Putting the Men in Menopause – How doing so can lead to new and profound levels of intimacy

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Female Menopause is NOT a ‘Women Only’ rite of passage. Far from it!

The process can -and often does- tear marriages and longstanding relationships apart, destroy families and cast hearts, minds, spirits- and inanimate objects adrift.

Female Menopause -mishandled- can be a nightmare for all parties involved, and women have done their mates and themselves a great disservice by shutting men out of the process and out of the bedroom.

“I’m afraid to go home at the end of the day.”

“I don’t know who this woman is anymore!”

“I want to help my wife but she pushes me away and tells me I can’t possibly understand what she’s going through…”

“My Mom went to bed one night and woke up a totally different woman the next morning, and from that day forward she was never the same. Our relationship just disintegrated. I miss her and my heart still hurts…”

These are just some of the heartbreaking things we’ve heard as we’ve talked with men in Menopause-related crisis, and with each passing day the number of men coming forward seeking help has grown. Some of these men are long- time life partners mourning the demise of their once loving and cherished relationship, and still others are sons, damaged by their mother’s mishandled Menopause experience, still bearing the scars.

For each one of these hurting men, there is a woman in crisis; struggling to make sense of the many overwhelming changes overtaking her.

When one stops to consider, that by today’s estimate, 50 million women are entering Menopause in the United States- and worldwide that figure doubles to an estimated 100 million women, one can easily grasp the importance of this issue.

Too, these statistics address only the process and impact of full- blown Menopause, completely ignoring the 2-12 year shift at the beginning, known as Peri menopause.

The complete transitional journey of Peri menopause/ Menopause takes up almost 2 decades of a woman’s life, from start to finish, and hits a woman and her relationships at a time when life is most stressful, stretched and chaotic: children are growing up and leaving the nest, careers are slowing and/or downsizing, health issues often arise at this stage of life, financial issues are usually present, caregiving for elderly parents has begun,  sexual problems begin to develop because of hormone imbalances within both partners, and affairs often occur at this time due to a fundamental breakdown within the relationship at a very core level.

Add to these statistics the fact that the divorce rate for the over-50 crowd has recently doubled and it becomes clear that a lot of Midlife couples are finding they’ve built their castles on some pretty shaky ground.

The pain is palpable and the toll is high – for both parties.

Given the many and varied symptoms of Menopause: depression, irritability, foggy thinking, insomnia, weight gain, loss of libido, loss of self-esteem, and anxiety, etc. it’s easy to see how difficult it would be to successfully traverse this physical and psychological minefield, especially if the man is left in the dark about the process, or the woman has been blindsided because of minimal general information on the subject.

Unfortunately many men simply choose to ‘write off’ women going through Menopause as being ‘crazy’ or ‘having a midlife crisis’ and oftentimes the process becomes the butt of jokes, which only add fuel to an already smoldering fire.

Men need clear, concise information to better understand not only the physical process of Peri menopause/ Menopause and the symptoms inherent with both, but they need help to better understand the emotional, spiritual and psychological components of the journey as well.

Conversely, women have a crucial role to play in helping their partners, children -and themselves gain the education and information they need along the way so that all parties can emerge from the journey stronger, better and closer because of it.

Menopause provides the perfect opportunity for men and women to come together, drop the masks of pretense and smash through the walls of frustration, fear and hurt; choosing instead to embrace their humanity -and mortality and use this time to hit Life’s ultimate Reset Button in their individual lives and shared relationships.  Most couples miss this profound gift and opportunity!

Men suffer their own form of menopause (Andropause) and often times are left to their own devices: fighting fears of their own mortality, feelings of insecurity and loss of control, and struggling through their own time of upheaval without much help from either society or their Menopausal partner.

Perhaps if we chose to invite our fellas into the fray during this time of profound change and upheaval, instead of locking them out of the process entirely and meeting their attempts to help with anger, disdain or frustration, as couples we’d reach new levels of intimacy – and partnerships more satisfying and enriching than any we’ve known before.

What a blessing it is to share Life together… to be Real with one another.

It IS possible- and Menopause is without a doubt, the perfect catalyst…

Article originally published in the December 2012 Issue of KW Magazine. Written by Carrie E. Pierce

Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years. Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist. She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues.  Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author, Public Speaker and served as co host of the syndicated radio show ‘Magnificent Menopause & Beyond©’. It’s her mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife! Find out more on her website: www.midlifemystique.com

 

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