How to Talk to Your Spouse About Menopause
For many women, the thought of entering menopause can feel quite daunting. Dealing with the sudden presence of new symptoms, fluctuating emotions, and other natural changes can cause many to feel the need to withdraw or “mask” the way they are feeling. For those with a spouse or long-term partner, “hiding” your symptoms are usually far more difficult than expected and can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress and embarrassment. The simple fact of the matter is menopause is a natural, perfectly acceptable process that every woman will experience in her lifetime. Talking to your spouse about menopause may take a little practice but can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both of you. If you’re wondering how to get the conversation started, check out our advice below!
Adopting the Right Mindset
First and foremost, whether you’re a woman looking to speak to your loved one, or a spouse looking to bring up the changes you’ve noticed with your wife, having the right mindset is vital to establish a comfortable, productive conversation. A few tips to keep in mind on both sides are:
Understand that what you are experiencing is completely normal* and is nothing to be ashamed of. Symptoms will often appear in your early 40’s during a cycle known as permineopause, but may appear as early as your late 30’s or closer to 50. There’s no set “deadline” for the onset of menopause, so fluctuations during the transition are not uncommon. Give yourself permission to feel comfortably uncomfortable as your body changes and know that every woman’s journey will look a little different. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to enter menopause, so giving yourself the freedom to be in the moment will help reduce stress!
If you are experiencing irregular or severe symptoms, consult your physician. Some symptoms can be linked to other issues that require medical attention.
First and foremost, try to understand that your spouse is on a journey that, unfortunately, involves a significant amount of stigma, external pressure and self-judgment. As women, we are taught that vitality is tied to youth, and that oftentimes, menopause signifies the “end” of our vibrant years. This couldn’t be further from the truth! What your spouse is experiencing is difficult, confusing, and be hard emotionally. Your support and patience during this time is extremely vital to helping things proceed smoothly. Be ready and willing to listen, but also know that it’s okay to not understand everything! Menopause is as much a shared journey for couples as it is a personal experience for women. Being open to whatever your partner is willing to share will go a long way towards building trust and minimizing discomfort for both of you.
Topics to cover
Speaking to your spouse early on in the process tends to make things easier, as well as give you both ample time to explore what to expect and how to prepare. A few things you might want to address are the fundamentals about menopause, as well as dispel some common myths that your spouse may have heard previously. Below are a selection of talking points you may want to explore:
What is menopause?
Menopause is the body’s natural response to the gradual decrease of reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in the female body. Once the body stops releasing an egg every month, menstruation begins to cease, which is considered the beginning of menopause.
Note: menopause is not an illness, disease, or disorder. There are no medical treatments that can prevent it from occurring, and in fact, it is signal that your body is healthy and performing normal self-regulating activities!
Is this the end of our sex life?
Absolutely not! While you or your spouse may experience a drop in the libido or other unpleasant symptoms like vaginal dryness while the body adjusts to new hormone levels, many couples enjoy an active sex life during and post menopause. Giving both parties time to adjust without the pressure to perform will help ease your transition and help your partner feel sexy, even while their body changes. Focusing on your emotional connection and other positive aspects of your relationship will help eliminate stress a well!
How can I help?
Watching your loved one experience changes can be tricky for many spouses, especially those inclined to “spring into action” at any sign of trouble. The best way you can help your spouse is to give them a safe space to discuss their needs and have an open, honest conversation. Remember that menopause is an intensely personal experience that varies for everyone, so try to avoid ‘prescribing’ or dictating remedies. In short: listen and follow their lead.
Approaching menopause together as a couple can help eliminate stress and confusion and ensure you’re able to maintain a healthy, happy relationship throughout this time of change. At Vivaca, we offer all-natural solutions that help manage the symptoms of menopause so you can continue living the vibrant lifestyle you love. Contact our team today to learn more!