What's The Connection Between Menopause And Anger Toward Husbands?

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated February 23, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

During menopause, a person may experience changes to their body, including physical and emotional changes. Many symptoms of menopause range from mild to severe. For some couples, menopause and feelings of anger may occur together. Being the target of anger can be difficult, especially if you're trying to support your wife through a stressful time in her life. 

Not everyone who goes through menopause becomes angry. However, there may be a connection between menopause and anger toward husbands. The factors involved may not always be treatable, but there are steps you can take to make this time easier for both of you. Learning about menopause and its treatments may be one method.

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Are you navigating menopausal anger?

The connection between menopause and anger

Menopause is a period in a person's life in which their menstrual cycle stops. Before this, a transitional period known as perimenopause occurs. Perimenopause and menopause are both part of a natural process that begins with changing hormone levels in the body. Perimenopause symptoms manifest as the ovaries slowly lose their function. Eventually, the ovaries stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone and can no longer fertilize eggs. For this reason, those who have gone through menopause cannot get pregnant. Many adults go through this phase when they're between 45 to 55 years of age. However, it may happen before or after this period.

Besides physical menopausal symptoms, there may be emotional ones, like anger. Anger could be elevated during menopause because of the hormonal changes happening in the body. It may occur suddenly and without warning. 

A change in emotional states can feel difficult for the person experiencing the symptoms and those around them. 

Making lifestyle changes, developing healthy habits, and having patience can, in some cases, make a huge difference on the effects of anger during menopause, in addition to potentially strengthening the relationship between spouses.

Why is my wife so angry at me?

If you've been a supportive spouse throughout your marriage, you may be puzzled when your wife goes through menopause. Suddenly, she may not accept your kindness, begin to argue with you, or have consistent angry outbursts. Maybe you feel she's unfair to you or causing you unnecessary suffering. 

There may be reasons for your wife to feel angry, and some may have to do with the physical problems and emotional changes happening to her body due to other menopause symptoms. The following are a few of the most common causes of angry feelings for menopausal individuals.

1. She may feel misunderstood or unheard

Menopause may be better understood than it was years ago. However, people may not know much about it unless they've experienced it. When someone feels no one understands what they're going through, it could make them irritable. 

Although you can read about menopause to understand it more, your wife may feel angry if you assume everything she says or does is a result of this phase they're going through. It isn’t possible to perform a meta analysis of every reason your wife is exhibiting a certain behavior without understanding their perspective; trying to do so may anger her further. 

Assumptions can invalidate your wife as a complex human. This can put a strain on communication, which has been seen as one of the leading causes of higher divorce rates. Even though she may be experiencing menopause symptoms, she may still experience outside stressors or other emotions. 

2. She has unpredictable menstrual cycles

Menopause can take years to complete. Your wife may have irregular periods or hormonal surges. She may not know when to expect their period because it may not be regular anymore. It could be heavier or lighter than usual or last for more or less time. 

She may go for six months without a period and then have another one out of nowhere. This unpredictability could make her feel she no longer has any control over her body, which might cause anger. 

3. She's uncomfortable 

Hot flashes, night sweats, and chills can make your partner uncomfortable throughout the day and night. These symptoms may be partially relieved with hormone therapy or natural remedies. However, many still have them, even if the treatment reduces their severity.

4. Her body is changing in unpredictable ways

Since menopause is the body's way of preparing for its menstruation cycles to end, it may go through various changes simultaneously. Night sweats and chills can be adverse effects of these changes.  

Menopause can also change how at-risk a person is to certain conditions. For example, menopause can lower the risk of breast cancer and raise the risk of heart disease

Another standard change is that a person’s weight may fluctuate wildly, which may include unpredictable gains or losses. These weight changes could be related to one's pre-menopausal eating habits which are also changing. 

Someone going through menopause may feel like their body is running at 100 miles an hour while standing perfectly still. They might also feel ashamed or upset about the changes in their body. 

5. During menopause, sex may be more difficult

Difficulties with sex can put a strain on a relationship. Your wife may experience a few changes related to sex. They may experience vaginal dryness, leading to painful or uncomfortable intercourse. They may also have vaginal infections more often, and their sex drive may decrease.

Additionally, uncomfortable physical symptoms may make sex feel like the last thing someone wants to partake in. Discussing symptoms with a medical professional could be beneficial in solving this issue, alongside personal lubricant and patience. 

6. Bladder control may be a problem

During menopause, many individuals experience urinary incontinence. They might try to exercise, let out a sneeze or cough, or have a good laugh, and suddenly they're leaking urine. 

At other times, they may have difficulty getting to the bathroom in time. They may have bladder infections more often, too. It may feel embarrassing or out of control for the person experiencing it. 

