Let’s be honest: it takes a village for a woman to survive perimenopause and menopause, and the first place to start is by knowing how to talk to your husband about menopause. Often, you don’t realize it until you’re in the throes of it, and in fact, many of us experience symptoms that we don’t even realize are signs of perimenopause until we start adding them up in our doctor’s office. I was suffering needlessly through hot flashes, night sweats, and irritability (just to name a few) for a few years without realizing that I’d hit perimenopause, and I now know I could’ve had support and help all that time.
While a supportive group of women (including Menopause Moment!) can be enormously helpful as you go through The Change, one of your most important sources of help and support can be your husband.
Menopause isn’t something that you go through alone. It’s something that you, your husband, and your entire family experiences. If I’m having hot flashes and need the fan on all night, that ultimately means my husband has to sleep in his winter pajamas (in summer, people). We’re going through menopause together.
When to Talk to Your Husband About Menopause
The best time to talk with your husband about menopause is when things are calm and pleasant between you. The worst time is during an argument, first thing in the morning when you’re greeting the day, or last thing before bed, when you’re trying to relax for sleep.
Try not to have the talk when one of you is racing off to a meeting, taking the kids to soccer practice, or when you’re doing something else that requires a lot of attention. Don’t talk to your husband while he’s watching TV, for example.
Instead, time your conversation wisely so that you’re both in a good place and have time to think clearly and you have each other’s full attention. You may even schedule a time when you’ll both come to the conversation openly.
How to Approach Your Husband for This Talk
A gentle, kind approach is best. The last thing you want to do is angrily tell your husband that he’s not being supportive, doesn’t understand what you’re going through, and needs to learn all about menopause to support you.
A better approach is to let him know that you’re struggling with some things, or that some symptoms are challenging you right now, and you could really use the support. Think about his goals and what he wants in life – and in your relationship, and approach the conversation from that angle.
When I talked to my husband about menopause, I realized that my experiences weren’t all about me. I wanted my husband to support me through this journey. He wanted a loving wife who was wasn’t making everything about her. So when I approached him, I told him I wanted to talk and share what I was going through, and I also wanted to understand his experience as well, and that my hope was that we could find a way to go through this change in life together.
What If He Doesn’t Want to Talk About The Details?
Let’s be honest, some of the nitty gritty of menopause is stuff guys don’t really want or need to know. While there are some practical details about how you and your body are changing, he may not need to know that your ovaries are now the size of a grape, for example (seriously, that’s the deal, ladies).
One thing I did find super helpful, though, was when I pointed to my new meno-belly (that’s what I’m calling it) and told my husband, “This right here? This thing that wasn’t here when we met? It may be here to stay.” And he said, “But I like it.” And that made me feel so much better.
Navigate together what you will and won’t discuss, and what you want to share together. There’s no question that there are certainly some aspects to menopause that affect your husband quite directly, and you’ll want to have those discussions as openly as you can.
Having said all of that, if you’re uncomfortable talking about the details of how your body is changing, OR if your husband isn’t really into having a lengthy discussion where you’re educating him about your changing hormones, you can also encourage him to conduct his own research.
I actually asked my husband to go out and google articles on how to be a supportive spouse when your wife is going through menopause. He found the following articles to be particularly helpful:
A Man’s Guide to Menopause
The Best Way Husbands Can Support Partners During Menopause
go away come here go away: 10 tips to support someone through menopause
Ten Best Tips For Surviving Your Partner’s Menopause
A Guy’s Guide to Menopause
Dear Men: 8 Things You Must Know About Menopause
Since I Talked to My Spouse About Menopause…
My husband and I have an open dialogue going about perimenopause and menopause, and I think his awareness has dramatically increased due to the show. I’m always talking about the new supplement or product I’m trying out to share with you, so menopause is front of mind for both of us.
But also, he’s become much more aware of and attentive to my needs. When I explained to him what a hot flash feels like, his eyes were open to the discomfort that many women feel in menopause. These days, when he can tell I’m having a hot flash (he can touch my skin and tell now!) he grabs the nearest fan-like object to fan me with, gets my handheld fan, or asks what he can do to help.
He’s become more sensitive to my mood swings and does his best to keep me upbeat when I’m feeling blue. He’s understanding of when I’m tired or have no energy, and he’s become the keeper of many of my memories, especially for those brain fog days.
Talk to your husband about your perimenopause or menopause journey. Let him be a part of it. He doesn’t have to know all the details to support you.