Do I have an opinion on Gray Divorce?
You bet. And if you’re not sure what gray divorce refers to, it’s divorcing at midlife or later, which is a growing problem in our divorce-happy society.
Why do I care? You could say I’ve been living it, though technically I didn’t qualify at the time of my divorce. You could also say I know many women who are living it and with many challenges. While some are better off emotionally, most are far worse off financially.
Does that constitute “data?” Clearly it doesn’t. But let’s peek at just how significant a problem gray divorce is becoming.
It’s a big enough deal that we’re studying it, talking about it, reporting on it. It’s a big enough deal that The New York Times is getting in on the action.
Gray Divorce Statistics
The stats speak for themselves. A study from The National Center for Family & Marriage Research states:
“The divorce rate among adults ages 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2010. Roughly 1 in 4 divorces in 2010 occurred to persons ages 50 and older… Over 600,000 people ages 50 and older got divorced in 2010”
“The U.S. has the highest divorce rate in the world, with roughly 45% of marriages expected to end through divorce.”
Huffington Post reports on gray divorce, pointing out not only of the rise in incidents but the potentially dramatic financial consequences:
“Ending a marriage after 50 can be more financially burdensome than divorcing at a younger age, particularly because social security benefits and retirement funds come into play. And even though the national divorce rate has dropped in recent years, the divorce rate among baby boomers has nearly doubled.”
Life After Gray Divorce?
And think about the demographics! Imagine you’re 50 or 55, female, and trying to start over in the dating world. It’s not impossible but it’s a challenge.
Now add a few kids you’re still trying to raise. Think the men your age are looking for someone who remembers where they were when the Beatles played New York?
What about retooling for a new career, relocating, finding employment? Care to be 60, female, and looking for work in this economy?
Listen. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade. But when you divorce older you have less time to recoup. You can start again, especially with smarts, supportive community, and let’s face it – a nest egg.
Stay or Go? (Reasons for Leaving)
Should anyone be condemned to an abusive marriage?
Certainly not. And there are many kinds of domestic abuse, and they aren’t acceptable!
- But what if you’ve hit 30 years of marriage and you just can’t stand each other?
- What about those men and women who think the grass is greener elsewhere?
- How many grow lazy rather than trying to work out their marital problems?
- How many kick out a partner because of a single incident of infidelity, and oh by the way, at the prodding of friends?
Building back trust? Conquering bedroom boredom? Finding a way to talk to each other when there’s seemingly nothing to say?
Sure it’s difficult. Maybe it’s impossible. But gray divorce can mean lifelong repercussions – unless you’re fortunate in a working a secure job that will cover your bills, not to mention a solid financial position that provides you the latitude to split your assets, set up a new household, continue to afford health care, and recreate yourself a new social life.