Menopause and Relationship Breakdowns: How Menopause Affects Relationships

By Anna Meyer

April 25, 2023


Menopause is a natural part of life, however, it can have a tremendous impact on relationships. During menopause, you may go through physical and emotional changes that can affect the way you interact with your partner. While these changes are inevitable for most women, it’s important to understand how these changes can manifest in your relationships, so you can work through them together. Let’s look at how menopause affects the different aspects of your relationship and what you can do about it.

How Menopause Can Affect Relationships

The physical changes that come with menopause, such as hot flashes, fatigue, and vaginal dryness, can indirectly cause your relationship to break down. Hot flashes may disrupt sleep for both you and your partner, while fatigue can make it difficult to find the energy to stay engaged in conversations and take part in activities that you and your partner enjoy. Similarly, vaginal dryness and pain during sex can affect your libido and put a strain on intimacy.

The emotional changes that come with menopause can also be difficult to navigate. Mood swings, anxiety, and irritability are all common during menopause and can cause tension in relationships if not managed. In fact, anxiety, depression, and irritability are the most common psychological symptoms reported by menopausal women.

Not to mention the guilt that accompanies all these symptoms. Women often feel they need to fulfill all their roles perfectly—perfect wife, mother, friend, colleague and more. Unfortunately, menopause and all its ghastly symptoms make it difficult to keep up with the demands of life and all the roles you have to fulfill. Which, for many women, leads to guilt when they feel like they’re dropping the ball.

Personality Changes During Menopause: Why Is This Happening To You

During menopause, women experience hormonal imbalances that can lead to shifts in their personalities. These changes can include increased irritability and mood swings, as well as decreased motivation and energy levels. It’s important to be aware of these personality changes so you can better understand why you may behave differently than usual. All these changes may make you feel like you're not yourself anymore and may make your partner feel confused. While these changes aren’t permanent, they can put strain on your relationship, especially if your spouse doesn’t understand what’s happening.

The first step to dealing with these temporary personality changes is to understand that it’s normal, and it’s not your fault. You aren’t losing your mind, even if it feels like you are. Accepting that these changes are happening and that they’ll pass will make the transition into post menopause easier and perhaps a smidge less stressful. 

Next, you’ll need to have an open conversation with your partner. While you’re the one who feels like your brain and body are fighting a war, your partner is forced to sit and watch from the sidelines. While it’s not as bad as dealing with menopause, it can make them feel confused and powerless. Making them a part of this transition will help them understand how it affects your behavior, health, and mental health. This understanding will help you both be more patient and compassionate with each other. Plus, involving them also means you can show them how best to support you, and perhaps even strengthen your relationship.

Menopause and Sexless Marriage: How to Revive Your Sex Life

Aside from hot flashes and mood changes, menopause can also cause vaginal dryness and may impact a woman’s libido, leading to decreased sexual desire and arousal. This decrease in sexual activity can put strain on a relationship if it’s not addressed head-on. If you’re dealing with low libido or vaginal dryness, talking with your partner about what you’re going through and how it affects you physically and emotionally can help them understand why there is a lack of sex in the relationship. Understanding why sex is difficult for you during this time is key for couples who want to maintain an intimate connection, even when sex isn’t possible or desirable. An open discussion about your sexual challenges will also help to prevent any resentment that may build up due to rejections.

If you need a more hands on approach (no pun intended), there are creams, pills, and ointments available to help deal with vaginal dryness and to put the bow chicka wow wow back into your relationship.

And if you’re worried that your sex life will disappear like all your tupperware lids, it most likely won’t. Thankfully, researchers have found that sexual function increases five years after the onset of menopause, so you’re not doomed to a dead bedroom forever.

It’s also important to remember that sex isn’t the only way to maintain intimacy. Hugs, kisses, cuddling, and holding hands are all great ways to build intimacy. Aside from physical intimacy, you can also work on your emotional, intellectual, and spiritual intimacy if any kind of physical intimacy is too much.

While creams and potions can help to ease the physical symptoms that affect your sex life, studies show that the quality of your relationship prior to menopause has a greater effect on your sex life than menopause itself. So if your sex life doesn’t have the va va voom you’re hoping for, it may be time to focus on your relationship as well.

Menopause & Anger Towards Husbands: You’re Not Alone

Be honest, you’ve probably hopped onto your trusty ole friend Google and searched “menopause and anger towards husband”. We know this because you’re not the only one. If you’ve suddenly found yourself fantasizing about smothering your husband in his sleep despite adoring him all these years, then you’re not alone.

It is common for women in perimenopause or menopause to feel angry towards their partners because of the hormone fluctuations caused by these conditions. However, it is important for both parties to recognize that these feelings are normal and don’t reflect any fault on either person’s part.

If prison is starting to look like an opportunity for a mini getaway, it’s best to take some time away from your spouse if necessary, so you both have time alone to process your feelings before coming back together again in a healthier state of mind. Alternatively, activities like yoga, walking, and deep breathing exercises can help to lessen many of the physical symptoms of menopause, which may improve your mood and reduce your desire to send your husband packing.

Still struggling with anger toward your husband? Then it’s time to speak to your doctor about treatments like HRT or herbal supplements that can help to tone down the outbursts and murderous tendencies.

My Husband Doesn’t Understand Menopause : How to Help Him Understand and Strengthen Your Relationship

It is important to be open and honest with your partner about the changes you’re going through during menopause. Explain what physical and emotional symptoms you are experiencing and how these symptoms are affecting your moods and behavior. Having an open conversation about these changes will allow your partner to gain a better understanding of where you’re coming from and how best to support you. If your partner still doesn’t understand what you’re going through, book an appointment with your doctor that you both can attend. 

A healthcare professional will have more information about menopause, the symptoms, and how this condition affects you and will be better equipped to help your partner understand the beast that is menopause. And if you want to be a little sneaky, phone your doctor beforehand and convince them to tell your babe that regular spa treatments are effective at treating menopause. But if you get caught, we had nothing to do with it.

Talking about menopause can be tough. In fact, a survey conducted by Ipsos found that menopause is a topic that people are least comfortable to discuss. This lack of discussion hinders men and women from learning about menopause and may be a contributing factor to why one in three women, and almost half of men, aren’t knowledgeable about menopause. But speaking about menopause and educating yourself and your partner on this topic may help to make this phase of your life smoother for both of you.

Menopause is an unavoidable part of life, but it doesn’t have to spell doom for your relationship. By being aware of the physical and emotional changes that come along with menopausal symptoms, couples can learn how best to support each other during this transitional period to ensure a healthy connection throughout all stages of life together.