By: Guest Author
Published: October 13, 2022
Written By Henry Crisp- Guest Contributor
The menopause can be extremely challenging for a lot of women. In this article, we’ll be looking at whether or not there is a link between menopause and divorce.
Every woman will experience the menopause differently, yet it’s not a topic talked about enough and impact it can have on every aspect of a person’s life. Not everyone will have an awful time with it, but for some it can seriously affect moods and mental health, having a knock-on effect to close relationships.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on the latter, as we examine the link between menopause relationship breakdown and divorce in the UK.
What is the Menopause?
The menopause is something that most women go through between the ages of 45 and 55 and is a natural part of the ageing process. During the menopause, the woman will begin to stop ovulating and will therefore no longer have periods; meaning that she will usually no longer have the ability to become pregnant.
The menopause can be accompanied by a number of symptoms including night and day sweats, hot flushes, vaginal dryness and mood swings. The entire menopausal transition usually takes around seven years but in some extreme cases, this can increase to as much as 14 years.
Is There a Link Between Menopause and Divorce?
Around 60% of all UK divorces are initiated by women, approximately 40% of those are filed by women aged between 45 and 55; a period of time when many women will be going through the menopause. This has naturally led many people to consider a link between menopause and divorce and, in this section, we’ll examine some of the reasons for this.
Lowered Sex Drive
During the menopause, a great number of women experience a lowered sex drive, with many saying that they do not feel like having sex at all. This lack of physical intimacy can take its toll on a marriage fairly quickly and can lead to resentment and, in some cases, infidelity whereby the man will seek this kind of intimacy elsewhere.
Lots of women report that the knowledge that they are no longer able to bear children makes them feel less attractive and therefore less confident which can very much affect the sex drive.
As the woman goes through significant hormonal changes, this very often results in some fairly radical mood changes. Many menopausal women say that they experience feelings of extreme anger which will, in many cases, be directed at their partner.
These mood swings can lead to frequent arguments. Constant arguing can quickly erode a marriage and can ultimately lead to divorce.
Depression and Anxiety
Among the most common of menopause symptoms is something known as ‘brain fog’ whereby the woman will find it difficult to concentrate at work. This can, understandably, lead to anxiety regarding the possibility of losing her job, as well as depression.
Due to recent headlines, many of us are familiar with the term brain fog and it’s association with long Covid. However, this can be a symptom of other conditions, including menopause.
During the menopause, a lot of women report that they simply no longer feel like themselves and find themselves mourning their old life. Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are responsible for a significant number of UK divorces
The menopause is one of the biggest changes that a woman will experience and can affect both her physical and mental health. For some women, this will mean reexamining their lives in general as they think about what the future may hold for them.
In some instances, this will lead to the woman deciding to make some quite drastic life changes, including making the decision to end their marriage.
This last point was expertly highlighted in the 1989 film, Shirley Valentine in which Shirley, the menopausal main character, says, “I have allowed myself to lead this little life, when inside me there was so much more. And it’s all gone unused. And now it never will be. Why do we get all this life if we don’t ever use it? Why do we get all these feelings and dreams and hopes if we don’t ever use them?”.
The menopause can often lead to a woman feeling that she has ‘missed out’ on certain things during her life and cause her to decide to embrace those things in later life, things which may not be compatible with her marriage.
Treating the Menopause
In most cases, the only treatment for the menopause offered by GPs is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). While this can certainly alleviate the symptoms of the menopause by balancing hormones, it can increase the risk of other conditions, including breast cancer.
Many women prefer to tackle menopause symptoms through a healthier diet and exercising in order to avoid some of the unpleasant side effects of HRT. Others tend to homeopathic remedies which can help to relieve symptoms commonly associated with menopause, although these may not be suitable for more extreme cases.
Connecting Separation and Menopause…
Both the menopause and divorce can be extremely distressing life experiences and a combination of the two can be devastating. While there are no definitive statistics to link menopause and divorce, it’s certainly not unreasonable to assume that the link does exist.
Symptoms such as mood swings and a lowered sex drive can have an extremely negative impact on a relationship and, if these symptoms persist for a considerable length of time, this can very much add to the UK’s divorce figures.
Henry Crisp is a Senior Partner at Crisp & Co, a UK family law solicitor who deals with divorces of all types. With offices across London, Bristol, Bath and Manchester, the team specialise in family, marriage and divorce laws.
Although it’s not deemed compulsory, we respectfully ask that you consider crediting the photos, as per the Pixabay guidelines: https://pixabay.com/service/license/
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.