They are the “been there, done that” people who we come across in life and think, I wish I found someone like that with whom I could spend a good 50 years. Some with grown children, others with grandchildren in tow. They’ve been through the ups and downs in life and got through it – until now. When you hear about the break up of a couple who’ve been into decade long relationship or more, it leaves you wondering what must have happened that pushed the couple into taking such an extreme step.
According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research in Bowling Green State University in Ohio, nearly 1 in 4 people who is experiencing divorce in the U.S. is over 50. Almost 1 in 10 is older than 64. People over the age of 50 are twice as likely to divorce as their forebears were as recently as 1990. And for that age, education doesn’t matter: those with degrees and those without are having the divorce papers drawn up in equal numbers.
These “grey divorce” numbers are proving that not all things are like wine and get better with age and neither is old as good as gold. Here are some of the reasons why couples are treading on this path more often than before.
Take the case of Maria Shriver & Arnold Schwarzenegger who separated after 4 children, a super successful career and 25 years of marriage. The rumour grape wine had it that Schwarzenegger had a love child with his housekeeper who had surfaced after 14 years.
The other end of the spectrum has couples like Al & Tipper Gore who divorced after 40 years! One is likely to think how you can actually separate from someone after 4 decades but this couple went out to show that anything is possible. In relationship there is no such thing as permanence.
Here are some of the reasons why couples divorce after decades of marriage:
The Empty Nest Gets You There:
Most couples who get married and have children get along the task of raising them together. The need to stay together to raise the family and give the children the best of everything possible and more often, preventing them from the trauma of being torn in between divorcing parents makes couples go through the whole grind. But once the children have grown up, couples lose the main glue that kept them together for years. Though it is not easy at any age to have your parents divorcing, older children are much more capable of pulling through the situation and coping with it. If they’ve been in relationships themselves, it gives them a perspective on what has gone wrong. It may effect them negatively into not believing in strong, long-lasting relationships and they’ll need to take their own road to discover how to make their relationships work.
It Is No Longer A Taboo:
A few decades ago, a divorce meant you trigger the gossip grape vine. Everyone around is speculating reasons and whispering behind your back. These days, it doesn’t evoke as much a reaction as it is more common practice. People look upon it as a matter of fact. With so much of stimulation from social media and other tech, your event will be forgotten before you know.
Women Are More Financially Independent:
“Shoes on my feet, I buy the clothes am wearing, I buy the car am driving.. coz I depend on me”. Lyrics from this Destiny’s Child song ‘Independent’ had more women gyrating than ever. Women have better access to education, employment and career options. They have a well planned out strategy in case they need to take care of themselves in the long term, no longer having to stay in a marriage to depend on a man financially.
Loss Of Love And Infidelity:
When you go about the same routine drama of years without surprises, it sort of gets to you. This has been the biggest driver of divorces after “irreconcilable differences”. In comes another man / woman who gives you back the thrill of being in love and shows you a news shade of romance. Infidelity is a deal breaker for most older couples who build their relationship on trust.
Couple counseling and a definite will to change can be a last option to save an ailing marriage – and one should give it a try for the sake of the years spent together.