As a woman going through menopause, it can sometimes be confusing, upsetting, unsettling, frightening. But what about the partner? Man or woman, if we can’t understand or explain to ourselves how we feel, how on earth can we convey that to our beloved?
Okay, you might be forgiven for thinking that a female partner would have a better understanding, but that’s not necessarily so. Education around menopause isn’t extensive or always clear-cut (although thankfully that’s slowly changing) and one or both women may not have enough knowledge to be able to sympathise, to know how to provide support. And it doesn’t follow that if both are going through the menopause transition, that both are experiencing the same symptoms, or to the same intensity. However, information aimed at women is on the increase, and very accessible, thank goodness.
But if the partner is male? This could present an even greater challenge. During my own menopause (which was hideous), not only was I, myself, extremely uneducated and ignorant about what was happening, I also didn’t stand a chance at being able to describe to my then male partner how I felt, or how he could support me. And he wasn’t one to research on my behalf!
Years later, I’ve learned so very much and I now know what was happening to me, and I now know how to explain it to others, especially men, who could understandably find it extremely difficult when it comes to being the partner of a menopausal woman having a rough time. Hormone fluctuation isn’t something men are generally familiar with, not having had periods, been pregnant, or been perimenopausal. Their hormones do begin to fluctuate later in life, but much more gradually, so the onset of any symptoms is a much easier transition, and sometimes unnoticeable.
But men, you should be educated, not only to give you a better understanding of what’s going on for your female partner, but also to give you the gift of knowing that when she morphs into someone you don’t recognise, that it’s not a choice for her. In fact, the opposite is true. She would rather have her ‘old-self’ back any day than to endure the potential debilitating symptoms that one in four women going through menopause experience.
The more you both know, and the more you can share the experience, the more likely the journey for you both, and your family, and your friends, will be smoother. And the less lonely you will both feel.
Please get in touch to talk about how you can support each other, retain intimacy and love, and ultimately deepen your relationship, through a challenging menopause.
It’s all about you both, lovelies X
#menopause #andropause #educatemen #hormones
I’m not a qualified clinician, dietician, or psychologist. I write based only on my own experiences and research into menopause. J Wood