Couple’s Relationship And Menopause
Menopause is an ordeal in itself for the couple. Couple relationships and menopause don’t usually go well together as there are dozens of menopausal symptoms that can contribute to relationship stress and eventually divorce.
A study published in 2016 surprised many by suggesting that more than 60% of divorces during the menopausal years are initiated by women. According to experts, the main reason for divorce is lack of communication.
From personal experience, I believe that pre-menopausal marital problems add to the problems of managing menopausal symptoms. This situation often becomes completely out of control, and the only way out is divorce: to have peace!
The couple’s relationship is the only business that requires as much investment from one year to the next, for guaranteed success.
On a women’s perspective we could say that in the context where everything they knew to be normal is suppressed by the hormone changes and that professional help to assist them in this new phase is rather limited, if not non-existent.
Given this context it could be said that communication may be last on their to-do list and that navigating into unknown territory can put any relationship to the test.
The Menopause, Life transition
Menopause is a life transition that can affect women physically and emotionally.
- Seventy percent (70%) of women will experience normal menopausal symptoms, more or less pronounced, a few hot flashes at night, some irritability, more or less severe sleep disturbances, depressed mood, physical and emotional exhaustion, joint and muscle pain, urinary tract symptoms and vaginal dryness, and more.
- Twenty percent (20%) of them will have an asymptomatic “gift menopause”; symptoms are very little noticeable.
- Ten percent (10%) of them will, on the contrary, have several years in which their quality of life will be almost non-existent.
Needless to say, many women feel unattractive going through so many unwanted changes and their self-esteem takes a hit!
During menopause, a woman’s brain also undergoes changes. Dr. Louann Brizendine (author of The Female Brain) says, “The mom’s brain gets shut off. Menopause means the end of the hormones that have stimulated communication circuits, emotional circuits, the willingness to care and heal, and the need to avoid conflict at all costs”.
When a woman is not able to take care of herself, how will she be able to take care of others.
Living together – the couple’s life
Relationships are complicated at first. Mars VS Venus; different views and priorities and so on.
I see the commitment of two individuals to each other as a partnership.
I believe that in this partnership we must find a minimum of common interests such as certain hobbies and future projects. If you and your partner don’t agree on anything at first… why bother living together?
Partnership is simply defined as: an active association of different stakeholders who, while maintaining their autonomy, agree to pool their efforts to achieve a common goal related to a clearly identified problem or need in which, by virtue of their respective missions, they have an interest, a responsibility, a motivation, or even an obligation.
If you agree with this definition, then what is your common goal; to grow old together in harmony and love. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of all couples?
How your couple will get through menopause
The members of your partnership, i.e. you and your spouse, should make every effort to get through this phase.
In general, women want understanding, support and sympathy from their partner in a time of distress, menopause is no exception.
Understanding the process, stages, symptoms, and more of menopause will ensure that your partner will be able to support you. It would be sad to think that you can simply ignore this situation, as if it would just go away.
If you were suffering from cancer… wouldn’t you and your partner want to know everything about this situation and put in place the best solutions for the continuity of your life together in harmony.
Intimacy For Two
Does menopause means the end of sexual activity in your relationship? Not at all! There are solutions.
Many men blame lack of sex as the main reason for divorce in their 40s. But is this the case? The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) surveyed 1,682 adults aged 45 and over about the importance of sex. Two-thirds of men (66%) and about half of women (48%) agreed that a satisfying sex life was important to their quality of life. This represents a difference of only 18 per cent. So, is it lack of sex or a breakdown in communication that drives women away?
Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover and a leading expert on menopause, says, “If a woman is taking medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, contraceptives, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or blood pressure medication, it can also decrease sexual desire.
The stress of midlife due to career changes, loss of a loved one, empty nest syndrome or caring for elderly parents can contribute to a decrease in libido.
Sexual fulfillment can continue well beyond the age of menopause. “Emotional and sexual life, in general, and in the 50s in particular, is as much a matter of the mind as it is of the body,” says Dr. Alain Tamborini in his book 800 Questions for the Gynecologist.
It is obvious that a dull and repetitive sexuality is not likely to improve over the years. Conversely, when love relationships have been a source of satisfaction and fulfilment, they can still be enriched over time.
Keeping up your libido at all ages
Even if there is a good understanding within the couple, some disorders can still become obstacles. The most important and most frequent is vaginal dryness. After the menopause, estrogen secretions from the ovaries dry up, the vagina loses its flexibility and becomes dry. Intercourse can be painful. The use of lubricants or local estrogen is an effective aid. Some treatments can also help combat fatigue and other hot flashes. Talk to your doctor.
Beyond the physiological problems related to this period of life, regardless of age, monotony, boredom, mediocrity kill love and desire. Originality, imagination, fantasy make it possible to sublimate sexuality. Without forgetting that the departure of the children or the arrival of retirement also means more time and less constraints or stress… So why not take advantage of it?
In conclusion, I believe that as long as we agree to the fact that nothing is taken for granted in a relationship and that we care about that relationship, we will make the right choices. The education of the parties involved in this process of change is paramount for the survival of the couple.
Your relationship is worth investing a little time and patience.