Menopause can be a challenging time for women but it can also be a tough time for their partners . The menopause transition can bring with it a multitude of unpleasant symptoms like hot flushes and mood swings which can have a massive affect on relationships.
Decreasing levels of the sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone can be the cause of many symptoms that not only affect a woman’s functionality in her everyday life, it also has a knock on affect on how it affects close relationships too in particular libido.
A recent survey amongst men showed that 38% of men felt that their wife’s night sweats and insomnia related to menopause affected intimacy. Understanding what menopause actually is and what symptoms are attributed to the way a partner may be feeling and behaving is key to offering empathy and support to help a partner get through this often trying time so that a relationship can be preserved and strengthened.
Throughout the course of a successful relationship the two people can shift in and out of different roles. There will be times when one side of the partnership may require more support than usual, Menopause could be one of them. Having the opportunity to embody a nurturing stance in what can often be a challenging time for both parties can really help with the navigation of Menopause and all that it can bring. The most important part is open communication in which each person has a chance to to express how they are feeling so that there is a better understanding about how menopause is affecting them as an individual as well as a couple. When the flow of feeling and communication is open , a healthy closeness either continues or develops.
Partners of women going through the menopause won’t be able to stop symptoms like hot flushes but what they can do is offer empathy and help them get through it. Its important to know what to expect way before Menopause happens so that they are better prepared as a couple, fore warned is forearmed as they say!
The average age of the Menopause is 51, but many woman start with menopausal symptoms in their early 40’s, in some cases it can be 12 years of often disruptive symptoms, like night sweats, hot flashes and insomnia to name but a few. These three symptoms alone can have a debilitating affect on a woman functionality let alone on relationships.
Biological changes that are occurring during the menopause transition can have affects Onan individuals emotions, it could represent a loss of youth, being unable to have anymore children (even though there was no more planned), a feeling that control is being taken away from them as their body changes and how they feel about it can make a woman very sad.
Talking is one of the best therapies to deal with many issues surrounding Menopause. It seems that ‘women’s issues’ are quite difficult for some men to discuss openly mainly due to embarrassment or maybe its just lack of knowledge, or a generational or cultural thing whereby subjects concerning woman health have not been openly discussed before.
Its important now more than ever that team work comes into play, working through coping strategies together can really help deepen a relationship rather than negatively affecting it. Asking sympathetic questions like ‘ How you can help a partners stress levels’ ‘ or encouraging a better sleep regime could go along way to showing support and understanding. Offering to go to the GP appointment with their partner especially if their partner is reluctant to go on their own could make a massive difference in feeling supported and that they are not ‘in it alone’.
A woman still wants to feel desired and appreciated at this time, don’t avoid intimacy, as long as the other party feels comfortable with it. If they don’t, try to discuss in a calm way so that both parties can be open and honest and work through any problems together. A romantic dinner without any expectations other than spending time together, or going for a walk holding hands could really help that feeling of togetherness.
Understanding what Menopause is and the possible affects it has on a woman’s life and functionality will go a long way to managing menopause for an individual as well as managing any changes with relationships too. Navigating the menopause journey together is a much better way of ensuring that there is an open dialogue at all times with a sense of togetherness through what can often be a challenging time for all concerned.
Remember your partner doesn’t want to feel like she is feeling so try not to take things too personally, take a deep breathe and pause before reacting. That wonderful woman you fell in love with is still there, she is just trying to readjust and find equilibrium… help her to find it.