No age group can claim to be “divorce-free,” and many spouses over age 50 may experience a breakup. The so-called “gray divorce” phenomenon affects a wide range of couples. Some may be newly married and suffer through their second or third divorce. Others might choose to dissolve their marriages after decades together. Each marriage has unique reasons for a divorce, but some common ones appear repeatedly.
The time comes for a gray divorce
A surprising factor about gray divorces is the numbers have increased dramatically over the past three decades. Since 1990, the number of gray divorces has doubled while younger persons experience lower rates of divorce.
One factor that contributes to gray divorces is “empty nest syndrome.” That is, children grow up and move out of the house. The two parents might have long ago started drifting apart, but the presence of children in the home kept everyone together. Once the children become adults and leave, spouses might have no reason to remain together. A divorce may soon follow.
Of course, there are other reasons why an older couple may separate. Irreconcilable differences may be the cause, which means the couple no longer get along and have drifted far apart.
Further reasons for a gray divorce
Financial matters could drive a wedge between married couples, especially when one spouse worries more about retirement. Does one spouse spend far too much money than is necessary? If so, the other spouse could worry about having a retirement nest egg. Financial concerns may lead a spouse to file for divorce.
Serious matters, such as mental or physical abuse, infidelity, and chemical dependency may drive a spouse away. These problems might not go away, and a spouse leaves the marriage. Such instances could be more common than believed.