Did you know the menopause is a divorce danger zone? Divorce rates peak for couples aged 45 to 49 years old in the UK, according to the National Office for Statistics, with women more likely to call for divorce than men around this age. The myriad of symptoms along with the emotional and mental health impact can put a severe strain on both partners and ultimately the relationship.
This video is designed specifically for partners of women going through menopause, to help them understand what’s going on and what to do about it. I share 2 concepts :
- ‘D.R.E.S.S’ – the most impactful and practical lifestyle changes that help improve their partners experience of the menopause transition
- ‘Take a B.R.E.A.T.H’ – a guide for how to navigate conversations and interactions for positive outcomes (when it can feel like treading on eggshells!)
I’m joined in the video by Bob Johnson, one of my pilates students, radio presenter and bravest man in the world – who is asking on behalf of a friend – a number of questions to unravel the mystery of menopause and to discuss the concepts above. In short, if you have a wife or partner going through menopause this conversation is for you.
- DRESS is my framework for the most effective and practical lifestyle changes to help improve symptoms and emotional well-being. It’s really helpful if the whole family embrace these changes and they’re great for everyone:
DIET – whole foods that are anti inflammatory and help support and nourish mind and body. The Mediterranean diet is a great place to start, read more here
REST & RECHARGE – support your partner in creating time for activities that help them to recharge their batteries and reduce stress.
EXERCISE – is a great stress buster and mood booster. Do activities together that are fun and active or help your partner to find time for hers.
SLEEP – help your partner get to bed at a reasonable time and don’t be offended if they need to sleep in a different room (or ask you to!)
STRESS – your partner is likely to be feeling more stressed due to reduced hormone levels and spikes of cortisol. All of the above will help to reduce stress but also be compassionate if they’re snappy, tearful or having mood swings – they’re experiencing a hormone rollercoaster!
2. Take a “B.R.E.A.T.H” is my tool for helping you have better quality interactions (and less friction) with your partner.
Brave – Be brave enough to ask questions about their experience – make her feel she’s not alone and you care (without judgement or a desire to fix it, just listen)
Research – do your research into menopause. It’s a joint responsibility to understand, she doesn’t have all the answers so navigate it together. Here are some great resources: Balance Menopause and Menopause Matters.
Embrace intimacy – your partner might need space to workout what’s going on, to think, to rest or even sleep. Having sex might fall to the bottom of the list. This can feel like rejection but be patient and embrace connecting beyond the physical by spending quality time together talking and having fun. If appropriate cuddles are great as are compliments!
Accept changes – this transition can take time, you can’t fix this for your partner so embrace the changes.
Time to transition – she won’t know how long it will last, be patient and evolve together. It can take months or up to around 10 years. Patience is key.
Humour – delicately retain a sense of humour – laugh, cry and have joy together.
I’d love to hear how you get on and feel free to send me any questions, Laura.
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