Internet Sympathizes With the Reason Woman Cheated on Husband of 25 Years

A woman has gained viral attention after revealing why she regrets having an affair.

In a post on the London-based discussion site Mumsnet, user Namechange2399 shared her story, saying she is 50 years old, divorced and has two adult children.

She wrote: "Two years ago I had an affair and left my husband of 25 years.

"I thought I was bored with my life after the children had left and was swept off my feet with someone new. The key context here is that on reflection I was suffering with undiagnosed effects of the menopause prior to this—it literally changed me as a person."

Woman upset, wedding ring removed
Main image, a file photo shows a woman sitting on the floor looking upset. Inset, a picture of a man removing his wedding ring. Victor_69/seb_ra/Getty Images

Once she started treatment for the menopause, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the new relationship ended and she said that: "On reflection, it was never what I wanted or needed."

Sandra Ishkanes is a functional medicine practitioner specializing in menopause. She told Newsweek: "I define menopause as estrogen being at the lowest level it can be after our fertile years.

"As women, we are biologically tasked with creating, carrying, and protecting children and families. The three main hormones in charge of this are estrogen, oxytocin and prolactin. Estrogen provides the mechanics of stimulating ovulation. Estrogen's partner is oxytocin, known as the 'love hormone' because it is released when we snuggle up or bond socially," explained Ishkanes.

"As women we naturally have more oxytocin than men, because it is boosted by estrogen. But at some point oxytocin can climb so high that it activates prolactin, which switches off fertility—which is what happens in pregnancy, and why stress can make women infertile."

Hormonal changes

Menopause happens when ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone estrogen and no longer release an egg each month. This usually happens between the ages of 44 and 55. Alongside the physical changes the body goes through, hormonal changes are profound.

"During the menopausal transition, estrogen is decreasing, and so is oxytocin," said Ishkanes. "This means we are entering a new neurological and emotional reality. We are entering an unfamiliar emotional zone where we're not prepared to put up with—I don't know how else to say this—any more s***.

"For women whose romantic relationships were not satisfying, for example, when partners had got comfortable with the 'old normal' and are not willing to listen or compromise or adapt to women's 'new normal,' they find that what they are saying or thinking is, either my partner adapts or I'm off," she explained.

The Mumsnet user explained that she felt the impact of menopause left her feeling and acting differently.

"Without excusing my behavior the acts, the impulses and behavior was not the real me. However I do take full responsibility," she said.

But the problem was, post treatment, she now had deep regrets about her affair and divorce.

"I still love my ex-husband and miss him terribly," she said. "We have continued to meet as a family and over the last 9 months or so I have realized he is the good man he always was, funny, respectful, kind.

Thrown away future

"I am not seeking sympathy," she wrote. "However, I realize the menopause has screwed my life and that I have thrown away the future that I should have had."

In comments on the Mumsnet post, users sympathized with the woman and shared their reactions to the story.

"That is very sad for all of you," said one reply.

Another said: "What a shame OP. I do feel for you...but unfortunately you have to reap what you have sown. And whilst you might have sown 25 years of happiness, the affair was a hand grenade in that."

"Get on your knees and beg," said a different commenter. "Some people are worth begging for."

"She blames her affair on menopause—and she is right—because her brain chemistry has changed," said Ishkanes.

But Ishkanes doesn't agree that this meant that leaving her husband was a mistake.

"I would imagine that if she stopped taking HRT, she would move to thinking that even though the affair might have been a mistake, leaving her husband was not," Ishkanes said.

"Interestingly, higher oxytocin (here boosted by HRT) makes women believe that their partner is more attractive than other men, so I imagine that post menopause, a partner has got to have a lot more going for him than he ever did before," she said.

Newsweek was unable to verify the details of this case.

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