Can Menopause or Aging Cause Divorce?

There’s no doubt that hormones can have a tumultuous effect on a woman’s life, from the surge of hormones at the onset of puberty to their confusing retreat at midlife. These changes don’t just affect menopausal women, either. They can affect everyone in a woman’s orbit, including her spouse.

Case in point: New research suggests that the hormonal fluctuations that occur during perimenopause and menopause can significantly impact not only the woman herself but also her marriage. Studies show that during menopause, a higher number of women seek divorce. 

What is this “menopause divorce,” and how does it affect couples in midlife?

Does menopause really have such an impact on a woman’s life – and by extension, her marriage – that it can cause couples to divorce? New data seem to support it. 

Can menopause cause a marriage to fail?

There is a correlation between the age at which most women seek divorce and the onset of perimenopause or menopause (between 45 and 55). 

Dr. Louise Newson, a menopause expert in the UK, has dedicated her career to providing treatment and support for women who are navigating menopause. In cooperation with the Family Law Menopause Project, Newson Health Research and Education conducted a survey of 1,000 women asking them about the effect of menopause on their relationships. 

According to the survey, 8 out of 10 women who reported symptoms of perimenopause or menopause reported overlapping marital issues. Seven in 10 said they believed those symptoms had a direct effect on the breakdown of their marriage. 


Symptoms of perimenopause and menopause

Menopause is the natural transition of a woman moving beyond her child-bearing years. In Neolithic cultures, this time was when women were revered and became matriarchs of their community. 

Modern culture has sidelined and pathologized much of women’s natural cycles. Menopause became interpreted through an industrialized healthcare lens that generally lacked awareness and understanding about it. Consequently, many women today go through menopause without much helpful information or support.

Menopause doesn’t just affect a woman’s reproductive system. It affects many other systems of the body, causing significant physiological, emotional, and psychological symptoms. Women navigating perimenopause and menopause often experience the following:

  • Feelings of depression or irritability
  • Moodiness
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Poor sleep
  • Loss of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes (also known as hot flushes)
  • Vaginal dryness

Without a better understanding of menopause and how it affects mental health and the whole body, these symptoms can be especially challenging for women and their spouses. The medical community has supported the view of menopause as a sexual “loss”  instead of a natural process, leaving couples to view the symptoms they’re experiencing as negatives. 

Understanding menopause: The basics

Menopause isn’t just a biological process but also a profoundly emotional one that can affect a woman’s well-being and her sense of self. Menopause marks a significant phase in a woman’s life, and yet many aren’t fully prepared for the spectrum of physical and emotional changes that come with it. 

Physically, the wind-down of estrogen and progesterone can cause an onslaught of symptoms, from hot flashes and night sweats to other sleep disturbances. Menopause can bring shifts in weight, bone density, and other health-related variations, affecting daily life and overall comfort as well as having a direct impact on a woman’s long-term health. 

Many women also experience changes in vaginal health and a decrease in libido. This can result in sexual discomfort and affect intimacy and sexual well-being in their relationships. 

Emotionally, menopause ushers in a wave of changes that can directly influence a woman’s mood and sense of emotional well-being. Some women report feeling a sense of loss and disconnection, while others can experience a sense of relief at the end of their reproductive years. Either is valid, reflecting the very individual response that women can experience with the significant transition that menopause represents. 

Has menopause affected your relationship?

Women in midlife still want and need intimacy, even if sex itself requires extra care due to vaginal dryness or hot flashes. But the drop in reproductive hormones is not only a female issue. While it gets far less attention, men go through their own hormonal transitions with a loss of testosterone at around the same time. 

On top of the hormonal changes both spouses are experiencing, married partners often feel older and less attractive, which can further strain their marriage. The relationship can suffer when couples don’t understand what is happening to their hormones and bodies or how to communicate their feelings about it to each other.

Self-esteem and body image

Living in a society that equates youth and a specific body type with beauty can make navigating menopause daunting. While menopause is a natural and significant phase in a woman’s life, the pressure they feel to stay young and beautiful collides with the reality of the physical changes that invariably come with this transition. Unfortunately, it often leads to feelings of inadequacy and unattractiveness. 

Hormonal fluctuation will typically trigger a range of physical changes, from weight gain to a redistribution of body fat to a change in skin texture. And while these are normal, they can be difficult to accept. Women often feel a sense of lost control over their bodies and a disconnect between who they feel like on the inside and what they look like on the outside. 

This loss of self-esteem can affect their most intimate relationships alongside their loss of libido. As they feel less confident in their body, they feel less confident in their sexual relationships. Adding to the emotional changes that co-occur, this often results in misunderstandings and tension in a marriage. 

If a menopausal woman can recognize what is happening, understand it for the natural process it is, build self-compassion, and get support from her partner, this time doesn’t have to be so challenging. Self-compassion may mean that she must realize that her worth is not defined by her looks or redefine what beauty and strength mean for her outside societal norms. Getting support from her partner will mean having some very open and honest conversations about what is going on and discussing how she needs to be supported. 

In the meantime, she can do what is within her power to make things comfortable for her new phase, eating a balanced diet and getting exercise, calming stressors in her life, and pursuing things that make her feel happy and fulfilled. Keeping educated and getting the support of other women who are going through similar transitions can be essential and life-affirming.  

Men’s experience: Andropause and marriage

While menopause is more widely recognized and discussed, men go through their own parallel experience of hormonal flux at about the same time. Commonly referred to as “male menopause,” andropause marks a man’s decline in testosterone that can have its own physical, emotional, and sexual challenges. 

