A postcard on my office counter said: “Treasure map to a better menopause”. It was meant to give women hope and an action map to get into a graceful relationship with their bodies during a major shift in their lives. I thought it was a viable message.

One day a male client walks in, sets his eyes on the postcard and proclaims convincingly:

“There is no such thing as better and menopause. These two words shouldn’t even be in the same sentence”.

“Mmm”, I said “tell me more”.
Turns out that his experience of menopause, that is of his wife’s menopause of course, hadn’t been exactly positive. He felt lonely, abandoned, intimacy robbed, sex deprived.  ‘When I come home I never know who will be there”, he said. “Mrs. Happy, Grumpy, Bitchy of Mrs. Joyful. Will she be hot, cold, bliss full or annoyed?”.  In his analysis it all started when ‘the change’ hit.

My curiosity having been peaked I decided to ask my landlord. Not because he was my landlord but because I knew his wife was going through the change too. He just shook his head and said: “I give up”. His big thing was his wife’s inexplicable mood swings, constant change of needs, lack of desire for intimacy and sex and overall just not being emotionally available. Yep, men need that too. Upon further inquiry, it turns out that those two men weren’t isolated cases. Their friends had the same experience. There was a general alienation happening between partners. Helplessness and withdrawal was the men’s answer. Is there possibly a need for a men’s guide to menopause?

As women we have a profound impact on our partners. As deeply emotional beings we can spread joy or despair. We can make or break friendships, partnerships and work relationships with our attitude. Menopause can drag us down if we let it and with it our partners.

Here is a poem, written by my client, to  illustrate my point and the depth of suffering a man may experience.

So long ago

menopause manDreams of a Man

Just want you to know
I think of you each day

You’re in my dreams
I touch you there

I held you close in my arms
Life’s so short, I wonder why
You’re not here with me now

Remember when, remember then
Seems so long ago
I held you close in my arms

You’re not here, I miss those days
Remember when, remember then
Seems so long ago

I look for you, but you’re not here
I feel so all alone

Anonymous, 2015

If you find yourself in that poem and it moved you to tears, you are not alone. When I read this in my life classes, teary eyes are common. It gives me chills every time I read it. That is not to say that every relationship has to go this route during menopause. But what it does tell us is that it happens often. It tells us to be particularly vigilant.

 

What impact are YOU having on your relationships while going through the change?

And what are you going to do about it?

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