How to Talk to Your Partner about Menopause

October 22, 2014
How to Talk to Your Partner about Menopause

After several years in a relationship, a woman’s partner will have noticed the ebbs and flows of biology each month. A woman’s cycle will have its unique rhythm that an intimate partner learns to count on. What happens when this cycle starts to change? How does either the person start a conversation about these changes? In many relationships, sexual questions are not verbalized and partners are left to wonder what is happening, especially during menopause. Opening the door to honest dialog can help both of you relax and understand the changes that are occurring in your body.

Leave the Bedroom

Leaving the bedroom is the best way to start any conversation that might include sex. Find a time when both of you are relaxed and comfortable with each other. Driving in a car, going for a walk, or sitting somewhere pleasant can all be good places to start a conversation about menopause and what it means to you both. Privacy is obviously important, as is not having interruptions if it can be helped. If you have been to your doctor recently, begin the conversation by talking about that visit.

Segues and Doctor’s Orders

If you have scheduled a doctor’s appointment but have not yet gone, it’s an even better time for your partner to become involved in the process. They may have questions or concerns they want addressed during the appointment and you can do that for them. They may also have a preference to what type of treatment you decide and that should be considered as well, although it is your body and you have final say over how you treat any symptoms.

After your visit with your doctor, talk about what was said regarding your health and your progression through perimenopause (the few years before menopause when symptoms can first start to appear) or, if the doctor has established that you are in menopause, share that information. A woman is considered menopausal when she has not had a period for 12 months. Your partner may have already noticed irregular or missing periods, sleep problems, mood changes, hot flashes, or even sexual difficulty. Along with the symptoms your partner might already recognize, also talk about potential bone loss, slowed metabolism, and any other symptom that might be less obvious but a concern for you. The more information you share during the initial conversation, the better decisions you can make together.

Discuss Options

Once you’ve talked about your menopause symptoms, it’s time to answer questions and discuss your options. Although menopause is a necessary part of growing older, suffering through it is not necessary. There is no cure for menopause but there are ways to make the transition easier. Try to help your partner understand which symptoms are the most frustrating to you and be sure to talk about anything that helps you feel better so your partner can be a part of this process as well. Whether you have decided with your doctor to try hormone therapy, estrogen cream, antidepressants, vaginal moisturizer or another medication to ease your specific symptoms, menopause does not have to be a time of discomfort.


Many women feel a new breath of life after menopause. Sure there are hot flashes, disrupted sleep and maybe even weight gain or incontinence, but there also is freedom from periods and the thought of pregnancy. Any troublesome symptoms can be helped with new habits, humor and, if necessary, medication. There can be a new vigor of life as symptoms are treated and you feel more energetic and more like yourself than you have since the symptoms started creeping in. There are more opportunities to be yourself and to grow into this new phase of your life. You and your partner can use this time of change as a positive move towards the next phase of your relationship. The most important point to get across to your partner, and to believe yourself, is that menopause is a chance to redefine yourself as a couple.

As a couple, you can find new ways to be intimate that are comfortable for you both. Vaginal moisturizers or lubricants become even more important at this phase of life and can be used daily to help with vaginal dryness. If your doctor agrees, estrogen can be used in the form of vaginal cream, tablet or ring, can be helpful for general dryness, discomfort during intercourse, and some urinary symptoms.

It’s Not Just About You

When you talk with your partner about your menopause symptoms, it is also a good time to discuss any aging symptoms they might be having. Introduce the idea that you are entering a new phase of life and they may be, too. This can be enough to start the process of honest discussions, knowing that not everything needs to be said in one conversation. You can introduce the topic, give some information, maybe ponder a question that can’t be answered right away, then leave the conversation for another time. This gives your partner time to digest what you have said and to consider how they might like to respond. In a few days, you can ask if they that any questions or anything to add to the conversation, or you can give them more information if it’s appropriate.

If You Get Stuck

If you find conversations about intimacy and change difficult, couple’s counseling might help with a therapist that is competent with the topic of sex and aging. Just having that neutral person in the room that is knowledgeable can help the conversation flow better and be more enjoyable. Having an expert available to answer questions and give advice can help you and your partner feel more confident with the coming changes. A therapist can also help if your partner has trouble understanding the changes you are experiencing and has difficulty coping with them. Remember that counseling is not just for couples headed for divorce!

With medical advancements and our healthier lifestyles, there are now many ways to thrive despite going through menopause. This is simply a new phase of life with new freedoms and opportunities. Open, honest, and even humorous discussion with your partner can help make it that much better.

Have you found effective ways to communicate your concerns about menopause?

Dr. Lisa Powell is a solution focused marriage and family therapist. She enjoys working with couples to help them communicate better and reduce conflicts. Dr. Powell believes in the power of communication to rediscover hope. She currently practices in north Texas, sometimes with the help of her therapy dog Luke.

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