Sunday, 15 January 2012

Delayed divorce due to care for kids, not mid life crisis or leaving to chase younger fertile women

There is another reason why marriages break-up in mid-life and its not primarily because men dump their now older and infertile wives in favour of younger, fertile women!  

Andreas – a long term friend and mentor and also a discussion partner on relationship topics points out men often stay for the children, then leave once the children are old enough. This would tend to happen for couples aged between 40 and 60, depending on when the children were born and perhaps with a peak around 50ish. Hence, the man might leave just as the wife was menopausal or post menopause.  

I’ve had men confirm they are staying with their wives for the sake of the children – in some cases, the wife has not been able to care effectively for the children and the father is the primary care provider.  

So we have goodly numbers of men leaving their wives just as they are starting to age noticeably due to oestrogen reduction. It would be oh so easy to construe this as “mid life crisis” and “younger women” and to of course blame the man. As Andreas observes “the wife then finds the reason of a younger woman, to make herself feel better -- so she doesn't have to accept that she did nothing (to save the relationship during those long years he stayed around and tried to patch things up for the sake of the kids)”.

To quote Andreas: “It is very popular to blame the man for everything.  But in my very limited observations, I'm not sure this is particularly fair. The man gets nothing but grief at home and when he looks elsewhere, he is blamed for the break up.”  Now of course, this could cut both ways – but we are focusing here on debunking the myth that mature aged men leave their post menopause wives because they have lost their physical attractiveness (and fertility).

SO ….  if your marriage is good, a rocky menopause will test it, but with good management you should get through it successfully and retain your loving relationship. If your marriage sucks, then you have a choice between making extra efforts to save it or accepting that the time to break-up is approaching and it has nothing to do with looking older or even perhaps with menopause, but a lot to do with the relationship not meeting your or your spouse’s critical needs.

Note: menopause can amplify or add to conflict and unhappiness within a marriage and provide the final impetus to separate and divorce. You need to study and understand what is happening and if necessary seek medical help. Don’t assume a woman has the ability to “buck up” or deliver what seem like reasonable outcomes. She may need her partner’s support more than ever to get through a very challenging period of her life.    

Sometimes life sucks in many ways at once - like this solitary bee that insisted on selfishly stuffing his legs with pollen and nectar while showing me his magnificent behind.


  1. All I know is that it's not unusual for marriages to break up once the kids are out of high school or college. If they are out of the house and on their own or in some way being cared for the man may very well feel that his main obligation in the marriage is done; that being the upbringing and care for the children. Sometimes if not many times divorce takes years to come to fruition but when it does nothing is going to stop it.


  2. I agree - one wise man told me we usually realise a marriage is in trouble 2 years too late. However, in other cases, the cause started many years before. Very good point. It's better not to try and stop the train leaving the station, once its picked up momentum! Thanks for the very relevant comment! C :-)