Getting divorced can be difficult at any age, and it can happen to anyone. However, there is a growing trend of older couples getting divorced. When the couple is 50 or older, it has come to be known as gray divorce.
Research has shown that more and more older couples are getting divorced than there were in the past. While this might be interesting, it shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise. Times are changing today. The people who are now over 50 grew up in an era when the stigma of divorce had vanished. Their formative years were in the 80s, and a lot of people were getting divorced, and it was slowly becoming the “norm” over the decades.
People today, particularly those who are over 50, want to do what’s right for them. They don’t care what their neighbors or friends might think. If they aren’t happy in the marriage, they should get out of the marriage. Divorce and separation are tools that simply make sense to use.
Why are so many people getting divorced? You will find that the main reasons for divorce, which we discuss below, tend to be the same or similar to the reasons younger people give. Let’s take a look.
Money problems aren’t relegated to just one age group. Financial issues can happen with anyone, but when it happens with older couples, it becomes more of a problem. This is because older couples are nearing retirement and should hopefully have things figured out financially. When it’s not, it becomes scary.
If you have a spouse who is overspending on things they don’t need, if they lose money with repeated bad investments, or have other money issues, it’s going to continue being a problem. Perhaps one of the spouses doesn’t want to work or contribute and this has been causing problems for you.
Regardless, finances tend to be one of the main reasons for gray divorce, and for other divorces for that matter.
When a lot of people think about addictions, they tend to picture younger people. However, addiction can happen to people of any age. It could be alcohol or other drugs that are causing the problems. It could also be other addictions, such as gambling or spending.
No matter the addiction, it can be hard to have a strong marriage when one of the parties is an addict. Although you may still love the person, you have to think about yourself and your own happiness and wellbeing. You can’t allow someone else’s actions to cause so many problems in your life. If they aren’t willing to get help or if you are fed up, divorce may be the best option.
Just like age doesn’t matter for addiction, it doesn’t matter for infidelity either. People of any age can be unfaithful and cause pain to their spouse. Quite a few gray divorces happen because someone—or both parties—were unfaithful to their spouse. You shouldn’t be in a relationship if you can’t trust your spouse, so it makes sense that this contributes to a large number of divorces.
Spending More Time Together Is Not Always a Good Thing
You would think that a couple would enjoy spending more time together. However, when you are getting older, it often means spending a lot more time together without some of the usual buffers.
For example, if you had children, they are likely all grown by now and out of the house. The things that you used to do as a family simply don’t happen any longer. It’s just you and your spouse. That is not always a good thing.
When you retire, it means even more time spend cooped up together in the house. This could be good…or it could be bad. You may end up finding out that you don’t like your spouse as much as you thought you did! Maybe they are more boring than you realized, or maybe their bad habits that you didn’t notice before are suddenly on your nerves.
Falling Out of Love Happens
As sad as it might be, people really do fall out of love after a while in some cases. It might come on quickly, but it’s often something that builds up over time. Some couples don’t become stronger with time.
Sometimes, it’s because one or both of you have changed over the years. This doesn’t simply mean that you changed physically and got older—this happens to everyone. Sometimes, it means that values and even personalities have shifted. You aren’t the people you were 25 years ago… and maybe you are no longer compatible. It happens.
These are just some of the reasons for gray divorce that occur with many couples today. Each couple is different and may have unique reasons to separate or divorce.
What Should You Do?
Are you in a marriage that just doesn’t feel right any longer? Have you been having issues for a while because of one of the issues mentioned above? Is it something else entirely? Regardless of the reason, if you are thinking about getting a divorce, and you feel that you will be happier if you were no longer married, consider moving forward with the process.
You can file the divorce paperwork and have your spouse served. You may want to speak with an attorney about the divorce from the start, though. One of the things that make gray divorce different from other divorces is the fact that there tends to be more at stake in terms of property, assets, accounts, etc. You want to make sure that your rights are protected and that you don’t inadvertently give up too much in the divorce.
Take the time to speak with an attorney, learn the process, and figure out what comes next. Just because you are over 50 and getting a divorce doesn’t mean life is over. It could be the beginning of a brand new adventure.