Menopause – the stage in a woman’s life when she stops menstruating – is one of the many physically gruelling experiences she endures during a lifetime. With hormones fluctuating and the body going through a taxing transition, most women experience a wide range of symptoms, from mood swings to night sweats, during this time. What makes this stage harder to cope with is that getting to menopause is often a long-drawn stage. It is common for women to be in the perimenopause stage for an average of 4 years. This can be trying time not just for the woman enduring the transition but also her loved ones. This guide on perimenopause advice for husbands will tell you everything there is to know about helping your woman sail through this phase somewhat easily.
That’s crucial because the physical and psychological manifestation of the changes raging through a woman’s body can take a toll on relationships.
A survey indicates that women in their 40s, 50s and 60s initiate 60 per cent of all divorces, pointing to a straight link between menopause and marriage health. Another study links menopause to sexual disharmony between couples. Understanding the menopause becomes even more imperative in light of these facts.
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What Husbands Need To Know About Menopause?
Every woman experience menopause differently. For some, it may last just under a year, while others live the nightmare for a decade of their life. Similarly, not every woman experience all menopause-related symptoms and its severity may vary from one person to the other.
That’s why explaining menopause to a man becomes harder because there is no blueprint for what it looks and feels like.
However, taking in all perimenopause advice for husbands you can get is vital for the health of your relationship because you’ll be living through menopause with your spouse. Here’s what you should know:
1. It’s going to be a long haul
Unlike puberty, menopause takes a long time to arrive. This stage of getting to the point of menopause – where menstruating stops for good is called the perimenopause stage and it can really drag on. Anywhere from a year to 12 years! So, you have to be prepared for a lot of up and downs, uncharacteristic behaviour and physiological changes during this time.
2. It may change her
Personality changes during menopause are common. Your spouse may become more irritable, low on patience, and just generally, crabby. A sudden dip in hormones may also affect her sex drive and possible weight gain can cause body image issue. Add to the mix, the anxiety, poor sleep and night sweat, and this transition may change her into a completely different person.
3. She can’t ‘get her act together’
The thing to focus on in understanding the menopause is that no woman can just ‘get her act together’ and ‘get on with it’. The changes erupting in her body left, right and centre make it impossible for that to happen. Even when she knows she’s being unreasonable in crying at the drop of a hat or yelling at you or the kids or the dog for no reason, she can’t make it stop.
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4. It’s not better than a period
Theoretically, not having a period ought to be better than having one because there is no more bleeding every month, and the accompanying cramps, bloating, nausea and PMS to deal with. Except it isn’t. The toll living through menopause takes on one’s body can make periods seem like a walk in the park.
5. A healthy lifestyle can make it better
Eating healthy, following a fixed routine, getting regular exercise – at least 4 to 5 times a week, 30 mins per session – can make a world of a difference in the way manifestation of menopause symptoms. So, one perimenopause advice for husbands to live by would be to help your partner focus on their wellness.
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Perimenopause Advice For Husbands: Dos and Don’ts
A woman living through menopause goes through a lot of physical and psychological upheavals. The important thing to remember at this time is that menopause is the end of fertility, not the end of life. You can help her embrace that being her support system. Menopause and marriage, a sane and stable one at that, can co-exist. All you need to do is be empathetic toward her. Here is a list of dos and don’ts of perimenopause advice for husbands to bear in mind:
1. Believe in her
If you’ve ever wondered ‘how does menopause affect relationships?’, know that a lot of times trouble begins with the deteriorating quality of communication between spouses. Women find explaining menopause to a man hard and men struggle to relate with their spouse’s plight. Lending a patient ear when she lays her heart bare to you and believing her, instead of dismissing here ‘rants’, is the first step to menopause-proof your marriage.
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2. Avoid arguments
She may have snapped at you for the 100th time in a day or yelled for no good reason, and yes, that can be infuriating to put up with. Do your best to not sweat the small stuff and avoid arguments as much as possible. When a situation gets too overwhelming, take some time to cool off and remind yourself that these behavioural tendencies may well be beyond her control. Acknowledging the reality of personality changes during menopause can help you both endure this phase without losing your sanity.
3. Don’t pressure her for sex
Menopause and relationships can make for a tricky mix, especially if both partners do not commit to embracing what’s in store for them. One important aspect to brace yourself for is a change in your sex life. The fluctuating hormones can take a toll on a woman’s libido, and make her interest in intimacy nosedive.
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4. Give her some space
Menopause causes drastic physical changes that require changes in lifestyle. But habits die hard. No more late-night shenanigans, diet restriction, new medicines and more exercise: all these can make a woman feel alienated from her body even as her mind copes with the changes. Give her some space to settle into these new routines. She needs to revaluate and rejuvenate herself. This definitely a piece of perimenopause advice for husbands to swear by.
5. Be in tune with what she’s going through
The whole point of understanding the menopause is to able to support your wife through this trying transition. So pay attention to the physical and emotional changes she’s going through and be there for her. Her symptoms can vary from irritability and mood swings to anxiety and depression. While the former can be handled with the right mix of compassion, empathy and a little sense of humour, the latter may require clinical intervention.
So being in tune with your spouse’s state of body and mind is crucial. Nudge her a bit in the right direction if you feel that things are getting out of control. Try to maintain a happy environment at home and make her more comfortable by taking the things that are irritating her off her hand.
6. Prioritise her comfort
Think back to those days when she was pregnant and you complied with her every wish because her comfort and happiness came first. Our perimenopause advice for husbands would be – it’s time for a do-over. Take over some of her responsibilities, pitch in with the running of the household, take out time for her, and maybe, give her an occasional backrub without being asked to. The aim is to keep her as much at ease as possible. A stressful environment will only aggravate her menopause symptoms.
When it all feels too overwhelming, remember it’s just a phase and this too shall pass.