Well, if you?re a man and you?ve persevered this far, congratulations! I hope some of my ideas may help you, and your partner, but equally perhaps you may feel able to share some of your thoughts with other members at the Kitchen Table forum.
To start with, I was just a bemused observer of my wife?s struggle with her menopausal symptoms. “What?s for dinner, dear?” did not get a sympathetic reply. I didn?t realise what was happening and, in the early days, it was my normal reaction to presume that her irritation or low spirits were simply her problem. Not fair! A problem that affects you both has to be solved together.
Fortunately ? and this must be the most important point of all ? we could talk to each other. Some couples may feel confident going into the most personal details but, even if you aren?t, it makes an enormous difference if the man simply acknowledges that he knows something is going on. Women can feel terribly isolated and misunderstood during the menopause.
Probably the next most important fact to appreciate is that menopausal symptoms don?t last for ever. She will return, I promise you, from the limbo of the menopausal change, when hot flushes and night sweats become a thing of the past and sharing a bed is once again a pleasure, not a challenge! It may take 5 years but she will be back ? as will her memory, by the way, which you both thought was failing through old age.
Which brings us, of course, to ?sex?. I don?t propose to discuss all the most intimate details here on the website ? although I believe it is frequently a popular subject between women on the courses we run ? but men do need to appreciate that short-term loss of libido (disinterest in sex) is normal for women during the menopause. That does not mean, of course, that they no longer love their men but vaginal dryness can make physical sex discouragingly painful. With care and determination, though, a full physical relationship can be kept going or regained afterwards. There is life after the menopause!
Once again, talking to each other is vital. What Menopause Support can do is to provide the information that women and their partners need to find their own solutions.