Menopause affects a woman in many ways which include both the physical and emotional well-being. It also has a negative impact on the social ties and relationships that the patient shares.
Menopause can affect a woman both physically and emotionally. The fluctuation in the levels of hormones can lead to various symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, itchy skin, migraine headaches, breast fullness or tenderness, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. Majority of women (80%) have these symptoms and many may face the problem of midlife weight gain as well. Due to the menopausal symptoms most women start feeling unattractive, exhausted, depressed and moody. These symptoms may make them feel isolated and confused.
Menopause probably causes changes in the woman’s brain as well. The female hormones are known to enhance communication circuits, emotion circuits, the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflicts. These make a woman loving and caring. The fluctuating or declining levels of hormones during menopause means the end of all these attributes and also loss of interest in communication and sex. Besides the hormonal changes certain medications, (such as antidepressants, contraceptive drugs, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or medications for blood pressure) and midlife stress (such as career change, loss of a loved one, caring for elderly parents) can further decrease sexual desire in a woman.
The stress and ongoing changes make a woman go in self-survival mode. An unconcerned or indifferent spouse can make her feel unloved, deserted and lonely and may make the marriage appear hollow or redundant.
How Menopause affects a Man and his Marriage?
With the changes of menopause the woman alone does not suffer. The partner also feels the heat. He can see his loving and caring wife change and become unresponsive, uncaring and non-communicative. Besides the changes in his partner men have their own set of problems in midlife or face a midlife physical and emotional crisis (change of jobs, dissatisfaction with job, grown up children, health and aging issues). Decrease in testosterone levels in middle age affects the male libido, moods and sexual performance. However the change in male hormonal levels is much more gradual as compared to a woman and hence does not cause as dramatic effects or changes. Most women experience a significant decrease in sexual desire during menopause, hence males associate menopause with having less sex and unloving marriage.
But, a slight change in attitude of the husband can make a huge amount of difference. A is supportive and caring partner can make the transition of menopause smoother. And remember that if your partner is happy you feel good and happy.
Acquiring marriage stability during menopause needs action and dedication.
Midlife Marriage Actions For the husband
- Give her time and listen to her, don’t be critical or try to fix her.
- Be ready to accept the mood swings and changes in her as they are passing and mostly beyond her control
- Be loving and caring and bear out her experience rather than trying to fix her or the problems
- Be extra romantic, cuddle her more, make her feel loved and wanted,
- Do things women love or like such as bring her flowers, take her out for shopping or dinner
- Encourage healthy eating and exercise. Go with her for exercise, walks or to the gym.
- Don’t overlook or disregard her menopause symptoms. Let her know you are aware about the changes she is going through, talk about it.
- Go with her if needed to a doctor to discuss menopause symptoms or other problems she may be facing
If your loving, supporting and caring attitude do not make her feel better or make a change, give her space and time. Be patient. You have to be focused to tide over this transition phase to make your marriage happy and successful.
Midlife Marriage Actions For the wife
- Make yourself aware of the menopause symptoms and discuss the changes and treatment with your doctor.
- Practice healthy lifestyle—eat healthy foods, do exercises.
- Care for yourself and take out time for your personal care like facials, hairdo.
- Talk to your friends or join a support group.
- Talk to your partner about menopause and the changes or problems that you feel.
- Try to understand your partner as he may also be confused by your changes.
- If you are really unhappy try counseling.
- Take effort to be interested in lovemaking activities, and for problems like low libido, vaginal dryness, discuss treatment options with your doctor.
- Most important try to stay positive as the changes are short-term and if needed consult a doctor.
Remember that you have to communicate and support each other’s needs not only during menopause but throughout your marriage to make it work. The only extra work you have to do is that you have to go out of your way to nourish a healthy, loving relationship that can last a lifetime.
Read more articles on Menopause.
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