Menopause isn’t a ‘women’s issue’ to be kept within the confines of the sisterhood.
Talking openly about the menopause to the men in your life – partner, husband, father, son, friends, work colleagues and managers – is the best way to explain just how you’re feeling, and why.
But what do men really think about it? Do they think about it at all? Do they even know what menopause is?
To understand more about men’s perceptions of menopause, we asked 100 men for their thoughts.
The results were pretty fascinating.
It seems that some of the fears we have about menopause and how men view us really are just that: fears.
Asked whether menopause makes a woman less attractive or sexy, the response was a resounding ‘no’, with some saying ‘just as appealing’ and others saying ‘more!’ or ‘not really very different to non-menopausal or ‘not sure men think about women in this way.’
Reassuringly, when it came to understanding the menopause, all of our respondents knew what it was, and many had an idea of some of the symptoms, with one saying ‘it’s a nightmare for some’ and another realising there is ‘no universal effect as everyone is different and will respond differently’.
And while women often worry that men view menopausal women in a certain light, it seems that this isn’t really the case, with many of our respondents saying they had ‘no’ perceptions or ‘preconceived ideas’ and one interestingly commenting that ‘I never perceive it as a positive thing as it isn’t portrayed this way by females’. Another remarked that he saw it as negative ‘From seeing my wife go through it – it’s negative because she feels bad about it.’
Food for thought maybe in the way we talk about menopause ourselves?
In terms of supporting their partner, most men are keen and willing to help, with answers to ‘Would you know how to help a woman going through menopause’ ranging from ‘Not particularly but I would be willing to learn’ and ‘Mainly love, reassurance and understanding’ to ‘Openness in a relationship should mean you can talk about anything. Men have age-related issues too!’
And as menopause in the workplace is gaining more attention in terms of polices and practices, men are aware of the importance of this, with one saying ‘I work with a lot of women in my job, they are happy with my positive reinforcement’ and another that menopause ‘Is not fully understood or accommodated within the workplace’.
So it seems that in some cases many of the perceptions of menopause may stem from our own insecurities and fears.
Let’s take heart in this quote from one of our respondents: ‘I love my partner so much and the menopause won’t change this.’