Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Friday Links

Hi! I haven’t done a links round-up in ages, but I came across some good ones this week and wanted to share:

Over in the forums, we’re discussing perimenopause, where I said that this article – Women Have Been Misled About Menopause — from The New York Times Magazine was very timely. Frankly, the title is a bit misleading, actually, and speaks to how little understanding and open dialogue there has been about this stage in a person’s life. What we think of when we think of “menopause” – the oft-joked about hot flashes, the mood swings, the night sweats – are symptoms of perimenopause, the period that comes before menopause and which lasts anywhere from a couple years to a decade (on average, symptoms last about four years). For many of us, perimenopause begins around mid-to-late 40s (though there’s some thought that just as young people have been getting their first periods earlier than in previous generations, today’s middle-aged people are starting menopause slightly earlier too). If you haven’t yet experienced the fun yourself, here’s a taste of what’s in store:

I knew I was in perimenopause because my period disappeared for months at a time, only to return with no explanation. In the weeks leading up to each period, I experienced abdominal discomfort so extreme that I went for an ultrasound to make sure I didn’t have some ever-growing cyst. At times, hot flashes woke me at night, forcing me straight into the kinds of anxious thoughts that take on ferocious life in the early hours of morning. Even more distressing was the hard turn my memory took for the worse: I was forever blanking on something I said as soon as I’d said it, chronically groping for words or names — a development apparent enough that people close to me commented on it. I was haunted by a conversation I had with a writer I admired, someone who quit relatively young. At a small party, I asked her why. “Menopause,” she told me without hesitation. “I couldn’t think of the words.”

Last week I was having lunch with two friends and found myself mid-conversation blanking on what we were talking about. It was the weirdest thing! Then, the room started spinning (vertigo – another perimenopause symptom), and the spinning sensation lasted the whole rest of the day until I went to sleep that night. I’m only 46, so theoretically still years away from being on the other side of this, and I am interested in learning more about how others cope and treat similar symptoms.

I loved these “new etiquette rules” presented by NYmag, and covering everything from tipping guidelines (anything under 20% at a dine-in restaurant “is rude”) to the importance of sending a condolence note (even if it’s a year late… just do it!). I’d say 90% of the guidelines – and there are 140 of them! – are great and 10% are kind of WTF, which is, I should point out, the exact ratio of most online content that goes viral.

I’ve been taking a free online 6-week course on happiness offered by Harvard and this article highlights one of the important factors of happiness and how to achieve it: Want to boost your happiness? Buy experiences, not material possessions. What experienced have you enjoyed lately? We took the kids to “Lion King” last weekend – Joanie’s first Broadway show! – which was a Christmas gift “from Santa” and one I know will stay with us longer than, say, the skateboard Joanie said she wanted but has yet to actually try out.

Married Women Are Recalling The Subtle Red Flag They Wish They Didn’t Ignore While They Were Dating Their Husband

And in real WTF news: Florida wants to force student athletes to share their menstrual history

Ok, that’s it for today. Hope you all have a great weekend, and if you’re part of the arctic freeze hitting many of us today and tomorrow, I hope you manage to stay warm!

20 comments… add one
  • ktfran February 3, 2023, 12:32 pm

    WTF is right on that Florida headline. I haven’t read the article yet. But seriously. WTAF?!?

    Also, looking forward to reading the Red Flag article.

    Thank you for some weekend reads.

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  • Anonymousse February 3, 2023, 12:44 pm

    Yeah, I’m livid about everything Florida right now. This is going to be challenged in court. I cannot belive the AP AA studies bs. This is how DeSantis is trying to capture the trump vote, absolute pain at full volume for anyone not weird and white and repressed like he is. He’s never even read a book, I’m sure. It’s nuts. These people are completely deranged.

    I can’t wait to dive into that Behave piece fully, Wendy. I just sent my granddad’s wife a big succulent planter that has an inscription on it. They have a lot of plants. I mean, I guess just she does now. 😢

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      Dear Wendy February 3, 2023, 12:51 pm

      The AP AA bullshit is maddening. I’m dreading the 2024 presidential race.

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  • Anonymousse February 3, 2023, 5:35 pm

    Also, a hearty welcome back to Friday Links!! Loving the content, Wendy.

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    Dear Wendy February 3, 2023, 5:41 pm

    One more link I just came across. In Japan, a growing number of married couples are keeping separate residences where they stay apart during the week and come together on the weekends:

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      Copa February 5, 2023, 9:52 am

      I thiiiink Gwenyth Paltrow and her second husband maintain separate residences. Maybe not anymore, but I remember seeing a headline about it when they’d been married about a year. I loved living alone and I’m glad living with my boyfriend feels easy.

