“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…”
But apparently not in menopause.
In the wake of World Menopause Day 2022, brand new research has come to light – which confirms what has long been presumed, yet never proven. Menopause divorces are real.
Conducted by The Family Law Menopause Project and Newson Health Research and Education, this latest survey – with over 1000 female participants – shows a direct connection between perimenopause/menopause and the breakdown of a couple’s relationship.
It seems a hormone deficiency can, in fact, be the final nail in the marriage coffin.
A statistical correlation between menopause and divorce
The research shows that 7 in 10 women – around 73% of those surveyed – blamed menopause for the failure of their relationship. And somewhat worryingly, 67% of those who took part claimed it led to a significant increase in arguments and instances of domestic abuse.
However, only a fifth of those women sought support to talk about menopause.
Why? Because at the time, they didn’t believe it was a contributing factor.
According to the survey, only a third of all the women had been offered HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) to relieve their symptoms. And amongst those who hadn’t received treatment, 70% thought it may have had a positive impact on – or even saved – their relationship.
Interestingly, over 60% of UK divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s – in other words, the average age at which most women go through perimenopause and menopause. And it turns out, that isn’t just a coincidence.
This major milestone in a woman’s life seems to have a clear, negative impact on relationships. Menopause and divorce appear to be linked. And with that in mind, potentially millions of marriages in the UK could be under threat. At least partly, due to the symptoms caused by menopause and an overall lack of understanding.
Think you’re at risk of a menopausal divorce?
The question is, why does this happen?
What is it about menopause that causes issues in a relationship?
For a start, it’s a particularly challenging period in a woman’s life. The physical, mental and emotional symptoms can be severe and overwhelming. And alongside dealing with the bodily changes, most women face feelings of anxiety, depression and a lack of confidence. Inevitably, this can all put a strain on the marriage.
One of the keys to any successful relationship is excellent communication – but this can be especially difficult during menopause. For the woman, it can be hard to understand (and accept) the changes that are happening – and even harder to explain these to a partner. As such, many couples start to drift apart.
Other issues that may contribute towards menopausal divorce include:
- a loss of libido and lack of physical intimacy.
- depression and sadness.
- mood swings and irritability (leading to an increase in arguments).
- a lack of energy due to hormone fluctuations and poor sleep.
- physical changes (e.g. hot flushes, joint pain, vaginal dryness).
Entering a divorce danger zone
The issues outlined above will not cause the breakdown of a marriage, per se. However, they do create a ‘divorce danger zone’.
This is the term often used to refer to big life changes. Menopause is one example, but others can include pregnancy, bereavement, career development or even empty-nest syndrome.
These changes can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life, and they tend to expose and magnify any existing cracks in the marriage. Therefore, in a way, the symptoms of menopause act as a catalyst. If the relationship was already struggling, it may not have the resilience to survive such challenging times – and the prospect of a divorce becomes much more likely.
Sage advice when you need it the most
Divorce should never be a decision that’s taken lightly.
Of course, for most people, the breakdown of a marriage is a gradual process – that happens for a multitude of reasons. But if you suspect that menopause may be a contributing factor, support is available. And reaching out for help could potentially save your relationship. At the very least, it may be worth a try.
However, if you feel you’re already past the point of no return and would like to begin divorce proceedings, clear family law advice is essential – and we’re here to help.
In this recent survey, the majority of respondents (86%) said they didn’t feel comfortable raising the issue of perimenopause or menopause with their divorce solicitor. But we want to change that.
At St Helens Law, we have a supportive team of family law solicitors, with ample experience and knowledge in this area. We always encourage our clients to speak to us freely, particularly regarding factors that may have led to the breakdown of the marriage – and could affect their case.
Crucially, we understand that you’re likely to be going through a tough time in life – and we’ll do everything in our power to ensure the divorce process is smooth and straightforward and that we achieve the best possible outcome for you.
To request your free initial consultation, simply fill out our online enquiry form and a member of the team will be in touch within 48 hours with further information. Alternatively, if you have any questions – about this latest research on menopause divorce or how we can help – you’re welcome to contact us at any time. Just give us a call on 01744 742360.