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There are 4 primary reasons why older couples are getting divorced.
- Seeking relief from boredom is a big cause of divorce for silver-haired spouses. When an older couple is getting divorced, known as a “gray divorce”, one or both of the partners is often looking to relieve what they feel is a boring life. They are often heard saying that they “want to feel alive again”. They believe that they cannot break free from their doldrums as long as they remain tethered to their current partner. In these gray divorces, one or both spouses often believes that they need a new partner to help them breathe life into what they see as their dull, low-passion lives.
- Reinventing oneself has become a passion for older people. As many of the demands of family and work life slow-down, some older people are on a mission to reinvent themselves as a better person -- more active, more interesting, more spontaneous. It is difficult, many people find, to become a “new person” when you are living your “old life”. Unless both spouses choose to stay the same, or to expand themselves in similar fashion, a gray divorce is often the result.
- Viagra, and that genre of mediation, also plays a key role in older people seeking divorce. If a husband discovers that certain key parts of his body can be rejuvenated through the magic of pharmaceuticals, but that same discovery is made at the same time that his wife’s libido is on the downswing due to menopause, that can be a big problem. Enough said.
- Therapy opens people’s minds to their miserable state of affairs and encourages them to do something about it. Many older people, who finally have the time to focus on themselves more than ever before, end up in therapy. They want the second or last part of their lives to be happy … but they are often not happy. In therapy, many people uncover that it is, in many ways, their marriages that are making them miserable. And, more poignantly, that they have choices. It is very typical in therapy for spouses to find an advocate who encourages their client to stop putting up with a partner who is disrespectful, unappreciative, or unloving. If that partner refuses to change, or even work on changing, that marriage often ends up as a gray divorce.
Build a better marriage?
Divorce between older couples is on a high incline. If you don’t want to find yourself in a gray divorce situation, you need to build a better marriage. Relationships are a lot of work. If you are not up for nurturing your marriage, or if your spouse is disrespectful of your marriage and of your feelings, don’t assume things will just go on as they have been. That is just not how people live any more. Even if you choose to put up with a bad marriage, there is no guarantee that your spouse will stick around -- even if he/she is the one making all the trouble! There are marriage and family therapists standing in line to help you. I wish you all the best. A long marriage is a beautiful thing … as long as it is a beautiful marriage.