home, financial security, health at first and a loving wife. But it was not enough. He was lost without that "purpose". A critical father during childhood, I'm sure didn't help.

Men really are different from women and some just can't seem to adjust to a new mental way of looking at things when they retire. They should be mellowed and more at ease with life, but they aren't. And they can get grumpy and more conservative too.

Men's Health & Wellness
by: Joe W.

I'm glad that someone is mentioning the issue of Men's Health & Wellness. This is an area that requires urgent attention.

Men are still seen as being the bread winners, protectors & conquerors. However; with the ongoing women's movement relationships have changed and women have stood up to do many of the same things as was previously identified as characteristics for men.

So, instead of focusing on the 50+ movement (all genders together) basically women are seen as going their separate ways.

Without more collaboration men will have a bigger problem adjusting to their own retirement lifestyle; and as a result we will probably see more anxiety & depression disorders from men.

Men's Mental Health
by: Elna Nugent, Mass. USA

Dear Julie: Your observations about men make it more and more important for some kind of classes to be made mandatory before we marry .

Men and women have differences that are not our fault. We are made differently. We should be taught about those differences so that we can honor them rather than think they are ridiculous.

Both sexes have a deep need to be needed--each for different reasons that are not always understood. When my husband died I had to take over all finances, property, house , car etc. Now I am more likely to value what he did automatically as a male.

A man can never really understand what it is like to be pregnant, bring forth children ( in my case four after age thirty.) I left my teaching job and instead cleaned house and made meals as well as be on a 24 hour-watch taking care of children. I missed my adult friends at work and the feeling of being of help to young students. Luckily my husband was considerate and helpful.

Still he also needed to know that I respect what he does all day and the important work involved. I was asked to write a weekly newspaper column which helped me keep my contact with the outside world.

We all need marriage counseling to realize we are each different and that difference is what " makes a huge difference" in this world.



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