      That Buzzfeed article… some of those red flags were not so subtle! Some of those traits — comfort with small lies, love bombing beginnings ending badly, jealousy — I’ve experienced in past relationships and am glad to have learned those while dating.

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    • allathian March 7, 2023, 8:24 am

      This is increasingly common in my circle. My MIL and her husband, who met and married in their early to mid-60s and have been married for some 12 years now, decided to keep separate finances and separate residences to ensure a simple probate process for their adult children when they die. Both of them had also been divorced for more than 20 years before they became a couple, and seem to agree that to live with someone else all the time would be too stifling at their time of life.

      My sister and her SO have never shared a home. When they met, each of them had a serious, long-term relationship behind them. My sister and her ex shared a mortgage, but split up after ten years because he wanted kids and she didn’t. Her current SO is also happily childfree. My sister is career-oriented, as is her SO, and they spend weekends and vacations together and live separately otherwise.

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      • Anonymousse March 7, 2023, 9:11 am

        I’ve never thought about that eventuality, but that makes so much sense when you’ve combined families/ married later or whatever.

        I actually need so much space, I could see having separate bedrooms or residences (I would not do it, not with this guy) but it seems like it would be fun and good, I liked living alone but I love being together, too. Ha. We always joke our next house will have a she shed for me to escape to.

        Where I grew up, we had a lot of acreage and my stepfather had an office in the house, and out. (He had a business.) But I often thought of how that’s what probably kept him sane with my mom, she can be A LOT.

  • Anonymousse February 3, 2023, 7:14 pm

    Number 6 is as far as I’ve gotten but that one really hits home for me. That is love.

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  • d2 February 3, 2023, 9:35 pm

    I always liked Friday Links – something new, something interesting, something fun, something I knew, something I didn’t know. Thanks!

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  • Anonymousse February 4, 2023, 12:06 pm

    Finally read the rules of behavior, Wendy. So many I love. I think the ‘gram (ha) slideshow wasn’t as expansive and I didn’t get it, but I agree with most of the advice. I just try to treat people the best I can while prioritizing my family.

    I love the advice to assume everyone is grieving. I give people all the grace that I can.

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  • Ange February 4, 2023, 6:45 pm

    That etiquette rule about how straight people can use the word partner is wild to me. Here it’s a common word older people use for their romantic partner because they don’t like using boyfriend/girlfriend or whatever. I don’t think it’d even get questioned, everyone would know what you meant.

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    • Anonymousse February 4, 2023, 7:48 pm

      I say that a lot but can see how it makes it oddly vague in a NYC crowd.

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      Dear Wendy February 5, 2023, 8:43 am

      I was surprised by this too! We actually had a discussion about using “partner” instead of “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” a couple years back:

      I’d been called out for using bf or gf in my columns when the LWs used partners, which was an unconscious thing I did. I’m much better now and tend to use “partner” instead of bf or gf when I don’t know a person’s or couple’s preference. But I know lots of people, at least in my generation (Gen X), kind of bristle at the idea of “partner” as a romantic partner if the couple isn’t gay. I think that’s weird, personally, but it’s what a lot of people think.

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        Dear Wendy February 5, 2023, 8:48 am

        In fact, just last month my old friend from college was lamenting that she didn’t know what to call her significant other. They’ve been together 3 1/2 years, own a home together, and have custody of his son 50% of the time. She said that “boyfriend” doesn’t really express the level of their commitment, and I was like “so, just say ‘partner’!” But she says that sounded like business partner or like they’re a gay couple. I was surprised to hear that!

      • Anonymousse February 5, 2023, 9:51 am

        You know, I think that’s why I used it for so long. We didn’t get married until after we’d had baby#1 and it felt better saying partner- the importance of word seems more appropriate vs boyfriend.

        Now, about 9 years later, I can see how that could be confusing if you’re married and straight. Why not just use husband/wife? Even boyfriend to me, on elderly couples I know, sounds sweet and not immature or silly. Is my hesitancy based solely on procreation alone?

        I actually loved this piece and how many conversations it’s made.

      • Ange February 5, 2023, 4:40 pm

        Good to see my views have stayed consistent lol. It’s still a very common word in my circle, though most of us are well and truly in our 40s. Once you get married it’s no longer used though.

        Maybe it’s just an Aussie thing but I don’t know anyone who would confuse it with a business partner.


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