Menopause sounded wonderful to me. I figured it meant the end of PMS, periods, and birth control. Sure, I’d heard about hot flashes, but that’s the only negative I had on my radar. Then the menopausal journey began. When you’re clueless, it’s really hard to clue in your spouse. Here are some things I wish he had known, which means I wish I had known them too!
1. Oh, no, libido: Everyday Health reports: “Many women tend to lose interest in sex during menopause because their levels of the male hormone testosterone, which helps fuel libido, can drop along with other hormones.” Husbands should not take this lowered libido personally. Guys, it’s not about how attractive you are, and it’s not about how much she loves you. Many women find that if they set a date for sex, they’ll keep the promise. And once lovemaking gets going, a woman’s mojo comes back. Try it; it works!
2. Ouch! Vaginal changes caused me considerable discomfort and worry as menopause set in. My husband also worried for me, and we wondered if I had a more serious problem. Had I studied up on menopause ahead of time and had my doctor forewarned me, we would have been spared such concerns. Luckily, there are excellent prescription and nonprescription products that help restore elasticity and moisture to the vagina.
3. What’s up? I went through over a year of self-doubt. The author of 20 books, I even stopped writing. My husband knew I wasn’t writing, but I wish he’d asked me more questions about why I had abruptly stopped. If he’d known that self-doubt can be an emotional symptom of menopause, he might have been able to help me get back on track.
4. Speak Up! On days when I seemed extra grumpy or I snapped at him for a minor offense, I wish he’d told me, gently, how this made him feel. In “A Men’s Guide to Menopause,” Dr. Pepper Schwartz writes: “While your role is to be supportive, don't resign yourself to being her punching bag. If you feel she's acting very unreasonably, tell her how you feel and how her actions affect you. Be specific.” Had I known what a grump I was on occasion, I could have worked harder to temper my behavior.
5. A Celebration: I wish we’d gone for a special weekend to celebrate menopause. The idea never crossed my mind. Why don’t you give it a try? Laugh like kids, snuggle like teenagers, and celebrate like the wise and elegant couple you are. You’re alive. You’re in love. You’re tackling the challenges of menopause together. To the future!
A Man’s Guide to Menopause. Everyday Health. Retrieved January 12, 2015. http://www.everydayhealth.com/menopause/a-mans-guide-to-menopause.aspx
A Guy’s Guide to Menopause. AARP. Retrieved January 12, 2015. http://www.aarp.org/relationships/love-sex/info-09-2010/naked_truth_men_guide_to_menopause.html
Reviewed January 21, 2016
By Philip Sarrel, M.D. and Lorna Sarrel, M.S.
Read more in Your Guide for Menopause & Hot Flash Treatment Options