Husband's Survival Guide To Menopause
Ladies, menopause can be a roller coaster of extreme highs and gut-wrenching lows. You can’t figure out what is happening with your bodies. Plus your mood swings could easily turn into the stuff of legends. Do you want to sleep? Eat? Take a bath? Are you feeling hot? Cold? Thin? Fat? Good mood? Bad mood? All of the above? None of the above? Menopause symptoms are capable of giving your partner a whiplash at least twice per minute.
It's a landmine for him. One wrong foot, word, arch of an eyebrow and it's the end. May God forbid our partner calls you crazy while you weep into your pillow because your cat meowed at you funny. All that remains is a t-shirt with a tag of insanity on it.
We understand that going through menopause is not easy. You have to deal with mental, physical and emotional symptoms hampering the previously smooth running machine that was your life. Although your supreme discomfort might be obvious to you and your gal pals, who could be going through something similar, your partner is still left hanging in the dark.
So as a service to all you lovely ladies out there, we have written this comprehensive menopause survival guide to all the clueless husbands. Share it with him to stop him from being a pain in your arse. Moreover, if he ever called you crazy, let's shake him up a little and remind him of what a catch you are.
Guess what? ‘60% of women in their 40s, 50s and 60s opt for divorce’, claims a recent survey conducted by AARP Magazine.
Seriously dude, breathe.
You’re turning an unflattering shade of puce.
Stop giving your wife that suspicious look. Stop it dude.
Ok, that's better.
Now that we have successfully taken you off of the ledge, let's talk.
We are not saying that it’s the reality of your life. But prevention has always been better than a cure. So let's find out the reason for these statistics.
The main causes of divorce during this phase could be a lack of communication and a decrease in sexual appetite. If your wife is in this age group, you might have sensed some changes in her, mentally, emotionally and physically. The person whom you knew like the back of your hand is now an enigma. What you're sensing could be a possession. The demons have taken over your wife’s body and are holding her captive. Call an exorcist. Now!
Or it could be just Menopause!
In which case you still might as well have an exorcist on speed dial. ‘Cause let's face it, that shits’ cool. Plus you never know when you might need one. So, menopause. A demon sounds really good right now, doesn't it? At least we have a number of movies teaching us how to deal with it. Sprinkle it with holy water, start chanting anything that comes to mind in a deep voice or just yell and start running at the sight of it. You could do it with your wife too if you want. Just make sure you have a comfortable couch. When it comes to menopause, however, most of you are in the dark trying to evade flying objects thrown with surprising speed and accuracy. Menopause isn't all that bad though. Or is it? Let's investigate.
What Does Menopause Mean?
Menopause is universal. It marks the end of fertility in women. It walks into her life in her late 40s or early 50s, if not sooner. While women are forewarned of its arrival, men are not. So it ends up sneaking into your life with a sledgehammer. Removal of ovaries might also trigger sudden menopause. Menopause, or “the change of life,” is defined by medical textbooks as the end of a woman’s menstrual periods.
So a woman has had to deal with years of agonizing periods and period cramps and encounters with condescending assholes. ‘You will never understand period cramps’, she says. ‘Couldn’t be any worse than being kicked in the balls’, replies the guy. You might have encountered this exchange at some point in your life. Hopefully, you weren't a part of this did-the-egg-come-first-or-the-chicken conversation. However, if we consider the pain equivalent to being kicked in the balls, keep in mind that it happens every month of every year!
Now Let’s Get Back To Menopause.
Most men associate menopause with a decline in their sex life. Add that to the lack of communication and understanding of what is happening in your wife's life, you might end up feeling slightly bewildered at the sudden turn your partner has taken. But hang on. There's still hope though. The veil of menopause fallen between you and your wife can be lifted with a glimpse inside her body. Chill! we did not mean literally.
How Do You Know If Your Partner Has Reached Menopause?
Well, you might be acquainted with some of the symptoms of menopause without actually recognizing them. Or if you aren't, here's what you might have to look forward to. The fluctuating hormones can cause symptoms such as hot flushes (turns your girl into an instant oven, so you might as well relinquish control of the thermostat), night sweats (hot bath in between your sheets), itchy skin (you might find her scratching her skin off), migraine headaches (ouch!), breast tenderness (do not touch), vaginal dryness (desert in the pants) and irregular periods (will they, won't they, a guessing game for the ages).
If all of this wasn't enough, she might gain a few pounds as the cherry on the already enraged, ready-to-burst-into-flames cake.
How Might These Changes Affect Your Partner During Menopause?
Due to the array of changes your partner goes through that are so out of her control, she could suffer from exhaustion, depression, anxiety and moodiness, leaving her feeling confused and isolated. Psychologically, her mommy brain unplugs. Hormones that boost communication and emotional circuits, enhance the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflicts at all costs, come to a screeching halt after menopause. So a lot of her behaviour that seems familiar to you might go out of the window.
There are additional factors on top of fluctuating hormones that may contribute to a lack of communication and interest in sex. Various medications like antidepressants, blood pressure medications, etc. can also lower sexual appetite. Stress caused by your children moving out, caring for elderly parents and a loss of loved ones can also contribute to the aversion of sex. Ageing adds to the chaos too. So communication and being intimate might be the last thing on their mind. During this roller coaster ride, if she does not receive support from you, the transition could be doubly painful for both of you.
What Can A Man Do To Help The Relationship During Menopause?
A man could actually save the sinking ship and raise the relationship to new heights. Having a supportive partner is of paramount importance to have a smoother transition through menopause.
Here are some of the things you can do to help your relationship and steer your boat into clearer waters:
- Listen to understand, not to reply. There is no solution to menopause. The hormonal changes might result in actions and words that might defy the rules of logic. Try not to criticize or attempt to fix her.
- Bring back the romance. Flowers, candlelight dinners, massages, sound good, don’t they? Or maybe a night in with pizza and Netflix. Indulge. Bring back the spark.
- Flirt with her. Tell her you love her. Call her beautiful. As her body goes through so many changes, inside out a little validation never hurts.
- Ask her what she wants to do. Get a babysitter if you have kids, and indulge in some adult time. Let her be the boss and dictate what she wants. Feeling in control, even in a small part of her life might do wonders.
- If these solutions fail to get the noose off your neck, give her some space and time to figure her own stuff out. You never know, all she might need is some ‘me’.
Want To Help Ease Her Journey Through Menopause? Give These A Try.
- Violent mood swings might make you motion sick. Just go with the flow. Do not try to reason out her feelings. Not only will you fail, but you will also end up alienating her.
- Exercise and healthy eating. Join a yoga class together or go for a walk. Find a good grocery store and go food hunting.
- Visit your GP or a counsellor if needed. Abolish the stigma. Get help when you need it, individually or as a couple.
- Validate her experiences. Don’t call her crazy or illogical. Everything that is happening has a cause and effect even if it might not make much sense to you. Be compassionate.
- Start a conversation about the changes she is going through. Offer support. Find a middle line to walk that suits both of your needs.
- Or even buy her some menopause supplements ;)
Hope these pointers help smoothen your ride through menopause and help bring you even closer than before. Just offer support. She’ll notice, and appreciate it. Women in menopause need patience, friendship and lots of laughter. She needs to know that you love her and that once you are through the worst of these changes, you will still be a couple in love.