Awareness and understanding of the Menopause has improved considerably over the last few years. There are now many podcasts, books, TV shows and magazines regularly covering the topic and myth-busting the stereotypes of menopausal women.
Even workplaces are now recognising the difficulties faced by working women going through the perimenopause and menopause, by introducing updated policies and factoring the menopause into their wellbeing initiatives.
Over 60% of divorces in the UK are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s and 60s – which is the typical age that they are going through the various stages of the menopause.
So, can the menopause contribute to divorce? Or are these statistics just a coincidence?
Our Director, Solicitor and Head of Family Law, Louise Margiotta explores more…
Menopause and Divorce
It’s essential to note that while menopause can present challenges, it is not an insurmountable obstacle to a healthy and loving relationship. Many couples successfully navigate this phase of life by communicating openly, seeking support, and being understanding and patient with each other. Seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor can also be beneficial in addressing the challenges that may arise during this time.
Menopause can, of course, contribute to relationship challenges, which may, ultimately lead to separation and divorce. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the menopause alone causes couples to part ways.
The combined impact of physical, psychological and cognitive symptoms of the menopause can be overwhelming for women to deal with. This can also impact on the family home and relationships.
The menopause is a natural, biological process that women go through – some will fair well, with little to no drastic changes, others will have significant struggles that will affect them for a pro-longed period.
Symptoms such as hormonal changes, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, changes in libido, weight gain, stress and fatigue can all be triggers for relationship problems, especially if the woman’s partner is not supportive or understanding with these difficult to manage symptoms.
It is understandable how major changes to a relationship – such as no longer sharing a bed, arguing more or not enjoying a healthy sex life – can damage a marriage beyond repair over a long period of time.
Life Changes and Divorce
The fact that there is a surge of women filing for divorce in their 40s, 50s and 60s may also be down to other life changes that can typically occur around that time of their life.
Having an ‘empty nest’ where grown up children have left the family home, becoming a grandparent, having a change of responsibilities, reaching career milestones, feeling more financially secure, experiencing their friends going through divorce, etc. are also common factors that could be pushing the number of women wanting to divorce at this stage of their life.
Zest for Life
Another factor which may be at play, is that the menopause can bring a fresh outlook on life for women. Anthropologist, Margaret Mead, found that optimism rises in women in their 50’s. Women may have less stress (less childcare issues, financial strain, climbing the career ladder etc.) and may have more time to focus on themselves and discover who they really are and what they want in life. Many women report feeling empowered and more confident as they transition through the menopause and come out of the other side. New hobbies, interests and goals can be unlocked and with more time to pursue interests, women can find a ‘change of direction’ which ultimately could mean that their feelings towards their partner or relationship may change if their spouse is not on the same page.
Communication and Support
In summary, while menopause itself does not cause divorce, it can be a contributing factor to relationship strain if the associated physical and emotional changes are not effectively managed and communicated within the partnership. Open and supportive communication, understanding, and seeking professional help when needed can be crucial in maintaining a healthy and stable relationship during this phase of life.
Thinking About Divorce?
If you are considering divorce or separation and need some legal advice before taking the next steps, then please get in touch with our compassionate Family Law team who will be able to discuss the process and give you all the information you need to reach an informed decision. Call us on 01206 574431 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.