While divorce rates in general have decreased, divorces between people who are 50 or older are increasing. Known as “gray divorces,” these breakups often affect couples who have committed to their marriages for 20, 30 or more years, but something finally pushes them to walk away from the marriages. There are several reasons why some of these long-term marriages are failing.
Longer life expectancy
As people live longer, many are reconsidering their choices, including their marriages. Longer life expectancy means that people have more time to focus on their goals and interests, and often, part of this includes sharing those with someone they can truly connect with. For some couples whose marriages have been stagnant for years, the idea of starting over, perhaps with a new partner who can better meet their needs, becomes appealing.
Another factor that often drives the rate of gray divorce is the financial independence of both spouses. When one of the spouses does not have to depend financially on the other, they feel free. This, in turn, can be deciding factor when someone is already unhappy and considering ending their marriage.
Distance over time
The end of a long-term marriage does not happen overnight. While the request for a divorce might come as a surprise to one of the spouses, the reality is that the distance between the spouses might have been years in the making. Some of the reasons for this marital unrest include:
• Becoming empty-nesters and finding left nothing in common
• Facing the rest of their life with an emotionally distant spouse
• Experiencing a betrayal from their long-term spouse
• Finding that their spouse is not interested in meeting any of their needs or preferences
While some couples might be able to work towards overcoming their differences, others might realize that their only option is to divorce.