Testosterone is responsible for male physical features, sexual function, and mood regulation. While menopause is a more abrupt hormonal decline, andropause is more gradual, which can make it less noticeable at first. Typical symptoms often include difficulty maintaining physical fitness, fatigue, mood changes, and decreased libido. For many men, these changes can lead to their own feelings of inadequacy as they deal with the changes in their bodies and emotions. 

Like menopause, andropause’s effect on mood, energy, and interest in intimacy can have a serious impact on intimate relationships, often leading to misunderstandings and emotional distance. Because of different societal expectations, men often respond by withdrawing and becoming less communicative, leaving their partners confused and disheartened.

Both menopause and andropause are a normal and natural part of aging for couples. Recognizing and supporting each other’s experiences during these significant life transitions is essential. In most cases, it will require both spouses to maintain honest and open communication, offer emotional support when the other is struggling, and find new ways to connect and be intimate.

How do you explain what’s happening if you’re not sure yourself?

Hormone levels have significant emotional components. During menopause, you may feel angry and impatient one moment and depressed the next. But how do you explain this to your spouse when you’re struggling to understand it yourself?

During menopause, estrogen and progesterone begin to decline. These hormones have a broad effect on many bodily systems including immune response, cardiovascular health, bone health, and brain function. During menopause, women also experience an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and brain fog.

Levels of the hormone oxytocin are also decreasing. Oxytocin is often called the “love hormone" and regulates emotional responses, bonding, trust, empathy, and positive communication. Dropping levels of oxytocin can result in us feeling less connected to the people closest to us.

Menopause doesn’t just alter your sex life. It’s a new phase that will affect many aspects of your life in general. 

How do married partners deal with this change in their sex life?

The number-one cause of divorce is a lack of communication. When married couples can talk about the physical and emotional changes they’re encountering and listen to each other with empathy and understanding, they can often work through sexual issues together.

Often, this requires the following:

Honest communication

In most cases, both spouses feel vulnerable when sexual intimacy breaks down. If you and your partner can talk through it together with honesty, it can make you feel more connected.


Looking at the situation from each other’s perspective can go a long way toward seeking a solution that works for both of you. 

Alone time

Life is busy, but taking alone time as a couple can do amazing things to spark a little romance that may have taken a backseat. 


By midlife, many women have spent their lives taking care of everyone else. Menopause is the perfect time to relearn how to self-prioritize.

Speaking to your doctor

There are many things you may be able to do to lessen your menopause symptoms. Speak to a knowledgeable doctor about hormone replacement therapy, diet, supplements, and other options. 

Disclaimer: Any information in this article is intended for general informational purposes only. Menopause is a very individual physiological process, and every woman’s decisions, whether to use hormone replacement therapy or supplements, should be guided by her doctor based on her individual health needs and medical history, taking into consideration any potential risks and side effects.  What works for and is appropriate for one individual may not be suitable for another. 


If menopause is affecting your marriage, you are not alone. Seeing a therapist together (or alone) can provide you with coping skills or ideas about how to create more intimacy in your marriage. 

The menopausal years can be a trying time for women and their loved ones. Mood swings, night sweats, and other physical changes affect physical intimacy and so much more. 

Managing menopausal symptoms with your partner

Navigating menopause doesn’t have to be an isolating experience. When couples understand the symptoms of menopause and talk about it openly and honestly, managing it together as a team will increase feelings of mutual support, love, and closeness amid all the confusing changes. 

If you and your spouse are dealing with symptoms of menopause (or andropause), approach it with a unified front. 

  • Educate yourselves. Both of you should understand the biological and emotional changes you can expect during each other’s hormone decline. It demystifies the behavior and better prepares you to deal with it.
  • Be honest. Discuss any changes openly, even when it’s uncomfortable to talk about. This will foster a sense of empathy and support, allowing you to be on the same team. 
  • Recognize and cope with the mood swings together. Understanding that these mood swings are just a natural symptom of hormonal changes can help both of you not take things personally. 
  • Understand what each other needs. Support looks different for different people. Discuss what each person needs in the way of support, and offer these gestures when your spouse is struggling. 
  • Keep anger and blame off the table. When you or your spouse are dealing with feelings of vulnerability, anger and blame will only be more destructive. 
  • Explore different ways to be intimate. Intimacy isn’t just sex. During menopause and andropause, sex could even be off the table. Explore other ways to feel intimate so you can maintain love and connection in your marriage. 
  • Consult with a healthcare provider. Some symptoms of decreased libido and vaginal dryness and pain can be addressed through the use of lubricants, medications, or hormone therapies. 
  • Adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Eating healthy, exercising, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep aren’t just good for your health. They’re also essential for your love life. 
  • Be each other’s best friend and staunchest advocate. Having each other’s back offers a sense of support and unity. And as we age, what can be more important in our intimate relationships than someone who accepts and loves us just the way we are?

If menopause is a cause of divorce, can it be fixed?

Are you navigating midlife and feeling like you may have lost interest in your spouse or sex in general? These are common concerns. But divorce is a huge step. Getting the assistance of a discernment counselor or other trusted individual can help you gain clarity if you feel you may have fallen out of love with your spouse or are merely going through very natural feelings given this time and place in your life. 

Divorce is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’re here to help. At Hello Divorce, we want to change the face of divorce. We offer services and resources for anyone who is considering divorce, needing help with their ongoing divorce, or navigating life beyond divorce.

Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.