Dating during perimenopause

Hey, former letter writers – yeah, you. Can you send us an update? How did it all work out after your letter ran? Do you have the same problem? A new one? Send an update to [email protected]  with “update” in the subject line.

Also, send me new letters as I quarantine. Are you having trouble with dating/being single/moving in with someone/considering marriage/getting over a breakup? Submit your question to [email protected] or use this easy, anonymous form.


Dear Meredith, 

I’m a 41 year old woman. I’m single, having ended a relationship earlier this year. It was good that it ended, but it ended in part because of a new phase of life I’ve found myself in much earlier than I anticipated. 

I’m in perimenopause and experiencing a lot of symptoms. I’m getting good care, and I hope to try dating again. I’m incredibly nervous about dating now. When I hear from other women about perimenopause, many have supportive partners who try to help them. And they’ve been with these partners for a long time, so they say that it’s normal to not have sex as frequently. But I want a new relationship, and I want to be sexually attracted to a new partner. 

Perimenopause has seriously diminished my libido and my interest in as frequent sex as I was interested in even just a year or so ago. It’s shaking my confidence and making me feel (irrationally, I know!) like no one wants this type of terrible, unappealing baggage. Do you have any advice for a would-be perimenopausal paramour? How should I share (or not) what’s going on with me and my body, and how early in a dating relationship? 

– Petrified on the Prairie


It sounds like your breakup messed with your confidence more than the actual perimenopause.

Please know you’ll be starting from scratch with the the next person you date. They won’t know how often you used to have sex. You won’t know what they were like either.

I want to say, for validation purposes, that I feel like no one told me about perimenopause when I was younger. But now that I’m in my mid-40s, my peers talk about it all the time. Many friends in their early 40s seem to be part of the conversation. We’re all a bit confused.

I have Covid at the moment (quite mild), and my new guessing game has become “Is it Covid or perimenopause?” I’m constantly walking into rooms and forgetting why I’m there. I have weird body aches and will decide, “Yes, that’s it,” … when really I just lifted something heavy.

The thing is, almost all of the people in my life have experienced changes in their brains and bodies and are trying to figure it out. Sometimes, as they get older, they’re surprised by their increased sex drive. Or maybe they experience sex in a very different way and learn to adjust.

Occasionally they’re just worried that change is coming, which makes sense. The unknown can be scary.

No one expects you to be 25 forever. People you date will be going through their own stuff, and they’ll probably be insecure about it at times. You’ll be kind to them, right? Assume they’ll be nice to you, too.

You can talk to your doctor about ways to deal with loss of sex drive and how to be good to your body as you deal with these symptoms. But please know your mind is powerful. If you find someone you’re into, you’ll probably want to get close to them in some way, and maybe your desires will lead you in an interesting direction. You might not want sex as much as you did one or two years ago, but you might want it very much when the feeling is there. Also, you might be … better at it.

Do not bring this up on early dates. Try not to diagnose yourself with an issue until you’re sure you’re experiencing it with someone.

Remember that everyone is aging, so you’re not alone. It’s not all bad, I promise.

– Meredith

Readers? Advice on this? Is this more about the breakup? Are you who you were at 25? Would you expect anyone else to be?

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