We all know that entering Midlife can be a difficult experience for women. It can also be difficult for men as well. Men really don’t comprehend the term menopause so when his spouse begins to demonstrate symptoms they immediately think the worst … he doesn’t realize that her actions are reactions to hormonal changes brought on by menopause. Well, at least not at first.
As history goes, men tend to age with grace. Their salt and pepper hair can be attractive for some. They are settled into their careers and aren’t put on the “Oh! He’s Over 50 List” when searching for a new career or advancement in their current position. To be fair, men do go through a period called andropause but it is a much slower process than the typical menopause that women experience. Andropause is different than menopause, simply stated.
As a result of this, I have come to the conclusion that men are put in a tail spin when having to deal with their menopausal spouses. They do not understand why the woman they have known and loved for the last 20 years has all of a sudden become a raging lunatic. They don’t understand why their spouse has no filter when spewing everything he has or has not done in the last 20 years. Men don’t understand the solitude their spouse so desperately craves. Hot flashes, fatigue, depression, lack of confidence and self esteem. Nope, men are baffled. Do a Google search on menopause. You will see more comments from men who simply don’t understand, are confused, or they drag their women to the closest doctor for meds because they think she has simply lost her freaking mind.
Well, Gentlemen, this is for you! There are only two things you need to realize. You will either SINK or SWIM.
Your spouse is going through one of the greatest changes of her life. This change is a natural, biological occurrence that she has no control of. It’s not like she has a choice. Trust me, women would certainly choose NOT to go through menopause. This is the worst time and the best time of her life all wrapped up in a hot, soggy, tearful and frantic mess of a human being.
So, you ask, “What the hell am I to do, then?” My answer to that is:
- You can get all pissy and leave this page; or
- You can drop the MANitude and continue to read further;
I’m going to give you a starter list of the Do’s and Don’ts of handling your menopausal spouse. This list has been derived from my personal experience and research into the lives of other menopausal women. Am I certified? Well, the jury is still out on my certifiability but I’m a woman who’s willing to give you some personal insight into the life of the woman you love. So, I think that would be enough if you are truly willing to learn what is going on in your spouse’s pretty, little head.
Here are the Menopause Dos:
- Do your research, take the time to learn about what she is experiencing;
- Be patient with her, even when she’s not patient with you;
- Be compassionate, let her know that you are trying to understand;
- Be helpful, with the children, the housework, the daily cooking chores (your spouse is fatigued at the highest level);
- Be loving, even as she scowls at you and throws you out of your own bedroom;
- Understand that her behavior makes HER feel horrible about herself;
- Be concerned, let her know you are concerned about her feelings, although you don’t quite understand them.
Here are the Menopause Don’ts:
- Don’t try to FIX her, she’s not broken;
- Don’t and I mean this with all my worth … DON’T call her crazy;
- Don’t belittle her;
- Don’t get your manhood in a tightwad … she’s not interested in sex, but, she IS still interested in you;
- Don’t argue with her, Ooohhh she’s going to argue with you alright, but, walk away … tell her you’re going to your neutral corner until she calms down, that you understand, that you see it for what it is; put the discussion on the table for a later time;
- Don’t place guilt on her, she feels guilty enough … she KNOWS she not the same woman she used to be. She pretty much has all the guilt she needs … if it came from you as well … you just added a double wammy, shame on you.
Now, that I have given you the Menopause Do’s and Don’ts … let’s look at the situation like this, your spouse has put herself in a cocoon:
- She’s afraid;
- She doesn’t have a complete understanding of her feelings yet;
- She seeks solitude to sort it all out without hurting the ones closest to her;
- She feels extreme guilt;
- She is physically ill, her joints hurt, hot flashes are no picnic, night sweats … embarrassing, she is oohh sooo tired
- She questions her own existence;
- She remembers NOTHING … which gets very aggravating for someone who has always been on task and never had to take notes.
As time goes by, she starts to figure things out:
- She finds ways to holistically/conventionally deal with her symptoms;
- She becomes kinder to herself;
- She laughs at herself for the silly things she does;
- She begins to accept what is happening to her;
In essence, her cocoon is beginning to uncloak as the realization of her existence becomes clear to her. She feels stronger and more confident, another shred of the cocoon falling away. She determines where she wants her life to go from this point forward, she becomes determined to reach that goal. She becomes the beautiful butterfly she was meant to be at this stage in her life. She becomes BETTER than she was before all this began and she loves it!
So, gentlemen, it all boils down to two choices:
- You sink, you miss the beautiful butterfly your spouse has become (usually through divorce, separation etc.), your spouse is growing as a human being, with you or without you;
- You swim, you have survived the storm, you were willing to stick it out because you wanted to see the butterfly she would become, you wanted to share the world with her as she sees it with her new found eyes. You love her not for her outward appearance, but, the inward beauty that as a butterfly she now sees in herself.
I hope this gives you a starting place to understand the storm that is blowing through your otherwise happy and humble homestead. It’s up to you to choose whether or not you’re a survivor!
Is your spouse having a tough time with menopause? I’d love to help you help her.
See you in the comments,