When your wife goes through menopause

August 16, 2016

My apologies, sirs, I told your wives what to do but never followed up for you. So if your wife or partner is entering menopause and you are clueless about how to help her, join the crowd.

Many husbands/spouses/partners want to be supportive, but aren't sure where to start. A common complaint is, 'I just feel wrong, no matter what I do'.

When a woman is going through a difficult menopause, the decreasing hormone levels may leave her feeling many ways, including any of the following:

• Old

• Unattractive

• Forgetful

• Dispensable

• Sad

• Angry

• Uncomfortable

• Weak

A woman going through a difficult menopause may also be looking forward to this transition, and feels like she is:

• Healthy

• Free

• Wise

• Just finding her age

• Competent

• Happy

• Hopeful

She may feel any or all of these things in the course of a single day. The two of you may have never talked about how to support each other through something like this.


Educate yourself


Learn everything you possibly can about what menopause is like and what changes and experiences are common. Once you see that mood swings and hot flashes are common and that it is nothing you are doing, it helps you to relax about all the ups and downs.


Believe her


This can be a really trying time, so if your wife or partner says she is doing the best she can ... believe her. Sometimes women feel fragile and hardly know themselves during the menopause years. Even if it looks to you as though she could 'help it' if she wanted to, it may not be that simple.


Be patient


Patience is vital in both the short and long term. Cutting her some slack when she seems sad or angry will go a long way towards being able to be close later. The message you send when you are patient is: 'You are worth waiting for and this isn't going to last forever.'


Don't personalise her moods


If your partner gets upset, don't turn her upset into your upset. She can be angry or sad or frustrated and you can listen to her without making it about you.


Don't pressure her for sex


This is a common struggle during the menopausal years, where libido may wane for her (or for you) and one partner wants sex more than the other. The trick is in finding a balance of closeness, touch and sexual activity. Vaginal changes during menopause may make sex uncomfortable or even painful.

Focus for a while on just staying physically close. Ask her what feels good to her, and offer it. A foot rub or a shoulder massage without any expectation of going further will keep you connected. She needs patience, friendship and lots of laughter. She needs to know that you love her and that through the worst of these changes, you will still be a couple.

Learning how to weather the menopausal years can set the stage for more fun and closeness as time goes on. It is a chance to learn a few new steps in the relationship dance and sets a tone of caring that can last for years.

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