As women undergo menopause, they will experience a variety of changes in various facets of themselves. These issues may be further compounded by the events typically associated with mid-life, like children leaving home, or the typical stresses of work.
Due to the decrease in hormonal levels, a woman may feel vulnerable to a host of negative emotions, including feeling older and less attractive. Men, on the other hand, feel confused about what they should do to help their partners cope better with the changes brought about by menopause. In order to better manage these changes, both parties need to communicate and listen to one another.
Women, for their part, need to open up to their partners about their feelings regarding the changes going on in their bodies. Enlisting the support of your significant other can help you better cope with issues like mood swings, hot flushes or even the loss of fertility. Having a real, profound talk with your partner, where you can really show him what’s going on with you may feel like a burden from your shoulders has been lifted. Going through these changes as a couple will be healthier and liberating for both of you.
Women also need to explain to their partners that the ebb and flow of hormones can have a profound impact on their moods. It is not uncommon for these hormonal changes to lead to spats and hurtful words. At this point, women should reiterate to their partner that these changes have nothing to do with the other person, but with the hormones.
If women feel uncomfortable or frustrated during sex, these feelings are also commonly shared by men, too. As such, it is imperative for couples to talk about the physiological changes women are going through. If the issue is physical, like dryness or pain and discomfort, the use of lubricants and hormone therapy, can revive their lives in the bedroom.
Having a positive attitude can go a long way (even if you feel more depressed during menopause). It’s not about pretending to be great, because maybe you’re not feeling that way, but it’s about learning to love your current self. Menopausal symptoms won’t last forever, and then a whole new chapter begins. Learn to embrace it and to look forward to all the new challenges life will bring you and your partner.
As a supportive partner, you can do plenty of things to support your significant other on this inevitable journey she is undertaking. First, life can become a bit more bearable by being more understanding. Due to the changing hormones in a woman’s body, she may undergo mood swings. This can be compounded by the lack of quality sleep due to hot flushes. As such, you should not take any mood swings personally.
Try to look at things from her perspective. Her body, as she has known it for years, suddenly starts changing. Try to empathise and imagine how you would feel if these changes were happening to you. You probably wouldn’t be exactly over the moon about it all. Validate her feelings and what she is going through. Menopause and its side effects are real, so don’t treat this situation with any less seriousness.
Physical intimacy can also take a sudden drop during the initial stages of menopause. As an understanding partner, it is crucial for you to know that the sudden drop in oestrogen level can make a woman’s private parts more sensitive, thus making sex uncomfortable.
The drop in testosterone level in women can also diminish their libido. Here, it is crucial for men to understand that their partners are not just willfully withholding on physical intimacy. In fact, most of them do not want to stop having sex, and there are lots of things you can do to try and revive your intimate life. The key is openness and communication.
Women can also feel inadequate, older and less attractive upon the start of menopause. In order to be supportive, try to boost your partner’s self-image and confidence by providing her compliments and taking the time to make her feel special.
Do not make fun of her sudden change of appearance, or about other menopausal woman. Joking about menopause and what she is going through is not going to help anybody; other than make her feel awful, especially in public or in front of other people. So no matter how frustrated you may be, try another approach.
Talking about each other’s feelings can be difficult at times, however strong communication is key during your partners menopausal stage. Ask her questions, how she feels, how she is sleeping and about whatever else she may be going through. Patience and understanding is crucial to getting through this period together. Now, more than ever, you need to keep the communication channel open and clear. Intimacy is not only about sex, but also about being supportive and true partners even through difficult times. Hopefully your partner will feel more understood, and she will realise she still has your full attention despite all these unavoidable changes.