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7. They aren't sleeping well

Around the time menopause hits, people can start having trouble sleeping or experiencing insomnia. They may have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up during the night. If they're having night sweats, that could also wake them up. 

If the sweating is profuse, they may need to change the bed before they can go back to sleep. The lack of adequate sleep can make them feel exhausted and unhappy, and they may take those feelings out on those closest to them.

8. They’re dealing with changing moods

Menopause is often associated with moodiness. The exhaustion, the stress of a changing family, and experiencing the symptoms of menopause can all affect someone's mood. 

The body is also going through a significant chemical change. Estrogen levels are diminishing, which is significant in terms of mood because estrogen controls the production of serotonin in the brain. If serotonin levels decrease, it can lead to depression, sleep problems, anxiety, and other issues. It's possible in some cases to seek treatment for these issues with therapy or medication (like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.)

What can you do?

You may want to fix everything for your wife. However, there may not be a cure for every symptom she's experiencing. Although anger can occur, there are a few ways you can try to support her. 

1. Show compassion

Though it may be hard with her rage directed at you, try to be compassionate with your wife. Imagine how you would feel if these things were happening to you. Using this information, you may be able to use empathy to connect with your partner.  

Keep doing loving activities to show her you care. If you're committed to being compassionate, the rest of the tips on this list may feel simple to you. 

2. Allow her the space to open up

Your wife may be carrying around uncomfortable emotions during menopause. If she feels you won't understand, she might not try to tell you. However, studies show that suppressing emotions can increase physical pain and other distressing symptoms.

Ask her how she's feeling, then listen carefully. Summarize what she said and ask if that's right. Tell her you're there for her in each situation she describes. When your partner comes to you, pay attention to what she says. Engage with her on a deep, personal level.

3. Reduce sexual discomfort

Your sexual relationship doesn't have to cause arguments or disagreements. Go with her to a doctor to learn how to make it easier for you both. When it comes to sex after menopause, accept that sex might not happen as often as before. Show your affection in other ways, like hugging, kissing, or even holding her hand during a movie.

If your partner wants to try sexual intercourse, consider using new toys or methods of improving physical comfort. You might buy a lubricant or special condom or experiment with new sexual activity that you haven't tried yet. 

4. Exercise together

Exercise may help you and your wife stay healthy. It may also help your wife feel healthier, have more energy, and increase their feel-good emotions

If you exercise with your partner, it may increase their positive feelings toward you. Try low-impact cardio together, take a Sunday hike, or bicycle together to the park. You can also invite their friends along or anyone they feel comfortable with. Avoid being too competitive or judgmental. Instead, think of it as a way to have fun and bond. 

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Are you navigating menopausal anger?

5. Encourage her to engage in creative activities or support groups

Getting involved in a creative activity may help someone channel anger into something more positive. Additionally, research shows that art therapy or art can benefit older women experiencing depression or mood changes. Encourage your wife to take up a creative hobby relating to whatever her interests are, like writing, painting, or gardening. 

You may also encourage her to talk about their experiences with other women, men, or people of any gender. Let her use these outlets to get any angry feelings out. Then, show your admiration for her work on each project or progress in her support groups. 

6. Take care of yourself and stay healthy

During this challenging time, staying healthy can help you cope with any anger that comes up for you. Eat nutritious foods, exercise, practice self-care, and get enough sleep. 

If you need help physically or mentally, seek the support of a professional. When you're at your healthiest, you might be able to better support your partner.

7. Connect with a professional

Relationships with partners and families may become strained during menopause. As a result, many turn to couples therapy to work through the issues that arise. According to the North American Menopause Society, it is typical for couples to seek sex therapy when menopause occurs. The organization states that couples' sex therapy has a high success rate of improving the sexual aversion that commonly occurs during menopause, as well as orgasm difficulties.

Online counseling for support

You might try online counseling if your partner feels too uncomfortable to leave home or commit to a systematic review of your relationship in person. Online therapy can be a viable option for individuals and couples, regardless of the obstacles. One study examined the efficacy of online therapy for couples experiencing relationship issues. Couples found success, responding well to teletherapy, and "view(ed) their experiences very similarly to that of traditional therapy." 

If you are struggling to cope with your partner's anger, and all your efforts seem wasted, it might be time to seek therapy. Talking to a couple's therapist can help you learn up-to-date research-based methods to deal with conflict. You can talk to a counselor online through a platform such as BetterHelp for individuals or Regain for couples. 

Takeaway

The physical and emotional changes that occur during menopause can feel frustrating, especially if your partner has been experiencing anger. Knowing what to expect during this time and reaching out for help when needed can help you maintain a healthier relationship with your spouse and cope more effectively with any changes. 

If you're looking for professional support, consider contacting a counselor to discuss your mental health needs.

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