How can menopause help you develop more satisfying friendships?

Have you ever thought about the ‘reason’ why people enter and leave your life – sometimes to your regret and other times to your relief?  Some people will be your friend/partner/lover/spouse forever, some are there to share a specific time in your life, while others will never make the grade past the time it takes to organize the school raffle.

Perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause, may become your time for sorting, sifting and letting go of people whose time came and went but are still in your life.

Why bother to do this? So you can be clear and purposeful about how you choose to spend your time and energy and get the most out of your life. If you examine your relationships and take the action that’s right for you now, you’ll enjoy a greater level of satisfaction and peace.

Of course, this may not be easy to do. You may have an ‘emotional charge’ around letting go or saying good bye – to anyone! You may be married to this person and a split seems like too much effort and money. Maybe you see the end of any friendship as a failure and you’re avoiding dealing with it directly. Maybe you feel loyalty to someone who was there for you during a difficult time, but now feel a disturbing disconnect and a dissatisfaction with this relationship. It doesn’t feel good when you talk or get together.

There is an extremely powerful concept that, if you accept it as yours, you can use it to release guilt, remorse and resentment. You can transform your feelings into gratitude towards every person in your life!

Through the personal growth work I’ve done over the past several years, I’ve come to believe that we ‘attract’ everyone who comes into our lives and that each of those people arrives to teach us something about ourselves.

I released a long-standing friendship several years ago. She and I had bonded as divorced mothers of small children. We had life challenges in common – how to recover after the separation when everything went into a downward spiral, where to spend the Holidays when your kids are with the ex and your family is miles away, how to meet a potential life partner without going to bars.

After each of us got married again, we found that we had little motivation to get together other than for gift-giving opportunities like birthdays and Christmas. It took me a few years to realize that purpose and satisfaction had gone out of this relationship, while feelings of irritation and having to be careful not to offend had crept in. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to spend my time on more nourishing friendships, but I felt sad turning away from someone who had once been important to me.

My sister comforted me with an old saying ‘People come into your life for a reason, a season or for life.’ My former friend and I supported one another during difficult stages in both our lives and when they were over we had little in common – certainly not enough to sustain a life-long mutually nurturing friendship.

Even though it’s over, I am truly grateful for our friendship. I sometimes send her an energetic hug and I continue to wish her the best.

Today my time is spent with my husband, a few old friends and family, and with new friends who are like-minded.  I have satisfying friendships based not on need, but on choice, mutual interests, admiration and respect. I like it this way.

Please comment and share!

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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)

  1. Elton Ciafardoni
    7 years ago

    I like the articles on your website. I totally agree with your opinion here and I feel that you are on the right course.

  2. Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Just because that person is far away, or not on the same path as you anymore why must you let them go? I’m having trouble understanding the whole menopause actions, and moods at this time. Have you thought of how hard it is to be on the other end? To feel worthless and like your company isn’t as pleasant as someone elses whom can ‘relate’ to current problems. You try be there for them, support them, but they don’t want to talk to anyone. Is this really fair? The fact you try stick around through this abuse and tough time should mean something of how much you care for a friendship to stay together. I’m 18, and my older friend is going through the early stages of menopause. Or should I say old friend. I see them around regularly and I can’t say or do anything to help or it may trigger them off. I have no idea what to do. Do you have any advice?

    • Wendy Vineyard
      5 years ago

      Good observations! Every situation is unique. I have a friend who I’ve seen in person twice during the past 23 years and we continue to be good friends by telephone and e-mail. Each time we talk, it’s like no time has passed between calls. We communicate openly because we respect each other and we feel ‘safe’ to be ourselves. We can talk about anything. Each of us knows that whatever we say, we’re coming from a place of love and wanting the best for the other person.

      Your ‘old’ friend may need the companionship of other women her age who ‘get’ what she’s going through in order to help reduce her feelings of fear and confusion about how menopause is affecting her life. Her reaction to you is strictly about her – not you. She may have some anger and bitterness that her life is not what she wants it to be right now and being around you reminds her of what she once had.

      Menopause is more than a physical event. It’s a time of transformation and an opportunity to examine your life and see if it’s really what you want, or if you need to make changes – sometimes drastic ones. Many women feel overwhelmed by unresolved emotions from past traumas and events.That’s why I have this website, to help women body, mind and soul to turn their menopause experience into the best time of their lives!

      The only ‘energies’ that can overcome any situation are love and forgiveness. And you don’t have to let go of the friendship if you still see value in it. However, I’m concerned that you feel ‘abuse’ from your friend. No one deserves to be abused – for any reason. You may need to pull away from this friend for awhile until she gets herself on an even keel.

      To keep the friendship alive, could you call her and tell her something like this: “Hi Cathy. I’m calling to see how you’re doing because I’ve been thinking about you and all you mean to me and I want you to know I care about you.” It’s taking a risk – being vulnerable – but you’re giving her a gift of a friend who cares. That’s worth a lot! If it doesn’t turn out like you hoped, remember that you cannot help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. She has to take care of herself. And so do you.

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