Many women find it difficult to talk about menopause with partners.
They see it as the beginning of old age, and whether you’re celebrating your silver wedding anniversary or enjoying the first dates of a new relationship, you want your partner to see you as youthful, sexy and feminine.
This tendency to shy away from conversations about the menopause, and more importantly the symptoms you’re experiencing, can put a strain on a relationship. Your partner may have already have noticed a change.
With 34 symptoms, no two women’s experiences are the same, and the way it affects you could manifest in either an emotional or physical way – or both. From mood swings to loss of your libido, the chances are your relationship will be impacted, which it is why it is so important to be open and honest about it.
We asked Jane Hallam to share her advice on opening up the lines of communication with your partner. And if you’re the partner looking for advice on how you can support your wife or girlfriend through the menopause.
Why not check out what Esteem’s panel of women had to say about it.
1. Do your research
Even though every woman’s menopause experience is different, it will help you to know more about it.
If you can talk your partner through what you know, and how it could affect you, then you’re both fully prepared if and when symptoms do arise. Also, get your partner to do their own research, hearing other women’s experiences and reading up will help educate them on how real the impact of the menopause can be.
2. Be honest
There are still a lot of taboos around the menopause, which can cause people to shy away from talking about it, when in fact it’s a natural stage in every woman’s life.
Don’t be afraid to admit what you’re going through and how you’re feeling to your partner.
Keeping it bottled up will only cause strain on the relationship as changes occur that they won’t be able to explain. The menopause can have an effect on your relationship – whether that’s emotionally or physically – and the last thing you want is for your partner looking for an alternative explanation or possibly blaming themselves.
3. Let’s talk about sex
Loss of libido, weight gain, dry vagina, thinning hair, hot flushes, change in body odour etc. etc. There are plenty of reasons why women may not feel their sexiest when going through the menopause.
However this doesn’t mean that you should lose all intimacy with your partner. This is where the honest communication comes into play. Talk to each other about what you like and don’t like, why things may have changed, what can be done to improve your sex life and how else you can enjoy being together.
Some people may be embarrassed to talk about sex or the changes they’re experiencing. But you should be able to feel comfortable with a sexual partner and this includes the odd awkward conversation.
4. Remember why you’re together
Sometimes the longer you’re with someone the harder it is to remember what attracted you to them in the first place. Combine this with the menopause, which could have changed some elements of your personality, and you could be sat on the sofa wondering who is staring back at you.
As a couple take the time to enjoy being with each other, whether that’s going on dates and doing things you used to do when you were first together. Or take the plunge and try something completely new.
This will help bring the spark back to the relationship and remind you why you fell in love.
5. Accept things are different
Like most things in life, things change and people change. This doesn’t need to be a bad thing.
If you can accept that your relationship is different then you can look at different ways to enjoy it. It could be that you used to both be night owls who would stay up late watching films or talking into the early hours, however the menopause can cause chronic fatigue that could put a halt to this.
So why not look at other ways you can enjoy each other’s company? Whether that’s early morning walks or making more of an effort around dinner time.
Life is about being adaptable to situations and remember the menopause doesn’t last forever.
Keep an eye out for more menopause tips from Esteem’s Jane Hallam.
Esteem – No Pause, is a range of nightwear, loungewear and lingerie made specifically for women who suffer from night sweats, one of the most common symptoms of the menopause.
Created by Jane Hallam, the specialist clothing range uses performance tested, breathable wicking fabrics. Esteem – No Pause provide style and comfort to the millions of women who suffer from night sweats, helping to improve their sleep and boost their confidence.
Esteem – No Pause can be purchased exclusively from www.EsteemManchester.com.