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The Effects of Menopause On Relationships
Do you ever think about the effects of menopause on your relationships? How do rapid mood swings, irritability, and other emotional symptoms affect your loved ones? What impact does lack of motivation and overwhelming fatigue have on your family obligations?
You may have a husband or partner and children who haven’t left home yet. You were always there for them.
Now you feel too tired, depressed, or irritated to do what you normally do to maintain your family’s well-being. Your loved ones feel confused. They don’t understand what is happening.
You too feel miserable, because you feel powerless to control these emotions. Yet it is obvious that your loved ones are suffering with you.
For couples, the effects of menopause can have far-reaching consequences.
The emotional and physical changes that occur in your body can have a significant effect on your intimate relationship.
Physical symptoms of menopause such as hair loss, dry skin or the development of acne; and weight gain, make many women embarrassed about their appearance, even if it was not the case before.
Women who already suffer from self-esteem issues are greatly affected and this is reflected in the way they approach intimacy issues. Menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and loss of libido can significantly affect the intimate relationship.
If these changes are not understood and processed, communication breaks down; and silence and confusion take over, leaving the relationship at risk of infidelity, separation or divorce.
And, if that weren’t enough, menopause comes at a time in a woman’s life when family structures are changing.
Children become young adults, while parents age. Most likely, you will experience grief over the death of a relative during this phase.
This is also a time when you may have to deal with the prospects of retirement. All of these concerns can contribute to stress and additional strain on your relationships.
How to Protect Your Relationships During Menopause
There is a way to protect your relationships from the effects of menopause.
Small adjustments in your overall outlook and daily routine should help you navigate the change in life with your relationships intact.
Here are some suggestions to help you make these adjustments:
- Stay connected with your family and friends. When you feel tired, irritable or depressed, the temptation is great to withdraw from your loved ones. Do not do it! Go the extra mile to make sure you have time together, even when you don’t feel up to it.
- When the life change is over, as it will be, and as you move into your later years, friends and family will become more important. That’s when you’ll be happy to have them by your side.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. With menopause comes an increased risk of debilitating and life-threatening diseases, such as osteoporosis and heart disease. Poor health can only weigh more on your relationships. A nutritious and balanced diet, combined with exercise, will reduce the risk of disease and its associated burden.
- And, in addition to staying fit and healthy, exercising or other physical activity can be a great way to keep in touch with loved ones or build new relationships.
- Avoid alcohol or tranquilizers. Alcohol and tranquilizers are both depressants. If you are going through troubling mood swings or bouts of depression, alcohol and/or tranquilizers may just make it worse or create other side effects.
- Engage in productive activity. Getting involved in religious or charitable work, a sporting activity, or a hobby, provides a sense of self-worth and accomplishment. It will make you feel better about yourself and improve the way you interact with others, including family and friends.
- Find your inner strength. Learn and practice calming techniques such as yoga and meditation. Read a book. Find spiritual strength in prayer. Calming activities will help you maintain emotional balance and control mood swings.
- Write it. Keeping a journal or diary will allow you to write down your thoughts, problems, plans, or anything else that comes to mind. This will help you gain perspective on your situation and reduce your emotional stress.
Finally, keep in mind that what you are going through is a phase. It will take a few years, but it will pass.
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