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Emotional Effects of Menopause are More Than the Bedroom: What Men Should Know

When we talk about menopause we think of older women, hot flashes, irritability, night sweats, and a miserable time. Those symptoms are a reality for many women during this time. However, not all women experience the physical symptoms. An estimated 6,000 women in the United States reach menopause every day, and with increasing life expectancy, women will spend up to 40% of their lives post-menopausal. This does not mean they will continue with the physical symptoms, but it may mean the emotional symptoms they experience while going through menopause may linger and interfere with their relationships and marriages. For the most part, a woman’s partner is left out of the emotional aspects that happen during this time. She may be reluctant to talk to her husband or partner about how she is feeling, and in many cases, this leads to the rise in baby boomer divorces.

There are things guys need to know emotionally about their partner. Why she rejects him in the bedroom, why she doesn’t want to go out as much, and why she seems colder, more anxious or depressed when she use to enjoy visiting over coffee. Menopause does affect women’s bodies with physical symptoms, but it’s not the lack of sex, night sweats or fatigue that leave men feeling unloved. It’s the emotional loss of their partner. Part of the misunderstanding between couples during this time is a woman’s distorted view of herself. She may feel old, unattractive, overweight, tired, depressed, overwhelmed and confused, and he sees her as still being beautiful, witty, charming, sexy and his main confidante’. Anyone who has ever tried to tell a woman she is beautiful when she believes she is not understands how futile it is and how easily she will dismiss the comment even if it was said with sincerity.

With 6,000 women in the US going through menopause, that means whoever she loves is going through it as well. These helpful tips will help you and your partner cope with the change, so rather than letting a normal stage of life tear you apart, you can use it to draw one another closer.

  1. Menopause is a profound change in a woman’s life; don’t take it personally.

  2. There are no quick medical treatments available for the physical or emotional aspects as helpful as a loving, supportive partner. HRT helps, but it isn’t a magic cure, and many women cannot use it.

  3. If there is a lack of sex, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you anymore.

  4. There are many ways to be intimate, and the ones you traditionally used may not be comfortable for her anymore. Use this time to explore new ways of being close.

  5. When she’s most irritable or angry ask her what’s going on…it most likely has nothing to do with you.

  6. If you encounter a problem in your relationship, don’t ignore it…talk about it. This is a crucial time in relationships.

  7. If she’s getting hot flashes, she may not want to cuddle or sleep with you. It’s too uncomfortable. Allow her space, but let her know you’re there.

  8. Many women suffer severely with their loss of fertility. Be patient and listen, and don’t make jokes about it.

  9. The age of 50 is a tough time for men as well, so it’s important to be patient with one another. Guys may be going through their own identity issues.

  10. Depression and anxiety can be part of menopause. Take it seriously and encourage her to talk to a mental health care professional if her symptoms become severe or persistent. She may feel better if you go with her.

Part of re-gaining the intimacy and connection with your partner is becoming part of and sharing whatever they are going through. Couples who embrace the change in life as a temporary condition and go through it together do much better and remain much closer than those who don’t.

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