Why is Gray Divorce on the Rise?

What is Gray Divorce?

Divorce among adults 50 or over is known as gray divorce.

When it comes to marriage and divorce, focus has been on the younger adults for so long. That focus is now shifting, or shall we say, has shifted. What’s up with that?

Age does not equate maturity in any area; else one could have concluded that the older one is in age, and marriage, the better. Or, the longer one knows one’s spouse, understand one another, the less likely they are to divorce. This is not so. According to the Pews Research, the divorce rate has doubled since the 1990s.

“In 2015, for every 1,000 married persons ages 50 and older, 10 divorced – up from five in 1990, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau. Among those ages 65 and older, the divorce rate has roughly tripled since 1990, reaching six people per 1,000 married persons in 2015.” The 2020 data is not yet available. The report also states that “a fair amount of gray divorces do occur among couples who have been married for 30 years or more … including about 1 in 8 who had been married for 40 years or more.

What is going on?

Reasons cited for gray divorce have included:

  • Being unhappy
  • Love lost / met someone new
  • Cheating and adultery
  • Wanting freedom
  • Lack of emotional support
  • Lack of connection after the children leave aka empty-nest syndrome
  • People change resulting in change of values
  • A lack of common interest
  • Lack of respect.

Are men being more selfish and self-centered?

Despite the reasons / excuses given, my take is that men who have been married longer take their wives for granted. Women have been noted to age faster than men before age 50. And, generally speaking, it is more common for a man to marry a much younger lady (at least 20 years and over) than the reverse for a second marriage. Having been married long, men put on the aura that their “wife isn’t going anywhere.” For the most part this is true, but they don’t stop there. As a result of this attitude, they begin to take the woman for granted, going out “with the boys,” coming home late, taking irregular and arbitrary solo travels or “business trips, including starting affairs and expect the wife to accept it. This is unfair and selfish of men who indulge in such. Any wonder why despite having been married for so long that the woman who won’t take it, opt for divorce?

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