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Does your husband understand menopause? I mean, really understand menopause? Chances are that he just thinks it's that time of YOUR life when you get to say goodbye periods and PMS. Hello, sex all month long!
My husband, David, and most of the men who responded to my recent questionnaire were completely in the dark about what to expect when the loves of their lives hit perimenopause and menopause. Boy, talk about being "blindsided"!
When our relationship was hit with a torrent of hot flashes, tremendous mood swings and sleepless and sexless nights, he was more than flummoxed.
Why was I so moody? Why did everything he do upset me so? Why didn't I want to be intimate with him anymore? These changes can be so confusing to the men in our lives. My husband wasn't sure if my feelings for him had changed or if he had done something to incite my bitchy demeanor. Either way, he feared it would never go away. He wanted our relationship back, but had no idea as to what the cause or cure was.
For him and for most of the men I interviewed, dealing with and trying to understand perimenopause and menopause is more challenging than PMS. "It doesn't come and go every 28 days or so... once you're in, there's no turning back, so you can't rationalize away the symptoms," David says. "You can't just dismiss the symptoms of menopause as 'it's just that time of month' and wait for day eight to roll around."
Finally, though, my husband and I sought out a perimenopause and menopause specialist, and together we both found hormone happiness. We learned that the symptoms our relationship was suffering from were actually symptoms of perimenopause. And with proper medical care, the symptoms faded away. But most importantly, we grew to better understand this chapter of my life -- and our relationship. Together and as co-participants, we educated ourselves on the myriad of more than 30 menopausal symptoms, demystifying this time in our lives. Information is power!
Women aren't the only ones who need to understand menopause. As a woman, you are one-half of your marriage (let's be honest: sometimes even more than that!), and when that half changes, it changes the relationship right along with it. For my husband and me, going together to see a menopause specialist was a game-changer in how we approached this time in our lives together. Now, our relationship is even stronger than it was before.
Open up the conversation with the love of your life with these top three things every woman should tell her partner about menopause:
1. This Is Hard For Me As women, we try to take everything that life throws at us in giant, superhuman strides. But menopause isn't a road best traveled solo. So don't try to do it that way! Be honest about how you feel both physically and emotionally. Even once you conquer hot flashes, mood swings and the various other symptoms of menopause, coping with the loss of fertility can be difficult for many women. You deserve every feeling. Don't discount them.
2. It's Not You, It's My Hormones Let's face it, when riding the hormonal highs and lows of menopause, we can say and do some pretty hurtful things. Sometimes they shock even us. So imagine how the men in our life feel when they become the target of our fury! Before my husband and I realized menopause's full effects, he felt like he had done something wrong. That couldn't have been further from the truth!
3. I'm Still Attracted To You It is important that your lover understands that when your estrogen levels begin to plummet, your vagina might go from frolicking on a tropical island to being spiteful and stranded in the Mojave Desert. When this happens, sex can hurt! This can be quite disturbing to a couple that is normally very sexually active and satisfied. But do not fret, lovers, there is help for this! With a little lube and/or hormone replacement therapy, you can be back frolicking on the beach in no time.
It's no secret that communication is the key to happy, healthy relationships. But when it comes to dealing with perimenopause and menopause, communication might as well be smack dab in the middle of your vows. So start talking! Trust me -- you'll both be so glad you did!
This Post was originally published at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-sarver-dolgen/menopause-symptoms-partner_b_3082155.html - By Ellen Dolgen
Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women's health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.
For more by Ellen Dolgen, click here.