We all know the reality of Divorce Over 50, because we’ve lived it.
We know that you can reach a point in a long marriage where you say, “This is not the way I want to live.” Or you have to decide, “Do I really want thirty more years of this?” Or you muddled through while living parallel lives, but “when the money ran out [and you] had to face each other,” you chose to get out.
And now a lot of non-DO50’s are learning about it, too.
All of the above quotes are from a New York Times article entitled “After Full Lives Together, More Older Couples Are Divorcing.”
It repeats some facts that have been noted for a while: People Over 50 are twice as likely to go through a divorce than in 1990, and Divorce in the Over 50 demographic is increasing while all other groups are stable or decreasing.
The article also explores the reasons for the increase, some of which are obvious and well-known, others which require a deeper dig.
For instance, we all know that longer life spans play a role, as many people decide they don’t want to spend decades in an unhappy situation. Additionally, Divorce no longer holds the stigma it used to. The Al and Tipper Gore split in 2010 helped alert the media and general public to Divorce Over 50, and, in a way, legitimized it.
But the biggest reason the article cites is the changing status of women in our society. Women tend to have higher expectations for their emotional life, and are less inclined to just put up with a poor situation. Combining this with their increased career achievements and financial security, plus a general feeling of empowerment, leads them to initiate about 60 percent of the splits.
And another insight worth noting: With children in their twenties, most Over 50’s don’t feel they need to “stay together for the kids.” But beyond that, many women actually see the act of getting out as good role modeling for those young adult children. They feel they’re showing their kids they won’t let fear rule their lives, and that they’re willing to take a risk in the pursuit of a better situation.