Perimenopause is a distressing time for many women, and talking about it with a partner can be difficult for a number of reasons, so the conversation is often avoided. However, there are many benefits to sharing this period of your life with your significant other, even though it can be difficult at first. Read on to find out a few hints and tips about how to talk to your partner about perimenopause.
Why Can it Be Difficult to Talk to a Partner?
Perimenopause starts when a woman is between the ages of 45 and 55, and is officially said to begin when a woman notices her first menopause symptom. It can be a stressful time for many women, not only because of the effects of the symptoms themselves, but also because it comes with a knowledge that the fertile years are coming to an end and brings up fears about getting older and losing femininity.
Some women might also feel self-conscious about their perimenopause symptoms, especially if they are severe, and this can make them feel undesirable to a partner. Without discussion and reassurance, there can be strain on a couple's sex life or general emotional closeness. A few of the symptoms that are most likely to put a strain on a relationship are:
- Lack of libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
Why Should I Talk to My Partner?
There are numerous benefits of talking to your partner about perimenopause and having an open discussion, both for you and for them. First, it will increase your peace of mind; knowing that your loved one understands why you are behaving the way you are or even just understands how you feel will avoid any misunderstandings and feelings of isolation. This can relieve some of the psychological effects of perimenopause, such as depression and anxiety.
Talking can also have benefits for your partner, allowing them to voice any concerns or worries they might be having. This frank discussion can also be the first step to getting help for any problems that might be affecting the two of you, such as lack of sex drive or mood swings.
How Do I Approach the Subject?
Although approaching the subject for the first time can feel awkward or embarrassing, it is an important step. It might help to have the conversation in a neutral place and not somewhere where you are normally intimate with one another. Therefore, keep the conversation outside the bedroom, or even outside the house altogether. This will avoid you feeling pressured by the surroundings.
It will also be useful to prepare what you are going to say before the conversation, as this will help you avoid clamming up or forgetting something important. Mentally preparing yourself for possible replies could also be a good exercise. Try and stick to the bare facts at first - it is often the case that the conversation becomes more emotionally-based as it progresses, but being emotional from the offset can increase pressure and might encourage you to avoid the discussion about perimenopause altogether.
Trying to openly discuss personal topics such as perimenopause can increase intimacy and the likelihood of seeking relevant help, be it physical or psychological. It could also decrease the feelings of loneliness that can come at such a turbulent time and prevent you from facing fears and worries alone.
- Kids' Health. (2014). Talking to Your Partner About STDs. Retrieved December 4, 2014, from http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/stds/the_talk.html
- Love, S. (2003). Dr. Susan Love's Menopause & Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Northrup, C. (2006). The Wisdom of Menopause. New York: Bantam Dell.
- Thacker, H.L. (2009). The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause. New York: Kaplan Publishing.