How to Talk with Your Romantic Partner about Menopause
Let’s be real – it is tough to go through menopause without the support of your loved one. This means talking to your romantic partner about your symptoms is a big step on the path to feeling better. Menopause is not a transition you have to go through alone. Quite the opposite, it is something you can and should discuss with your husband and your family. But how exactly should you talk with your romantic partner about menopause?
When is the best time to have “the talk”?
It's best not to kick off the talk if you are already angry at each other or if you are in the throes of a mood swing or experiencing feelings of rage. It's also not a great idea to begin this delicate conversation when you or your partner have just woken up or are winding down for bed. Avoid times times when you both may be distracted, say, by chores, playing with kids, or watching a soccer game.
How do you know what makes "a good time?" It's helpful if you're both in a good mood and can devote your full attention to each other. You can even decide on the time and place to talk in advance so that you both treat the conversation seriously. You know your partnership best, so find a time and place where you can both be attentive and present.
How to approach the conversation
The best time to talk to your partner about your menopause symptoms and how they're affecting your life is as soon as possible. They may already be perplexed and worried about you. You might feel shy or uncomfortable as you open up about vaginal dryness or brain fog. And while you may know that all of this is a natural part of life, your partner may be totally in the dark. If this is the case, always keep in mind that menopause is a very natural stage in the life of every woman. So nothing is embarrassing about your body and your symptoms. Here are some tips that could help guide you through the talk with your partner.
It's is up to you to describe what you are going through and not to pull punches. Explain to your partner that you are indeed the same person but that you're experiencing the whipsaw of hormonal change and are working on adjusting to them. If you are suffering from mood swings, tiredness, or irritability, tell them that these behavior changes can come with perimenopause and menopause. You're not necessarily angry with your partner, you're just going through it.
Giving your romantic partner more info about how you feel can actually be very helpful for your relationship. A recent study has shown that more knowledge on the topic of menopause can increase the marital satisfaction of his partner. Being open and honest also goes a long way for your mutual trust. If you tackle menopause together, as a team, with love, empathy and understanding, it will be much easier to manage for both of you.
Describe your symptoms
Make it clear what symptoms of menopause you have and the severity. For many women, menopause brings a decrease in sex drive because of hormone changes. Low libido can also happen because of tiredness, lack of sleep, mental clarity issues, or vaginal discomfort, which are all common in menopausal women.
Men can feel that their partner has become less interested in being intimate with them. Without proper explanation, they may attribute this change to their lack of sexual appeal or jump to other conclusions. This can lead to misunderstandings, unspoken hurt feelings, and other issues.
Helping your husband come to terms with your menopausal transition can boost your marital satisfaction. And as you grow older, your sexual relationship does not have to suffer – with the right words; it would only become more profound and more emotional than before.
Taking the next steps
In a perfect world, this conversation should offer you both a sense of relief. After the talk, you can speak honestly about adjusting your communication, redefining expectations, find ways to support each other through this rough time.
A silver lining to all of this is that you're building true empathy and mutual understanding of all the things that can come with midlife, both romantic and physical. Encourage him to talk about how he's feeling as well. Midlife is tough on men too, give him a chance to speak honestly about what he's dealing with so you can tackle your troubles as equals.