Life provides men with an endless supply of things to get angry about.
There’s the sullen waitress who refuses to look in your direction while you
wave desperately for the check. There’s the oaf who drifts across the road
without ever using his blinker. There’s the dropped call, the tepid shower, the
gum on the bottom of the shoe.
While it’s perfectly natural to get angry about any of these things, anger
comes to some men more naturally than others. For the hot-tempered, the
You or your partner may be experiencing irritable male syndrome
(IMS), which is marked by plummeting levels of the hormone testosterone while
under stress. As a result, men may feel withdrawn, frustrated, anxious, sad,
and/or lack interest or enthusiasm in just about everything - including
Cupid Is Stupid
And often IMS can be more noticeable around holidays like
"The problem with Valentine's Day for men who are
experiencing IMS is they know they should feel loving and romantic, but they
just don't," says Jed Diamond, author of several books including the
forthcoming Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Male
Depression and Aggression.
For men, Diamond says, "this very confusing because they
don't know what's going on inside them."
Women also feel the effects of IMS on Valentine's Day, says
Diamond, a clinical psychotherapist and director of MenAlive, a health center
in northern California. "You start thinking about when you first met and
the romance was still there, and now your man isn't terribly romantic and it
seems like everything about you bothers him," he says. "This can be
But you are not alone.
IMS is highly common and affects many aspects of life -- 365
days of the year, according to a new study of 10,000 men. Specifically, 46% of
men say that they are often or almost always stressed and 55% say they often or
almost always have a strong fear of failure. Moreover, 62% have a strong desire
to get away from it all, and 40% say they are rarely or never sexually
satisfied. The full study results will appear in Diamond's upcoming book.
Use It or Lose It
This Valentine's Day, "couples can either go through the
motions and pretend that nothing is wrong, or they can use this holiday of love
to re-examine their relationship and see if IMS may be leading them down the
wrong path," he says.
"Generally, the first step is to reaffirm that you care
about each other," he says. And then say something like 'tell me what you
are really feeling and what you are needing because love doesn't flow the way
it did or should,' he suggests. Or say, 'Look, I do love you, but something is
going on that we need to talk about.'