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Can Menopause Cause Relationship Breakdown?

Millions of women across the UK experience symptoms of the menopause every day, but unfortunately we still don’t fully understand all of the physical, emotional and mental effects it may have.

There does however, seem to be a correlation between menopause and divorce rates. Before the recent changes to the law, divorce solicitors often found that women were citing symptoms of menopause as the reason for the breakdown of their marriage.

Additionally, the many symptoms of menopause have been known to have drastic impacts on the state of relationships. Causing an increase in disputes, a lack of understanding, reduced physical intimacy, poor communication and eventually the breakdown of a relationship.

In the following article we will discuss…

  • How does the menopause reduce intimacy in a relationship?
  • The effect of menopause as on a woman’s mental health
  • Common symptoms of menopause
  • How does the menopause effect relationships?
  • Can menopause lead to divorce?
  • Can menopause lead to anger towards husbands?
  • Are affairs more common during menopause?

How does the menopause reduce intimacy in a relationship

One of the biggest concerns both men and women have when it comes to menopause is the loss of physical intimacy.

Many women experience dryness in the vaginal area as well as an increase in infections that can make sexual activities more painful. Additionally, menopause causes a decreased libido which can make physical intimacy unappealing.

When this occurs, it can be confusing for both men and women in a relationship and reduce the amount of intimacy shared between the two. This can be incredibly stressful and hard to understand. 

The effect of menopause as on a woman’s mental health

As well as the physical effects of the menopause, it can have a big impact on mental health. Menopause has been known to cause anxiety, depression, trouble remembering things, and even a loss of concentration.

These symptoms can be difficult to manage and accept. Reducing the women’s confidence in herself and her abilities, particularly if she is unaware that it is menopause that is causing these effects.

What are the common symptoms of menopause?

In the time leading up to menopause, there are many symptoms that women experience that may encourage the relationship to breakdown. Perimenopause can cause mood swings, depression, and trouble sleeping, to name just a few of the many symptoms that may be experienced.

All of these things can lead to changes in the relationship dynamic. Reduced communication, confusion, and increased irritation can be the catalysis that causes a relationship to break down.

Other common menopause symptoms include…

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Decreased libido
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular periods
  • Hot flashes
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal problems
  • Increased chances of urinary infections
  • Decreased fertility
  • Painful intercourse

How does the menopause effect relationships?

Menopause and the time leading up to it, perimenopause, can leave relationships feeling strained.

The symptoms of menopause can make people more irritant, less likely to communicate, and confused. It may highlight current issues within the relationship and make them more challenging, or cause both individuals to feel isolated.

Many feel like they are quick to anger during the menopause and find there are more disputes within the relationship as both parties try to navigate through the new dynamic.

This increase in conflict within the relationship can grind at the intimacy and emotional connections that have been built. Without effective communication and understanding, this can negatively impact the whole relationship.

Can menopause lead to divorce?

A large percentage of women who initiate divorce are over 40 years old, the same age at which many start to experience perimenopause symptoms. This does not necessarily mean that menopause, perimenopause and divorce are connected, however they may contribute to each other.

There are many reasons why couples get divorced, including but not limited to…

  • Failure to communicate
  • A change in feelings towards each other
  • Financial strain
  • Addiction
  • Abuse
  • Loss of intimacy and affection
  • Adultery
  • A lack of sexual intercourse

Unfortunately, some of these reasons can be caused by menopause.

In particular, perimenopause and menopause can lead to a loss of intimacy and sexual intercourse, which can make couples feel distant from each other. Additional strains due to changes in the relationship can lead to mistrust, a lack of understanding, and growing frustration.

Symptoms of menopause may not be the sole reason for divorce, but they are often a contributing factor. Open and honest communication is essential for a relationship to navigate through these difficult times. 

Can menopause lead to anger towards husbands or partners?

Menopause and anger towards husbands and other partners may be related. During menopause and perimenopause, many people find themselves becoming angry, particularly where their significant other is involved.

Spikes in oestrogen levels can cause mood swings, and with the addition of sleepless nights, heightened anxiety, and other symptoms, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and angry.

As the person you are likely spending the majority of time with and feel the most comfortable around, your spouse is probably going to be on the other end of these angry outbursts. Luckily, there are measures that can be taken in order to help you get the support you need.

These solutions can include…

  • Time discussing your feelings both alone and with your partner during therapy
  • Hormone replacement therapy or HRT
  • Antidepressants
  • Open communication with friends, family members, and your partner

Are affairs more common during menopause?

Unfortunately, affairs are much more common than we may realise. There are many different reasons why someone may choose to have an affair, including…

  • Sexual desire
  • Lack of love and intimacy
  • Self-esteem
  • Anger

Menopause can affect all of these things and if left unchecked, has the potential to damage a relationship enough that an affair occurs.

During menopause there is a drop in the amount of oxytocin in the body. This alongside reduced intimacy and a loss of a sexual connection can lead to a change in the way a relationship is viewed.

A decreased libido is a common problem for couples, and one that is often caused by menopause. This can result in resentment and build up sexual frustrations that have may result in an affair.

It is important to remember however, that an affair can occur for many different reasons and that menopause is very unlikely to be the sole reason for this massive breach of trust.

Do you need advice from a family law solicitor?

If your relationship has broken down irreparably, our family law solicitors can provide guidance and support and you explore your options.

We have office locations across London, Bristol, and Bath. So get in touch by giving us a call at your local branch or by filling in our online enquiry form.