A new chapter: Menopause and its impact on relationships

Picture this: You're cruising through life, feeling confident and in control, when suddenly, out of nowhere, a curveball called 'menopause' arrives. It's like a surprise guest at a party you weren't prepared for, and it doesn't just affect your well-being – it's a party crasher that messes with the dynamics of your closest relationships. Have you ever wondered how this natural phase in life can impact your connections? Whether you're experiencing the effect of menopause yourself or a partner wanting to understand and support your loved one, here are some of the surprises and opportunities menopause brings to the table.


Menopause is a natural biological process where the menstrual cycle stops, marking the end of the reproductive years, typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. It happens via stages including perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause), menopause itself (when there have been no periods for 12 consecutive months) and post-menopause (the phase that follows).

Hormonal changes primarily drive menopause, specifically a decline in oestrogen and progesterone, which leads to various symptoms which tend to include (but are not limited to!) hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and changes in libido. These symptoms can directly impact intimate relationships with partners, family and friends, causing low self-esteem, low self-confidence and family issues.

It's important to note here that while menopause symptoms can present challenges in relationships, they can also be an opportunity for growth and a more profound connection between partners when approached with empathy and open communication.

According to a survey by the Family Law Menopause Project and Newson Health Research and Education, eight out of 10 women experiencing marriage difficulties said the symptoms of perimenopause or menopause put a strain on their family life.

Challenges of menopause on relationships

What are some typical symptoms of menopause that can directly impact your significant relationships?

  • Mood swings: Hormonal fluctuations during menopause (similar to puberty) can lead to mood swings, irritability and increased emotional sensitivity. Both you and your partner may find tensions rise more quickly in conversations, causing conflict.
  • Change in libido: Many may experience decreased sexual desire during menopause, leading to a decline in sexual intimacy, which can affect both partners emotionally.
  • Sleep disturbance: Lack of quality sleep impacts your ability to communicate effectively and spend quality time with your partner.
  • Brain fog: Memory lapses and cognitive changes in menopause are common. Forgetfulness or difficulty concentrating can lead to misunderstandings and frustration.
  • Emotional challenges: The impact of menopause on our mental health is often overlooked, but anxiety and depression can occur, causing a strain in the relationship if not addressed openly or supported by your partner.

A combination of these, plus the physical symptoms of menopause, can make effective communication more challenging. Partners willing to learn about menopause and provide emotional support can help mitigate these challenges.

Positive aspects of menopause in relationships

Menopause has been a taboo in our society, but this is gradually changing. Many positive aspects need to be recognised and valued. It is a time for growth, connection, and renewal.

  • Deeper emotional connection: Menopause encourages us to communicate more openly about how we feel physically and emotionally, allowing partners to support and understand each other better. It creates a sense of solidarity and a stronger bond as you and your partner empathise with the challenges and celebrate the positives.
  • Increased freedom: Menopause often comes when your focus shifts from raising children as they become more independent, perhaps leaving home for university, to spending more quality time together as a couple. It's an opportunity to spend time together travelling, sharing hobbies or just spending time together.
  • Renewed romance: With fewer distractions and increased confidence, there's more time and space to enjoy a more exciting romantic life. You can emerge from menopause with a greater sense and understanding of your body, and exploring new ways to maintain your physical connection can lead to a more creative and satisfying intimate life.
  • Embracing change together: Menopause is a significant life change. Facing it with your partner as a team can foster a sense of togetherness. It encourages improved communication skills as you work together to express your needs and concerns more effectively. It teaches us to be more empathetic and patient with each other, benefiting the relationship beyond menopause.

Please seek professional advice, especially when menopause symptoms significantly affect your well-being and relationships. Don't try to work through these on your own. HRT is one option, and there are others for you to consider under the guidance of your GP or a medical professional specialising in menopause.

Do you feel your menopause is negatively impacting your relationships? As a counsellor specialising in parents and carers of tweens and teens, I am aware of the perfect storm of hormonal activity where one family member is experiencing menopause as another is experiencing puberty. Contact me today to find out how we can work together.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Seaford, East Sussex, BN25
Written by Jennifer Warwick, MSc Psych, BACP Registered | Counsellor and Parenting Expert
Seaford, East Sussex, BN25

I am a BACP registered counsellor working online. I work with people who struggle to balance work, home and family life. People constantly rush, looking after others over themselves and are exhausted.

I specialise in supporting parents and carers as they navigate their child's tween and teenage years. Contact me for an introductory chat by phone.

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