Aging brings a variety of changes to a man’s body, he may pack on a few extra pounds around his mid-section and he may not look as fit and defined as he did when he was 25. Because of the effects of aging, he’s turned to dieting and he’s not telling you. Don’t be upset, you’re not alone: a new study from Diet Chef found that about one third of men will hide dieting from family and friends. The study found that 14% of men viewed dieting as something that women do and 29% worried that others would look at them as vain if they found out that they had concerns about their weight and appearance. There are other reasons why aging men may keep their dieting a secret from their wives, including feeling weak and being afraid of failure.
If you start to notice changes in your husband’s eating behavior, you may casually bring it up. Or, you can suggest that you start eating healthy as a couple. He may be more inclined to open up about his dieting if you open the line of communication with him.
Erectile dysfunction is a common condition in aging men and involves difficulty getting and keeping an erection. Erectile dysfunction is more common with aging but is not a normal part of aging. According to the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, about 40% of men experience some form of erectile dysfunction at age 40, while approximately 70% of men experience some form of erectile dysfunction at age 70. Symptoms of erectile dysfunction include erections that are too soft for intercourse, erections that don’t last long enough for intercourse and/or the inability to achieve an erection. . Health problems that may lead to erectile dysfunction include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, and multiple sclerosis. Smoking, excessive drinking and drug use can also lead to erectile dysfunction. Being overweight and not getting enough exercise can also contribute to erectile dysfunction. Surgery and certain medications can also lead to erectile dysfunction. Psychological factors, including depression, are responsible for erectile dysfunction in 10-20% of men. Many men have difficulty talking to their wives about their sexual health, including erectile dysfunction, but it’s important that they do as erectile dysfunction is often due to an underlying problem. Your husband may feel ashamed that he is unable to perform in the bedroom and this is why he’s not talking about the problem that he’s experiencing. But, it’s important for men to remember that their erectile dysfunction also affects their wife. It is therefore important for them to communicate with their partner about their diagnosis and treatment options.
Men and women both experience depression but men often keep their depression symptoms to themselves. Compared to women, men are far more concerned about being competitive, powerful and successful. Because of these feelings they are often unwilling to discuss their depression because they feel that they may be looked at as weak or fragile, especially to their wives. Men often turn to alcohol and drugs to help them cope with their depression rather than talking to their wives or a professional about their symptoms. When men are depressed they often place a higher importance on work and their personal lives suffer.
Depression can also have a significant impact on a man’s sex life. If your husband is depressed, he may not be interested in sex at all or he may have sex but not be satisfied. Another problem is that mental health problems, including depression, may contribute to erectile dysfunction. The good news is that when depression symptoms improve, his sex drive and sexual satisfaction will also improve. And, if depression was the cause of his erectile dysfunction, that should also improve too.
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If you notice depressive symptoms in your husband including sadness, anxiety, decreased energy, weight loss, loss of appetite, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and/or loss of interest in activities that he used to enjoy you may want to start a conversation with him. Make sure that you approach it lightly and make sure he knows that you love and support him no matter how he’s feeling.
It’s important to remember that even though you’re married, there may be things that your husband keeps from you. It’s best to keep the lines of communication open and show your support, even during difficult times. This will increase the chances of him being open and honest about his health and emotional well-being.
Related Reading: Why getting older is good for your health