By Womaness Editors 2-Minute Read
“Every man is going to be impacted by menopause, whether it be through partners, colleagues, family, or friends,” says this founder of Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing. “So it’s important that this is not just a women's issue.”
We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we asked for his tips for men (or any partner!) who wants to better understand and support the menopause transition when it becomes a part of their lives.
“Because as a partner, you can be the rock during her experience,” says Lee. Here’s how.
“Every man is going to be impacted by menopause, whether it be through partners, colleagues, family, or friends, so it’s important that this is not just a women's issue.”
1. Be curious & do your research.
Menopause can be an intimidating and confusing time for a woman. In fact, she could even struggle to articulate the experience (especially as menopause is a topic that has historically been underdiscussed). To support her, it's important to be curious. “We often know our partners better than we know ourselves,” says Lee. “If you see your partner's emotional balance being different, use that self-awareness to notice the differences and be curious about what is going on.” Don't make assumptions. Familiarize yourself with the potential physical and emotional aspects associated with menopause. This will help you have more compassion for what your partner may be going through.
2. Create opportunities for communication.
Encourage open and honest communication about menopause. Be a reliable sounding board for her concerns. Ask her open-ended questions, then sit and listen without judgment. Your aim is not to try to “fix” anything, but to have more empathy and compassion for what she may be going through.
3. Recognize the impact on her self-esteem.
It's smart to be aware that she’s facing both societal taboos and changes in her body that can lead to a dip in self-esteem. “It's hard because there's stigma that entering perimenopause equals ‘old,’” says Lee. “Many women say, ‘I don't want to be labeled old…I've still got the energy and capability!’ And they don’t want to suddenly feel invisible.” Yet admitting she’s in this stage might feel (unnecessarily) shameful. And when you add in symptoms like lower libido, weight gain, brain fog, and changing skin and hair? It’s tough. Actively reaffirming your partner's worth, beauty, and desirability can go a long way.
4. Don’t make it personal.
On the other hand, it’s important to understand that menopause is not a reflection of your own attractiveness as a partner. It is not about something you have or haven’t done. Avoid personalizing the changes you observe in your relationship. “It's not that suddenly the desire's dropped for you or that she hates you because a few cross words have passed,” says Lee. “It's actually that she's going through a challenging time hormonally.” Again, doing research and understanding menopause’s impact can help you feel more confident.
5. Celebrate aging together.
This stage of life can be a true opportunity to grow stronger together. By approaching menopause as a shared journey, you can find new ways to support and enjoy each other's company. Look for the humor and joy that can emerge from navigating the challenges (think #menopositivity!) and celebrate all the wisdom and skills that come with age. She deserves it—and so do you.
Learn more about Lee Chambers' advocacy for menopause education and support in the workplace and work in the gender equity field at leechambers.org.