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Can menopause contribute to divorce?

Menopause can be a time of physical and emotional turmoil for some women. It's not surprising, then, that it can have an impact on their marriage. It may not be a coincidence that, according to a survey by AARP Magazine, women in their 40s through their 60s initiate more than 60 percent of all divorces.

Former tennis champion Chris Evert recently made news in a recent interview when she linked her 2006 divorce from Olympic medal winner Andy Mill to her menopause. She said, "I was going through menopausal stuff that doesn't get talked about enough...."

Hormonal changes during menopause can lead to a diminished sex drive, which can impact a relationship. These changes can also simply cause them to feel tired a moody. They may gain weight, which can cause them to feel less attractive. It's also a reminder that they're getting older, which can be depressing for anyone.

Menopause can even affect their willingness to communicate with their spouse -- something that's key to a successful relationship. As one woman put it, "When everything you know to be normal is being kidnapped by changing hormones, communication may be last on the list."

This can make it difficult even for husbands who are trying to understand what their wives are going through to do.

Menopause can be frightening for men as they watch their wives going through it and realize that they too are getting older. However, it's important to make that extra effort to communicate and understand what their wives are going though.

There are things that women can do to help minimize the impact of menopause on their marriage:

-- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is especially crucial. It will help you feel better about yourself and possibly minimize some of the negative physical effects.

-- If your hormones are getting out of control, talk to your doctor about the possibility of hormone therapy or other treatment.

-- Communicate about what you're going through -- particularly with your spouse. If the two of you are finding that difficult, some counseling may help.

The good news is that most women make it through menopause with their marriages intact. When they don't, there are likely other factors at play that make ending the marriage the best option for both spouses. If they're able to part on amicable terms, a collaborative divorce may be a good, minimally-stressful option for them.

Source: Healthy Women, "Will Your Marriage Survive Menopause," Staness Jonekos, accessed Aug. 04, 2016

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