Menopause, just like menarche (which is the onset of menstruation) is a normal phenomenon. A natural part of aging, menopause is when a woman’s estrogen levels drop. Simply put, it is when a woman stops having her period and cannot get pregnant naturally. For many women, the physical changes and effects are often accompanied by a strong emotional reaction. It can last for up to 8 years, although the acutest of symptoms last for approximately 2 years in most women.
As supportive as you may be as a partner, sometimes it may get hard since menopause does often include irritability, mood swings, general despondency and anger, as well as the more direct physical impact of menopause such as hot flashes and a loss of libido. It can get difficult to react or respond in a positive manner all the time, and nobody expects you to consider everyone does have their own set of mental battles to continually deal with.
So, we’ve rounded up a few things to make this transition as smooth as can be for your partner, and also for you.
- Do Not React
Understand that what your partner is going through is involuntary and her hormones are wreaking havoc on her body. The physical and emotional toll that menopause takes on a woman is hard to fathom. Many women also deal with more obvious physical symptoms such as weight gain or extreme weight loss, loss of hair, pigmentation and other similar side effects. Couple that with the fact that many women report that menopause makes them feel less feminine and less like a woman, it would definitely take a toll on the individual’s self-esteem. So, be supportive, be understanding, and if hot flashes make her turn your bedroom into the Antarctic, grab an extra blanket or two!
- School Yourself
The other important thing that you can do to support your partner through her menopause is to educate yourself about what she is going through. Understanding the phenomenon and how it can affect a woman will automatically make you more sensitive. Sensitivity and empathy go a long way, you don’t need to know what she’s going through, just acknowledging that you know it’s there counts too!
- Listen, and communicate.
Be sensitive to your partner’s needs during this time, and any time. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about what she is going through. This is where being educated about menopause comes handy. You will be able to speak to her effectively, without being patronising or condescending and maybe offer solutions that she possibly hasn’t thought of herself.
Summarising, be good. Your partner is going through a major physical change, remind her that she’s loved. If things do get really difficult, don’t be afraid to seek help, couples counseling is not a sign of failure, but in fact, a way to ensure that you endure the ordeal together and come out stronger at the end of it. And remember, it won’t last forever.