Menopause Tips for You and Your Partner

By Susan LaScala Wood • Published 6/6/2023

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Shannon Chavez, PsyD, CST

smiling couple wrapped in a blanket discussing menopause tips for husbands

Most of us are aware of the challenges menopause can bring — hot flashes, fogginess, fatigue. We’ve been expecting them. What we might not have been expecting, however, are the challenges these, well, challenges can bring — to our relationship.

This is a period when we spend a good part of our time feeling tired, frustrated, moody. We don’t feel like our best self. And that can mean not acting like our best self with the people we love most. Now that doesn’t mean we need to take all the blame when our relationship suffers. It’s something we have to work through together, through a combination of patience and understanding from both sides. So, we’ve assembled some helpful advice to help you along the way. Again, talk to a qualified healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns.

Menopause tips for you: How to take care of yourself during menopause

Share your feelings

Your partner can’t help you work through this challenging time if they don’t truly understand what those challenges are. While it’s easy for everyone to blame “hormones”, they’re only one part of the story. There are some very real emotional and physical symptoms they create, so it’s important to communicate what it feels like to experience a hot flash at work, or to suddenly lose your thoughts, or to not be able to get a good night’s sleep. So, instead of feeling uneasy, your partner can actually empathize with you and offer support.

smiling couple learning how to navigate menopause and marriage together

Don’t give up on love

A decrease in estrogen during menopause combined with the normal effects of aging can cause sexual desire to take a pretty serious hit. And so can your relationship. But while you might not be “in the mood” much these days, there are still plenty of ways to keep the love alive. Make a little extra effort to spend time together doing things you both enjoy, whatever they may be — sushi dinners, live jazz, even just walking the dog. That quality time together can help keep your connection strong.

Practice self-care

Let’s face it, menopause symptoms don’t feel good. So, it’s important to treat yourself to things that do. Practice yoga, eat foods that are healthy and delicious, take a long bath, get a mani-pedi (and not just the “regular” one). The better you feel, the better your partner will feel, too.

Menopause tips for your partner

Learn to recognize the symptoms

The more you know what challenges your partner might be facing, the more you can help her manage them. Though every person may experience different menopause symptoms, here are some to look out for:

  • Hot flashes are a result of increased blood flow to the surface of the skin, causing intense heat to surge through the body without warning.
  • Night sweats are essentially hot flashes that happen at night and can result in extreme perspiration and disrupted sleep.
  • Irritability isn’t necessarily caused by hormone changes, but by the sleep disturbances that accompany them.
  • Painful sex can happen due to vaginal tissue getting thinner and less elastic as well as a decrease in the natural production of lubrication.
  • Weight gain during menopause is a due to a combination of aging and lifestyle as well as hormonal changes that can cause fat to settle in the abdomen.

Don’t take moodiness personally

It’s easy to get defensive when someone is giving you attitude. But before you do, remember, it’s likely that it’s not you, it’s menopause. So rather than escalate the situation by getting upset, try to understand your partner’s feelings and help her work through them.

smiling couple on the couch communicating about menopause and relationships

Talk about it

When your partner is experiencing such big changes, it’s important they don’t become the elephant in the room. Acknowledge these changes as normal and help navigate them. Sometimes that will mean helping to find actual solutions that provide relief. Or it might mean asking what extra things you can do to reduce her anxiety. Or sometimes, it will mean letting her talk and simply listening.

Be patient when it comes to sex

The changes her body is going through can make sex challenging, too. But that doesn’t mean you both can’t have an enjoyable and even active sex life. It can be a time to explore new ways to enjoy sexual pleasure together without goals or expectations. Remember that with any sexual activity, the key is taking your time to allow for adequate physical and emotional arousal and sufficient lubrication (or using a water or silicone-based lubricant), as it can help protect thinner tissues and make sex more comfortable. Having sex more often can also help improve blood flow to the area. Of course, there may be times when she just isn’t in the mood. During these times it’s important to not take it personally and show affection in other ways.

Give her a boost

As hormone levels decrease, her self-esteem may also decrease too. Physical effects of menopause like lower sex drive and increased waistline can take a mental toll. She may feel less attractive and lacking in sex appeal. This is when a little extra effort from you can go a long way. Don’t just tell her she looks attractive, make her feel it. Hold her hand, hug her, let her know she’s desirable — and most of all, be understanding if she’s not in the mood.

The challenges that come with menopause don’t also have to challenge your relationship. By prioritizing communication and understanding, together, you can keep it going strong.

Last Updated 2/15/2024

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