Supporting Your Partner Through Menopause with Cam Fraser
on Oct 17, 2022
How do I look after my partner when they are going through menopause? If your other half has reached that phase of their life and you want to help but you're not sure how, this blog is for you.
As a men’s sex coach, I work with a lot of cis-het men whose partners are transitioning through menopause. I thought it would be beneficial to share about some of the things you can do to support your partner during this part of their life.
The first thing is to understand what both the stages of menopause and perimenopause are. Menopause is the final menstruation period and your partner has probably reached it if they haven’t had a period for 12 months. This is a normal and healthy part of ageing which usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age, but it can happen earlier or later.
Perimenopause is the lead-up to menopause and will usually start when your partner is in their 40s. This can last approximately four to six years and during this time, you may notice that your partner has physical and emotional symptoms which is very common.
During the menopause transition, the levels of estrogen and progesterone decline, and the ovaries stop releasing eggs. Conception can still happen during perimenopause, but not after menopause.
Experiences of menopause can vary, but there are a range of common physical and emotional symptoms. Your partner may have very few symptoms or they may have more severe symptoms which affect their daily life.
Symptoms include irregular periods, hot flushes, night sweats, sleep problems, sore breasts, irritated skin, fatigue, vaginal dryness, loss of sex drive, headaches, bodily pains, bloating, continence issues, weight gain, frustration, anxiety, forgetfulness, lowered mood, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.
Because of the possible mood swings, you may feel that giving your partner some space is the best approach, but it’s more important to support them during this time. I encourage you to listen and allow your partner to express their feelings, even if you don’t understand them. It may be that they don’t actually want (or need) you to fix or offer a solution to anything, they simply just want to be heard.
Encourage your partner to talk about what they need and when they need it. This includes their intimacy needs. They may have a lower sex drive but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to be touched, cuddled, kissed or held.
When it comes to sex, there are some specific things to be mindful of. For example, your partner may experience vaginal dryness which can make penetration uncomfortable.
Agreeing on ways to be intimate with each other which don’t involve intercourse can be beneficial for the two of you. If you do have penetrative sex, using a personal lubricant can make it more comfortable.
It sounds simple, but my suggestion is to find the right balance of intimacy and sexuality which will be unique for you as a couple. For a while, you may like to focus on just being physically close instead of making sexual intercourse something that is expected every time you’re intimate.
Ask what makes your partner feel good and offer to do it. Sometimes, it may be a simple foot rub or shoulder massage that keeps you both connected as a couple.
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