Early menopause, or going through premature ovarian failure isn’t just an individual process. It also affects those around you, especially your partner. In addition, in turn, his reaction may have an enormous effect on you.
Dealing with your partner, and his dealing with you, is a very special, sometimes very helpful, sometimes very difficult, element in coping with premature ovarian failure (POF) or early menopause (EM). Even if your husband is extremely supportive, you may find that early menopause puts new stresses on your relationship.
You may feel guilty because of your condition — or angry because he cant fathom how youre feeling. You may worry that he wont love you any more. He might not understand why youre crying so much, or where the anger and feeling of loss is coming from. You both may feel confused, concerned, and crazed by the change in your life.
In many ways, POF or early menopause becomes another partner in your relationship, a new factor that you — and he — arent used to dealing with. When you go through such a major a transition, by necessity, your partner goes through it too, even though its not happening to him personally. Therefore, it is important to understand what you may confront in your relationship and how to deal with the changes that your change is causing.
How To Communicate what Youre Going Through
Teach him about POF or early menopause. If your partner doesnt know what your body is going through and how it is affecting your moods and psyche, he wont be able to give you the support and understanding you vitally need in this time. Give him books to read, direct him to web sites, such as this one, so he can truly understand what this condition is and how it affects your body and emotions.
Give your partner concrete suggestions for helping you cope. You know better than he what you need. Tell him. If you are having terrible night sweats and need to have a window open at night, explain that this will help you get a least a little sleep.
If you need a hug, need to be reassured that you are still a sexy woman, be honest and let him know. Often your husband wants to do the right thing to help you out, but doesnt know what it is that he should do. Be explicit and youll both be happier for it.
He Has Feelings Too
Be sure he doesnt feel that he is being lost in the shuffle. Sometimes when you are going through this, you are so wrapped up on yourself, your sense of loss or traumatic change, that you forget that your partner has needs and feelings too. Youre just not as emotionally available as you used to be, which can cause stresses in your relationship. Therefore, its important to reassure him and let him know that you still care.
In any relationship, there comes a time when one person is more needy than the other and when youre going through early menopause, youre that person. Nevertheless, dont forget that your husband has needs and emotions as well — and he may be feeling somewhat rocked by the change in you, as you are. Again, talk to him and be sure that he doesnt feel neglected.
Keep him aware of your mood changes or physical symptoms so they dont surprise him. If you feel yourself beginning to spin out of control into a teary episode or a temperamental rage, let him know when you first get the signal. This will enable him to know what to do — and, more importantly, what not to do. For example, if you feel nerves getting shot and your stress levels rise, give him a warning. This way you wont wind up in an argument that starts for no real reason other than your hormonal symptoms.
Guilt and Your Partner
Work as a team in exploring alternative methods of having a child. If you want to pursue the options open to you in having a family, go over them with your partner. For example, if you are considering donor eggs, be sure he too understands what is involved — and make an appointment for both of you to go to a fertility clinic to explore this. If adoption seems like the right thing for you, you can both go to agency open houses.
If you feel that your relationship is suffering a great deal, consider couples counseling. Often a time of change rocks even the most stable relationship. If you think that your premature menopause is causing a problem you cant work through on your own, it may make sense to see a family therapist to give you the means to handle it.
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