The Book on Divorce Over 50

We know there’s such thing as Gray Divorce (the mainstream term for Divorce Over 50) because we’re living it.  And the media has caught on, paying it a bit of attention.  But did you know there’s a whole book about it?  

Author Dierdre Bair interviewed 126 men and 184 women who divorced after being married at least 20 years.  And as she explains in this Op-Ed piece she wrote for the New York Times, her biggest surprise was the courage they showed when leaving the supposed security of their marriage.  These people saw their divorce not as a failure and something shameful, but as an opportunity — exactly the message and overall theme that permeates this site!

A few other tidbits in Ms. Bair’s summary of her book:

  • Both men and women insisted they did not divorce foolishly or impulsively.
  • “Freedom” and “control” were words she heard a lot.
  • Many interview subjects ended their stories with a version of “It’s my time and if I don’t take it now, I never will.”
  • Men who wanted new companionship found it easily, and women who wanted new partners had them within two years.

It was the 2010 Al and Tipper Gore split after 40 years of marriage that brought the very concept to the public’s attention (and by the way, as of 2014 they were not divorced; apparently that’s still the case). But as we know from our own lives, and from the contemporaries who are Divorce Curious, the trend does not figure to abate anytime soon.