After years together going about each other’s daily routine, retirement can end up being a stressor in many marriages. Divorce for couples over 50 has been coined “gray divorce.” With children grown and living away from home, combined with either or both partners retired and home all the time, irritation can reach peak levels.
Why breakup now?
Many divorces at this age are initiated by women. An example of many stories goes like this: during the day while her husband was at work, she had the house to herself. She created routines for getting things done, had alone time to pursue hobbies or spend time with friends. With the children gone, and her husband retired and home all the time with her, her routine has been disrupted.
Many wives complain that their retired husbands expect them to find things to do. These women start to feel they no longer share things in common, that their husband is boring, and that the relationship has outgrown them in every way.
The modern state of marriage
Divorce rates for couples over 50 has dramatically increased in the last 25 years, with the rate of divorce since 1960 increasing 700%. There are many reasons for this, one of which is the longer life span of people compared that in the 1960’s, and also that divorce has become more socially acceptable.
However, there are some factors that make gray divorce more likely to occur.
- Partners who do not work or volunteer outside the home away from each other.
- Persons in a second or subsequent marriage are significantly more likely to split up.
- Being married to your spouse for 10 years or less at age 50.
The rate of gray divorce is still much less than it is for those couples under 50, who are 50% more likely to end up divorced. Thirty years of data suggest that individuals in their first marriage, who married later in life, and have been married for many years are substantially less likely to experience marital instability and divorce than other groups.
The economic and social role of marriage has changed dramatically over time. As a result, many people seeking a gray divorce are looking to enjoy their freedom in the twilight of their lives. Regardless of the reasons why these breakups occur, if you are considering getting a divorce and are retired, you should consult with an attorney and explore ways to create independent financial stability.