Divorce 7 key Facts around Divorce After long Marriages

What you assumed you knew could not it is in true.

post September 25, 2018 | the evaluation by Gary Drevitch


When an older couple divorces, perhaps after numerous years that marriage, theories and rumors might swirl about them as extended family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and also casual acquaintances all struggle to make feeling of the split.

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Not lengthy after a lifelong girlfriend of mine left his wife of an ext than 40 years, a common friend was rapid with assumptions and also questions. “Are girlfriend going with a belated midlife crazy?” he asked. “Is there another woman? room you getting a red sporting activities car?” and also he laugh uneasily, amazed the our friend, a devoted family man, would perform such a radical point on the verge of turning 70.

My dear friend wasn’t laughing as he thought later about our friend"s comments and also the stereotypes these embodied. “I’m sure there are some older divorced men who execute fit the midlife stunner stereotype,” he claimed quietly. “But my take on the is this: you don’t leave a marriage of 4 or five decades on a whim or for anyone else. My wife and also I were unhappy for numerous years, however we loved our children. We also loved each other for a an extremely long time. We tried so hard. I left only as soon as I realized the my life was at stake — that the stress and anxiety of our unhappiness together was killing me slowly yet surely.”

There is a long list of things that civilization supposedly know about gray divorce: that the rate of those over 50 who room divorcing has doubled in less than 30 years, the such divorces take place in the wake of midlife craziness or after the colony has cleared or that only those rich sufficient to start over are willing to threat divorce later in life.

But according to some recent studies, the facts around gray divorce are rather different.

1. The gray divorce rate has doubled due to the fact that 1990, yet is still less common than divorce amongst those under 50. Many couples of our parents’ generation white-knuckled it through years of unhappiness fairly than endure the stigma that divorce. The baby Boomers, that started transforming 50 in 1996, can not use been rather so wake up to divorce — either in youthful or mature marriages. That may explain, at least in part, the increase in gray divorce. In 1990, 5 the end of 1,000 married people over 50 divorced. Through 2010, it to be 10 the end of 1,000. Yet the divorce price for those end 50 is still less than half the rate for those under 50: Just about one in four divorces in 2010 connected couples over 50.

2. The biggest risk factor for gray divorce is no a life shift (like an north nest), yet one’s marital past. According to a recent study, those who have been divorced before are more likely come divorce again, and those in marriages of shorter duration are an ext likely come divorce. Infant Boomers have aged right into the gray divorce zone, having actually been more likely to have divorced in their youth. Because that those over 50, the price of divorce for those who space in remarriages is 2.5 times higher than for those in an initial marriages. And those in remarriages of less than 10 year duration are practically 10 times more likely come divorce than those married 40 years or much more (28.6 divorce persons every 1,000 versus 3.2 per 1,000).

3. Family member wealth can be a security factor versus gray divorce. This goes against a long-held belief that a lack of sources keeps numerous unhappy couples together. While countless of us have actually seen couples who can’t afford to divorce or even to live apart, research studies of gray divorce display that those who divorce are much less likely to have actually college degrees or to it is in working. One study stressed that unemployment not retirement was present in countless older divorcing couples. It might well be the the financial emphasize of project insecurity and unemployment can tear some midlife marital relationships apart. It may additionally be that more affluent couples have an ext to shed in a divorce, or the the lack of gaue won woes have the right to keep a less-than-ideal marriage viable. It might be, too, that those with much more resources have much more options — choices like marriage counseling or structure essentially separate stays with busy occupational schedules.

4. As soon as a lengthy marriage ends, the seed of the marital fail may have actually been sown years before. As mine dear friend contends, lengthy marriages rarely end on a whim.

One client, a male who left his mam of 32 years after fall in love v a work colleague, says that his relocate was less impulsive than it looked. “I married the woman ns was claimed to marry when I was young,” that told me. “We common the very same faith. Our parents were friends. That was about it. We never ever did connect that fine emotionally or intellectually. And also especially after ~ the youngsters were grown, ns dreaded coming home. My getting connected with who else was a symptom, not the cause, that my marital relationship falling apart.”

