You may be surprised to find that the overall rate of divorce in the U.S. has gone down in the past 20 years; however, that does not necessarily apply to people over 50. Grey Divorce, or the act of getting a divorce later in life, has seen a rise occur lately. This goes directly against the common statement that we often hear: the point that young people do not stay together like they used to. When taking a critical approach to looking at the numbers, we must analyze what are the contributing factors to divorce for couples who have been in a long-term marriage.
It is important to note that divorce is a struggle with a stigma. Not only are you going through one of the most difficult times of your life, but there is also the added fact that shame can play a role, even though it should not. Although this stigma has gone down over the years, it does not affect younger couples as much as it does older ones. As the stigma diminishes over time, individuals begin to look at divorce differently. More couples are deciding that they would rather be happy than be married to someone for the rest of their lives. When we analyze the reasons why many older couples get divorced, it enlightens us on mitigating factors.
Here’s why Grey Divorce could be on the rise
First and foremost, how a couple manages their money can lead them down paths of difference. There is no right answer except for the fact that a couple must be willing to work together to achieve a balance in their decision making. One person cannot hold the reigns completely, and compromise can truly lead to the other party feeling validated.
If one party makes all the money and marshals all the power in the household, that can lead to another party feeling insignificant. Another aspect is that if one individual believes that the other spends money too frivolously, those tensions can build up over time and result in conflict. Research shows that marriage tends to be stronger if the husband increases his earnings, but money management does not necessarily mean more is better. Balance overrules security sometimes and having a partnership that is truly based on equality is the healthiest option.
Many times, this is the first discussion point for divorce. The spark, the excitement, and the reasons they got together in the first place have diminished over time. It is worth reminding that sparks come from somewhere. True love, at first sight, is an illusion. You must work at it to make those sparks happen. Many times, if the work has primarily been poured into raising children, then the focus on building and cultivating that spark can lessen.
When you are at a crossroads, and many couples are when their children leave the home, it can lead to the desire to change circumstances altogether. When you are forced to try and cultivate that spark and you realize that it is much harder than you think, divorce lingers on the mind.
We have become a society that values individuality, which can be a good thing. This does have some drawbacks, mainly in relation to making sacrifices for another party. Sometimes, when a person has spent so much of their life sacrificing for another, they want their years to be invested in themselves again. They want to pursue their dreams, and that causes conflict in the relationship. More and more, baby boomers are attaining this perspective, and it is causing many to think about divorce as a solution to their situation.
We are experiencing so much value placed on health, and because of that, we are living longer. This causes individuals to re-think and re-decide their commitments at a later age in life. They are beginning to take advantage of the fact that 50 is not as old as it used to be, and go for the dreams they may have put on hold during their 30’s and 40’s.
It is ironic, but the longer we live, the more time we must spend trying to reinvent ourselves. Sometimes individuals find this need later in life, and it can lead to life changes such as divorce to help them find what truly makes them happy.
Addiction can be the true destroyer of a relationship. An individual with a dependency that controls their life can feel like a liability, and that is not conducive towards a healthy relationship. It is all about working together, and if the couple cannot see eye-to-eye, then someone else’s habits can wear the relationship down. It is when individuals put their habits before those that they love that divorce becomes the tool to solve the situation they are in. It is truly difficult, but worth it if the couple cannot find common ground and depend on each other for happiness.
We want to leave you with the implications of Grey Divorce. Ultimately, it might not be a bad thing. One important point to remember is the fact that divorce is not a failure. It is the beginning of progress. Many times, everyone involved can feel like they are losing the game when life is game where change is always inevitable. It is important to remember that children, no matter how old or young, can internalize the process and feel just as broken as the parents.
The difficulty does not stop there. The division of assets and worth can subsequently divide a family even more, and that is why our lawyers take special care with each situation. We want to remind you that if you are thinking about divorce, talk to one of our attorneys. Their experience can become your advantage. Most of all, you should not feel like a failure. Life is filled with change, and the worth of anything is not directly tied to how long it lasts. On the other side of change exist possibilities that we cannot immediately see. We believe that change is always good, eventually.