1. Give your partner Lots of Space.
2. Tell her often that you love her. Touch her, hold her, with no sexual innuendo. Separate touch and massage from sexuality.
3. Ask yourself what you can do to reduce her stress and anxiety–then Do It. Take things off her plate (figuratively, not literally). Act as a buffer between her and your “all mouth” teenagers, and help with her or your aging parents. Draw her a hot bath; make her a cup of tea.
4. Help her research healthful alternatives; offer to accompany her to her gynecologist’s visit. Go online with her and provide interested commentary and analysis.
5. Increase the frequency, intensity and duration of your exercise. This will put endorphins and serotonin into your brain and alleviate the stress of living with a (“peri”) –menopausal partner. Encourage your “pausing” partner to join in. Lead by example.
6. Do not remind your wife that her memory is bad. She knows; she knows! Look after her. Support her.
7. Don’t get into arguments at night. She has enough trouble sleeping as it is. Remember, women get the last word in every argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
8. Be a good sounding board to help her diffuse what she is thinking and feeling. Women often work out what is bothering them just by hearing themselves verbalize and having someone to acknowledge them in the process. Agree a lot!
9. Don’t give up on sex! Encourage “sexual dates” so that you don’t have to worry about asking all the time and she doesn’t feel guilty about “not being in the mood”. Remember, “foreplay” begins at the beginning of the day with a kind word, a compliment, fixing her a cup of coffee. Gently encourage her. Have plenty of lubrication handy (baby oil works best). You can “teach an old dog new tricks”. Explore web sites and the “erotica” shelf of your local book store together.
10. Read “MEN-opause–The Book for Men”, a short and to-the-point guidebook for the partners of “transitioning women”. Also, buy the following books for her:
1. “The Midlife Bible–A Woman’s Survival Guide”–by Michael Goodman, M.D.
2. “50 Fearless Women” and “Not Your Mother’s Midlife”–by Nancy Alspach and Marilyn Kentz
3. “Men-Opop” by Kathy Kelly et. al, available online at www.menopop.com
10-1/2. Remember, a person can take only so much comforting. Guys usually want to fix it! Woman speak two languages, only one of which is verbal. Pay attention! Listening and understanding may be more valued than “a fix”.
If you have noticed that most of these tips for your surviving your partner’s menopause involved things you can do for her, remember: If she feels better, more secure, healthier and happier, you have a better chance of surviving.