Rachel Greenwald, dating coach and author of Why He Didn’t Call You Back: 1,000 Guys Reveal What They Really Thought About You After Your Date, has helped 712 couples find love. Now, she’s ready to take on the MORE community. Have a dating question for Rachel? Submit it here.
This is an embarrassing question, but since you advise mature women, I bet you hear this quite often. I am in the throes of menopause and it has created havoc on my dating life. I am single and 50 years old, and similar to many women my age, I am going through (what my mother still calls) “the change.” In my case, this includes hot flashes, night sweats, occasional memory lapse, and moodiness. Not exactly turn-ons for single men! I can control some of the symptoms if I avoid major stressors, but you can bet dating is a major stressor. How can I go on dates when I might suddenly have a hot flash during dinner, or god forbid, spend the night with someone and wake up at 4:00am with the bed drenched from my sweat? And once I forgot where I was supposed to meet my date and ended up at the wrong place, so he thought I stood him up. Should I give up dating for a few years and start again after all this menopause stuff is over? I am divorced from an abusive and controlling man and have continued to meet the wrong men ever since, so maybe I’m not missing out on much anyway.
Dear Menopause Mary,
Okay, menopause isn’t sexy. You lose control over your body responses at times and may experience problems such as hot flashes, memory loss, moodiness, and sleep deprivation. But hopefully these symptoms aren’t too frequent during the hours you’re actually on a date, and with experience, you will be able to navigate this temporary terrain. If you feel a hot flash coming and you’re on a first date, excuse yourself and go to the Ladies Room for a few minutes (bring a mini-fan in your purse!) until it passes. Or stay at the table and come up with a joke about what’s happening: “There’s so much heat between us that I can’t stop sweating!” A kind and understanding man will feel empathy for you and not be turned off. Think of it as a personality test—the good guys will pass the test.
Also remember that you are not alone: every woman goes through this process, so most men in your age group have been in this situation before. And men have their own dating challenges now too: I receive emails from men over 40 who can’t bike ride on a date because of prostate issues, emails from men over 50 who require Viagra before being intimate with their date, and many other male issues that happen much younger than you’d guess. Your story isn’t just about menopause and dating: it’s about reality and dating after 40. Please know that you’re in good company and it’s happening on both sides of the table!
This is certainly not to diminish the very real issues with dating and menopause , but I am going out on a limb here to predict that your primary issue is not actually the menopause symptoms. If you truly believed in your heart there is someone wonderful out there for you, I think you’d forge ahead despite the awkward body responses you are experiencing. Even though the obstacles are valid, menopause wouldn’t stop someone who really wanted to find love. I think that deep down you are afraid to date because of the past experiences with your abusive husband followed by some bad dates or relationships. Of course this is understandable, but I want you to think hard about whether your physical symptoms are merely an excuse to opt out of dating right now?