What’s The Connection Between Menopause And Anger Toward Husbands?
By: Darby Faubion
Updated February 11, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Kelly L. Burns, MA, LPC, ATR-P
For some couples, menopause and anger toward husbands seem to go together. This may make it hard for the husband to be supportive, and it certainly isn't easy for the woman either. Not every menopausal woman is angry, but for those who are, life can be very difficult. The factors involved can't always be erased, but there are things you can do to make this time easier for both of you. Here's a glimpse into why this happens and what you can do about it.
Why Is She So Angry?
If you've been a supportive husband throughout your marriage, you may be puzzled when your wife goes through menopause. Suddenly, she may not accept your kindness. She may argue with you needlessly. Maybe you feel she's unfair to you. The truth is that there are some very good reasons for her to feel angry, and many of them probably have little to do with you. The following are a few of the most common anger triggers for menopausal women.
Few Understand Her Plight
People talk about menopause now more than they did 50 years ago. Yet still, many people don't know much about it unless they've experienced it. When you feel no one understands what you're going through, it might make you irritable at any age.
If you do a little reading and think you understand it perfectly, you might make her angry in another way. Interpreting everything she says, does, and feels as a sign of menopause invalidates her as a complex human person. Even though she may be experiencing menopause symptoms, she wants you to remember that, in most ways, she's still the same person she was before it started.
Her Periods Are Unpredictable
At first, the only problem might be changes in her period, but that can be very distressing. She no longer knows when to expect her period because it may not be regular anymore. It may be heavier or lighter than usual. It may last longer or shorter than usual. She may go for six months without a period and then have another one. The unpredictability can make her feel she no longer has any control over her own body.
Hot flashes, night sweats, and chills can make her feel very uncomfortable all day and all night. These symptoms may be partly relieved with hormone replacement therapy or natural remedies. However, many women still have them, even if the treatment does reduce their severity.
Her Body is Changing in Unpredictable Ways
The reasons behind the discomforts listed above like night sweats and chills are due to a woman's body going through its various changes during the stage of life. The woman's body is preparing for menstruation cycles to end, which can cause fluctuations in weight. These fluctuations can include unpredictable gains or losses. These weight changes may be related to the fact that her pre-menopausal eating habits are also changing. In other words, a woman going through menopause may be feeling like her body is running at 100 miles an hour while she's standing perfectly still.
Sex May Be More Difficult
There are a couple of reasons why she may be having trouble with sex. First, her vagina may get drier. That can lead to painful or uncomfortable intercourse. She may have vaginal infections more often. And, her sex drive may decrease.
Bladder Control May Become A Problem
During menopause, many women begin to have problems with urinary incontinence. They try to exercise, they sneeze or cough, or they have a good laugh, and suddenly they're leaking urine. At other times, they may have a hard time getting to the bathroom in time. They may have bladder infections more often, too. All this is not only uncomfortable, but may also be deeply humiliating.
She Isn't Sleeping Well
Around the time menopause hits, women can start having trouble sleeping. They may have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up during the night. If they're having night sweats, that can wake them up as well. And, if the sweating is profuse, they have to change the bed before they can go back to sleep. The lack of adequate sleep can make them feel exhausted and unhappy.
She's Dealing With Changing Moods
Menopause is often associated with moodiness, and there is some truth in that. The reason that happens is unclear. The exhaustion, the stress of a changing family, and just dealing with all the symptoms of menopause can all affect her mood.
Also, her body is going through a major chemical change. Her estrogen is diminishing. That's significant in terms of her mood because estrogen controls the production of serotonin in the brain. If her serotonin is decreased, she's probably going to find it hard to be in a good mood all the time. When you think about it, it is no surprise that menopause can affect moods.
You're Getting Older Too
Unless you're much younger than your wife, you may be going through some changes yourself. You may be at an age when you realize you have more years behind you than ahead of you. You may also notice changes in your physical body as well. Trips to the bathroom may become more frequent as other symptoms of aging like greying hair or a sudden need for prescription reading glasses may be happening at this time in your life as well.
What does all this have to do with her menopausal anger? Maybe nothing except that if you already feel bad about yourself and your life, it may be harder for you to have the emotional stability to be there for her.
What Can You Do?
You may want to fix everything for her, but you won't be able to get rid of all the problems she's facing completely. You may not be able to keep her from being angry from time to time either. But there are ways you can help.
The most important thing you can do if your wife is going through menopause is to be compassionate. Try to imagine how you would feel if these things were happening to you. Keep doing kind things for her to show her you still care. If you're committed to being a compassionate partner, the rest of these tips will come more easily.
Make It Easy For Her To Talk
Your wife may be carrying around a lot of uncomfortable emotions during menopause. And, if she feels you won't understand, she might not even try to share them with you. But, hiding strong feelings typically doesn't result in a better relationship.
So, 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 she comes to you, make time to really pay attention to what she has to say. Engage with her on a deep, personal level.
Reduce Her Sexual Discomfort
Your sexual relationship doesn't have to cause arguments or disagreements. Go with her to a doctor to learn ways to make it easier for both of you. Accept that sex might not happen as often as before. Show your affection in other ways, like hugging, kissing, or even just holding her hand during a movie.
Exercise With Her
Telling your wife that she needs to exercise will just make her angrier, in most cases. Yet, exercise will help reduce the increased risk of heart disease that comes with menopause. It will also make her feel better about herself. And, if you do it with her, she'll feel better about you, too. Do some low-impact cardio together, take a Sunday hike, or bicycle together to the park. Avoid being too competitive or judgmental. Instead, think of it as a way to have fun with her.
Encourage Her To Engage In Creative Activities
Your wife may feel angry during menopause, no matter what you do or what she does. However, if she gets involved in a creative activity, she can channel that anger into something positive. Encourage her to take up a creative hobby like writing, painting, or gardening. Let her use these outlets to get her angry feelings out. Then, show your admiration for her work on each project.
Take Care Of Yourself Better
During this difficult time, staying healthy can help you deal with any anger that comes up between you. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and get enough sleep. Practice mindfulness meditation so you can reduce the effect of any turmoil in the household. When you're at your best, you'll be able to support her more easily.
If you are struggling to deal with your partner’s anger, and all your efforts seem wasted, it might be time to seek therapy. Talking to a couples therapist can help you both understand each other better. Your therapist can help you learn to make better choices in the way you treat each other. They can guide you as you discover new ways to interact. Through the process, her anger may eventually diminish, and your relationship may blossom like never before.
It is very common for relationships to grow 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 sexual aversion that commonly occurs during menopause, as well as orgasm difficulties.
You can talk to a counselor together easily through BetterHelp for online therapy. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can start on the path to a happier, more fulfilling marriage. With BetterHelp, you don't have to worry about sitting in traffic or taking time out of your day to drive to an appointment. You and your partner can access BetterHelp from the comfort and privacy of your own homes. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
“Shawn has helped me gain a positive perspective on my life and change my focus from shortcomings or failures to my strengths and achievements. He really examines my problems carefully and provided worksheets to help me identify my goals and triggers for my anger issues. This greatly helped me to increase self-awareness.”
“Karen has helped me to be able to look outside the box to find how to find possible solutions to my sex life with my wife. A most insightful approach which I had partly recognized before but not taken seriously or realized just how I felt about it.”
The physical and emotional changes that occur during menopause can feel quite frustrating, especially when you feel anger toward loved ones. It's important to remember that you are not alone. Knowing what to expect and when to seek help are important. With the right tools, you and your partner can move forward through menopause, and enjoy a fulfilling, lasting relationship.
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