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[After my post about talking with men, Nikki Meloskie responded by inserting her comments and views. The only way I can post her reply is as she posted it to the list. Her (US) toll-free at 1-888-776-2262. - Robert Young, Webmaster]

nikki meloski speaking at a microphone Because Family to Family was originally a woman's organization to help them deal with issues exactly like this, Family to Family maintains our 800 to help women through some of the things arise with a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Not only by phone but in our speaking as well as one on one.

We have managed to bridge some of the gaps that have arisen and have brought a closer relationship between couples.

I would be more than happy to help in anyway I can either on the list or telephone or by personal email.

Robert Young wrote:

> I got two very long
> emails from women who was asking me for advice about
> talking with their husbands because there was this
> growing gap or silence between them on the issue of
> sex.
> We - as a gender - are not an easy group to get along > with and there are women out there who are struggling > with this issue. It is tearing them and their > relationships apart.

This is very true. About 30% of the calls relate to breakups because of this issue.

> They need recommended Tx's for
> how to talk with men. Granted there is no one way to
> do it, especially when dealing with PCa. But one idea
> might jog another for someone out there.

This is exactly what I am talking about. The program has been in place for almost three years.

> Men like to help. They don't like to be helped. What
> you might do is put your conversation on the basis of
> YOU needing help, not him or "us."

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, says this exactly. Men like to fix things. If you direct the situation from as Robert says, "I have a problem and I need help", it is not as attacking and you take responsibility rather than making them feel as if they are at fault.

> Maybe - and this is
> really an out-of-the-blue suggestion as I don't know
> how you guys work so it may be off the wall - you
> could back up a bit into being a sort of woman that is
> bothered with something and she needs her husbands's
> help on it, like how in the world does one get this
> (some kitchen tool) to work.

> If you think on that attitude, if you back up into
> making it YOUR problem as if you were talking to a
> friend rather than him, e.g., "Sally, I have this
> problem that is really bothering me. I feel like I'm
> saying the wrong things to my husband." Then he gets
> to help YOU. And if you think on it, that's really
> what you are trying to do, isn't it?

You are a smart man. As a certified intake therapist, during school this is one of the things our professors told us to offer as a solution to someone who isn't hearing you.

> I remember so well once when my last wife and I had
> this horrible argument and suddenly she broke down
> crying and she was saying something like, "Dammit, I
> screwed it up! I was trying to help you and now we are
> arguing more and I got it all wrong." Now some guys
> MIGHT respond to that with an attack like, "Damn right
> you got it wrong!" but maybe he's not that type. I'm
> not. I put my arms around her and asked her to tell me
> about it and the next thing you know, we forgot the
> argument. It wasn't a tactic of hers. It was how she
> felt.

The hard part is when you are dealing with so much pain, you tend to be angry, and you forget to ask rather than blame.

> The other suggest is do it on a trip as you will be
> in neutral territory. Driving would be the best. Men
> like to be doing something when talking even if it is
> "nothing" like driving or fishing or watering the
> lawn. They are generally not good in just sitting and
> talking. They are best doing something, like playing
> cards or watchinge television. Even walking is good. A
> lot of women don't know that it would help - if it is
> their style - to say, "Honey, let's go for a walk" and
> then take it up. Men are MUCH more comfortable doing
> something while talking.

Neutral territory is always good. Sometimes it is difficult to bring something up like this while an activity is going on. Walking I think is the best because it increases the endorphins and clears out the negative emotions.
> When talking, really make it YOUR problem, not his. If
> you bring up the PCa, don't make it his cancer. E.g.,
> "And you've got the cancer and I don't know what to
> say about it..." Notice how I made it "You've got THE
> cancer..." Not "You've got cancer" as that puts it
> over on him. Saying THE cancer makes it something
> apart from him, like the TV remote, the car, the
> phone. For example, if you say, "You've got
> indigestion" then you are incorporating it into him,
> get it? Try it on someone sometime. Someone who's got
> a really bad upset stomach or headache and say, "So
> you've got the upset
> stomach/headache" and if they are REALLY sick they
> might say, "No, I've got AN upset stomach" keeping it
> in them. Or they might say, "Yeah, I've got that
> headache." This may sound like nitpicking but it
> works. All you are doing is objectifying it and not
> identifying him with it.
> Never make it HIS prostate cancer. Don't say YOUR
> prostate cancer. Say THE or THAT. That is the problem
> a lot of men suffer. It has become so subjective
> because it hits them as men and that is them, being a
> man, so talking about the PCa is talking about them.

One of the things that helps also is using "our prostate cancer". Sometimes it helps them feel like they are not alone.

> Now in turn make it YOUR problem. Use words like MY
> feelings, MY problem, MY upset but about THAT cancer.
> Identify the problem with you, not him, and get him to
> help you solve YOUR problem. Talk to him as if he is
> some other guy. Heck, it even works with some couples
> (this is VERY individual) where one can say, "Well, my
> problem is that I have this husband that I really love
> and I don't know what to do about us." But that is
> tricky. (Don't say "a man I really love" as the guy
> can freak out for a minute.)

Great sense of humor. Always helpful.

Also, "Marriage Encounter" encourages communication this way. But they also suggest you write a love letter to your partner. Using the method that Robert suggests, write a love letter to your partner. Tell him how much you love him and that is why you need his help.

> Just remember, most men do like to help. Get him to
> help you with YOUR problem, not his.
> Good luck,
> Robert Young

Anything I can do to help in this area, Robert, please let me know. Three years and about two thousand women, and a few marriages saved, might be helpful.

Thanks for this post. It is so right on.


[An article about Nikki is here at Phoenix5. She can be reached (US) toll-free at 1-888-776-2262. The Web site address is]

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.