As bad as I feel for women experiencing the symptoms of menopause, my heart goes out even more to the men who have to live with them while they endure “the change of life.” When my husband and I exchanged wedding vows 33 years ago, neither one of us had any idea that I would one day morph into the Tasmanian devil at the onset of menopause. Most of the time, I don’t even recognize myself. I have to give the guy credit for sticking by my side as long as he has. I’m not sure what’s in it for him, other than the occasional back rub and someone to stop him from heading out to the pet store in his torn cargo shorts and t-shirt that reads, “Cat: The Other White Meat.”
Although menopause has changed me, my husband has learned to go with my emotional flow that’s as unpredictable as a summer hurricane. All that matters is that we’re still holding hands during the stormiest of times.
Recently, I pressed him for details about the changes he has witnessed in me over the last few years, and he was a little TOO quick to fill in the blanks……
A Husband’s Perspective: Eight Ways Menopause Has Changed My Wife
1. My wife once had the energy of a toddler after too many cups of Kool-Aid. But these days, sleep is her priority…even over sex and chocolate. She’d stay under the covers all week if I let her. But someone has to cook a meal every now and then…..unless the family doesn’t mind the gastrointestinal apocalypse that would occur if I did the cooking.
2. When she’s not in bear hibernation mode, my wife is a creature of the night. Insomnia often robs her of a decent night’s rest, but rather than squeeze in some valuable writing time, she prefers to stalk Pinterest recipes or shop on Amazon for decorative pillows. How many pillows does one person need? The good news is that I no longer need an alarm system for the house. While I’m snoring in the bedroom, my better half is wide awake and will release a blood curdling war cry if an intruder tries to break in….or if a cockroach skitters across her path.
3. There isn’t a husband on the planet who doesn’t live in fear of the dreaded question, “Do these pants make me look fat?” The first year my wife started menopause, we went through four different scales because she was convinced they were all inaccurate. Her penchant for chocolate and pizza had nothing to do with her weight gain. At least she can blame menopause for her extra pounds. The only excuse I have is beer.
4. We always “spooned” when we went to bed together. It was comforting to feel her body pressed against mine each night before falling asleep. Now that she has night sweats, if I try to cuddle up to her, I’ll likely lose a limb.
5. Dear God, the pendulum mood swings. If I survive these, I can survive anything. Forget Jekyll and Hyde. I’m living with Donna Reed and Attila the Hun. To say that my wife is “a little on edge” is an understatement. If I leave so much as a dirty coffee cup on the counter, her patience level will snap in a nanosecond and I’ll find myself fighting for space on the dog’s bed each night.
6. Ever since the hot flashes started, my wife has become a thermostat nazi. When I come home from work, I feel as if I’ve been magically transported to Alaska. It wouldn’t surprise me if I came home one day to find icicles hanging from the ceiling.
7. My wife and I have always been a passionate couple, but after menopause struck, her sex drive plummeted. I’m not the virile youngster I once was, either, but nowadays in order to get things heated in the bedroom, I need a gallon of wine for my wife and the Jaws of Life for easy access.
8. Forgetfulness comes with age, but menopause can make a woman senile. My wife was one of the most organized people I knew, to the point of being OCD about the house and our family routine. We depended on her to keep us scheduled and sane. If it was up to me, the kids would have gone to school late in their bedroom slippers and have nothing but corn chips in their lunch boxes. But along came menopause, sucking every organizational cell out of my wife’s body and leaving me with a pod person who’s suffering from constant brain fog. Car keys in the fridge. Water bubbling over on the stove. Dog poop on the carpet because SOMEONE forgot to take the fur balls for a walk after lunch.
I think it’s time to book a room for my wife at the Forget-Me-Not Manor for Senile Seniors. Better yet, I’ll take the room for myself, because no one will yell at me for leaving a dirty coffee cup on the counter. And hopefully I’ll get to keep all of my limbs.
(This post originally ran on Menopausal Mother.)
About the author: Marcia Kester Doyle is a native Floridian and a married mother of four children and has one grandchild. She is the author of the humorous blog,Menopausal Mother, where she muses on the good, the bad and the ugly side of menopausal mayhem. Give her a glass of wine and a jar of Nutella and she’ll be your best friend. Marcia is a contributing writer for Huffington Post, In The Powder Room, What The Flicka and HumorOutcasts. Her work has also appeared on Scary Mommy, BlogHer, Lost In Suburbia, The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Midlife Boulevard, Mamapedia, BA50 and The Woven Tale Press among others. She is the author of the humorous book, “Who Stole My Spandex? Midlife Musings From A Middle-Aged MILF” and is an author contributor to four other books. Marcia is a BlogHer Voice Of The Year 2014 recipient and her blog Menopausal Mother won VoiceBoks Top Hilarious Parent Blogger 2014. She was also voted top 25 in the Circle Of Moms Contest 2013. You can also find Marcia’s blog on Facebook and Twitter.