For other couples, a festering resentment or issue unresolved for years may be in ~ the heart of a late-in-life divorce. “My husband and I to be happy with each other until he gained a job offer that required a cross country move,” another customer told me. “I deeply resented that move, also though i went along with it and made friends, increased our kids, and experienced some happy time in that brand-new location. Still, also though we ended up earlier in our hometown after some years, ns couldn’t avoid thinking around how mine life would have been therefore much far better if we had actually never relocated at all. And the anger and also resentment in between us just prospered over time until that’s all there was.”

5. Kids struggle v the reality of a parental divorce, every little thing their ages. While plenty of couples continue to be together until the children are grown, divorce is challenging on youngsters of any age and can negatively influence parent and adult son relationships. One examine found, because that example, that adult daughters may tend to blame fathers because that a gray divorce, and also that transforming family dynamics — like recently divorced mother becoming an ext dependent top top their children — also can negatively influence parent and adult child relationships.

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“I think you constantly hope her parents will continue to be together, no matter exactly how old friend are,” the 42-year-old daughter of a gray divorce told me. “You think the if they’ve controlled to placed up v each other all this years, they might just store on law that. I mean, because that the benefits of their children and grandchildren and the life they’ve developed together.”

6. Grief have the right to linger lengthy after a marriage ends, also when both agree the it’s far better to part. after an enlarge divorcee starts to acquire past few of the anger that driven him or her out of the marriage, that person still may grieve what was great — even if yes sir no inclination to walk back.

“I really believe I would certainly be dead if ns hadn’t left 6 years ago,” mine dear friend told me recently. “I nothing imagine ever before going back. Still, i grieve what might have been. Ours grandchildren have actually all been born because our split, and also it would have actually been wonderful to enjoy them together rather than separately. I miss the family members togetherness also though both mine ex-wife and I are healthier and happier apart.”

7. There deserve to be confident outcomes to late-in-life heartbreak. Sometimes improved health and happiness in a brand-new and different life is the confident ending. Sometimes the relief and peace of ending a tumultuous partnership is its very own reward. And sometimes recognize love again is the positive result of a painful process.

Many year ago, a college friend I’ll call Jenny damaged up v her high-school sweetheart Mike, since her parental strongly objected to his Catholicism. Jenny and Mike were heartbroken, but moved on with their lives. After college, castle both married and built families and also lives with various other people.

They reconnected more than 40 years later on — after his mam died, and also she had divorced after ~ a long and troubled marital relationship to one emotionally abusive alcoholic. A year after ~ rediscovering each other, castle married and recently celebrated their saturday wedding anniversary.

“Who might have guessed, ~ Mike shed his beloved wife to cancer, and also when i went with a stressful divorce after ~ a lengthy marriage, what happiness awaited us?” Jenny claims now. “We don’t look back with sore or regret, we simply live in our present happiness. Each day of our lives is a blessing.”

Susan L. Brown, et.al. Period variations in the divorce rate: 1990-2010. Family members Profiles, NCFMR, FD. 12-05.

Lin, I-F, Brown, S.L., Wright, M.R. Antecedents of gray divorce: a life course perspective. Newspaper of Gerontology 13, emotional Services and Social Services: 1022-1031. August 14, 2018.

Brown, S.L. And Lin, I-F. The gray divorce revolution: increasing divorce among middle-aged and older adult 1990-2010. Newspaper of Gerontology, collection B, emotional Services and Social Services, 67, No. 6: 731-741. October 9, 2012.

W.S. Aquilano. Later life divorce and also widowhood: impact on young adult evaluate of parent-child relationship. Newspaper of Marriage and also Family 56 (1994): 908-922.

Adam Shapiro. Later life divorce and also parent-child contact and proximity. Newspaper of Family concerns 24, No. 2 (2003): 264-285

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About the Author


Kathy McCoy, Ph.D.

See more: Did Miranda Lambert Win American Idol, Miranda Lambert

is psychotherapist, journalist, and speaker and also the writer of books including We Don"t speak Anymore: healing After Parents and also Their Adult Children come to be Estranged.