A Man on the Menopause
Author: Kevin Sheeran
A few years ago, I was writing a book on the thorny subject of online dating for men of my vintage, which I snappily titled ‘The complete guide to successful online dating for older guys.’
As this was to be my ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ take on the world of web dating, I thought I ought to include some short, snappy and simple copy on the subject of the menopause.
Well, when I met my lovely lady via online dating we were both 48 and she would shortly start the menopause. I figured any bloke entering the online dating arena at our age was, sooner or later, likely to come up against the menopause, too.
So, I undertook some online research into the subject and discussed it with many female friends (and often their partners) who were all amazingly honest about the impacts of the menopause on their relationships.
Then I wrote a short piece for my book to give guys like me a bit of a heads up, a little understanding and maybe a nudge to find out more.
Here’s what I wrote, warts and all…
‘If you’re entering the dating arena at the age I did, you will meet women who are approaching (maybe even going through) the menopause.
Symptoms such as randomly appearing periods, hot flushes and night sweats, loss of libido, mood swings, palpitations, headaches, insomnia and various below the waist ‘women’s issues’ are difficult for the poor lady involved. They can be pretty challenging for the bloke too.
Experts say the menopause can last between two and five years, possibly longer. To me, the menopause is one of Mother Nature’s great piss-takes. A woman’s libido drops like a shopping trolley bunged into a canal, while a bloke’s sexual urges can remain rampant for decades to come. Charlie Chaplin had kids into his 80s!
(Mother Nature provides blokes with two other great ironies. Firstly, men can go bald and still sprout hair everywhere but their heads – me included. Secondly, their ears and noses are the only protuberances to continue to grow as they age.)
Now I guess I’m a typical alpha male. I came out of the death throes of my marriage in a sexually ‘ready to get jiggy with it on the hour, every hour’ state. So, being a typical selfish t**t, my biggest problem is the way the menopause impacts a woman’s libido. This often means so much more than her no longer ‘feeling like’ sex. The menopause can lead to issues like vaginal dryness and sometimes even vaginal bleeding as that delicate skin thins. Having sex in those circumstances must be painful.
Emotionally, too, women can feel less like women as important aspects of their sexuality and femininity are lost.
With my lovely lady the turmoil the menopause creates in our relationship can often be much more practical and comical. It usually concerns our choice of duvet, our use of the central heating and whether the car’s air-con is on or off. She has dealt with the menopause with true grit, humour and selfless understanding. She’ll think nothing of getting a hand-held, battery-operated fan out of her handbag and attempting to cool herself down, even in the middle of a busy pub or posh restaurant. I love her all the more for her refusal to be beaten.
So, if you haven’t been through the menopause with a woman, be ready for this eventuality. Research the subject, take time to understand symptoms that can be unique to your lady and learn how you can help her cope with it. Everything from HRT and various natural supplements, to special diets and having fun with lubricants can make a difference. Do remember, though, the solutions differ woman to woman.
Note too that her confidence and self-esteem can take a knock because of the menopause and loss of libido. Your confidence and self-esteem can also be impacted because you’ll no longer feel desired. It can be a very difficult time for even the most loving couples, so talk honestly and work out ways that both of you can cope with it – time, patience, understanding and care all go a long way.’
Don’t be fooled by the fooling, I take this subject seriously
You can clearly see that what I’ve written has, in places, got its tongue firmly in its cheek. As I say in my dating book, ‘this is not Debrett’s.’
But I do take the subject of the menopause seriously because not only is my lovely lady still going through some symptoms of it, I’m dad to two beautiful, clever, sassy and grown up daughters (aged 30 and 29), plus I’m a sort of step-dad to two more (age 28 and 25), and their future wellbeing matters a great deal to me.
So I’d like to see two things: better therapies to help all my girls and their contemporaries through the menopause and better understanding of the menopause by the men they share their lives with.
The old adage is true. If men suffered from periods or the menopause both would have been cured long ago.
About the Author
Kevin Sheeran is a professional copy and content writer and novelist.