Your period seems to have stopped. You’re a bit moodier than usual. You “flame on” like the human torch at the weirdest times and you’re typically a cold-natured person. (sigh) Yep… it’s beginning to look a lot like menopause. Definitely not the end of life as you know it by any stretch of the imagination, but not exactly top the list of “fun things to do over 40” either.
As with most issues concerning our lady parts, menopause is (for the most part) a private matter between you and your body… and probably your doctor as well. But there’s another person that needs to be in the loop… your “Boo.”
Discussing vaginal dryness and loss of estrogen with your sweetie sounds about as exciting as a root canal. But if they are intimately involved with you, they will be intimately involved with menopause and all that comes with it. If you’re feeling a bit trepidatious about discussing this delicate subject with your lover, here are some suggestions to help ease you address the hot (flash) pink elephant in the room.
Don’t be ashamed of what’s going on with you! Your partner cannot be supportive and understanding if he/she doesn’t know what’s going on. Keeping your symptoms to yourself can cause unnecessary tension. You're thinking you're doing him/her a favor by sleeping in the guest room because of your night sweats but your significant other may take it as “Houston, we have a problem." Anyone who is going to have prolonged exposure to your symptoms needs to be informed. Not that you have to walk around the house, your job, or your canasta club with a sandwich sign or anything, but you get the point.
Just like you are here getting the goods on menopause and how to deal with it, so should the most important person in your life. This is new to you just like it’s new to him/her. Invite them along on your quest for knowledge. Make a concerted effort to get all of the questions answered. Think about it… if you’re learning together, you won’t have to repeat it later! As they say, knowing is half the battle.
Tell the truth about what you're experiencing. Don’t exaggerate your symptoms and don’t downplay them either. This goes back to communication. In either case, your loved ones will not know how to handle you or take you seriously. Downplaying can be the more serious of the two. It’s fine to have a healthy sense of humor about the hot flashes and mood swings but you don’t want to give others license to poke fun at you when you’re “having a senior moment.”
Everyone is on a learning curve here, so having patience with each other is key. Especially when it comes to sex. With all of the not-so-fun things going on “down under” coupled with other things like weight gain and depression, we aren’t always in the mood to “get it on.” Here’s where communication, education, and honesty are most important. You and your honey need to understand what your body is going through so you can determine the best ways to deal with the symptoms that can make sex uncomfortable. Talk to each other honestly about how both of you feel during this time and what your needs are. Being patient doesn’t necessarily mean “wait it out.” You can have a healthy and happy sex life during menopause. In fact, it’s encouraged and can do wonders for helping you get through it. You might just have to get a little creative.
Lucky for all of us, menopause, (like troubles) doesn’t last forever. We can’t ignore it, but there is no reason for us or the people we love to dread it or fear it. Taking into consideration the suggestions above while also having a positive, loving attitude and using a little imagination, your relationship will not just survive… it will thrive!
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