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  • Writer's pictureLJW

The Color Gray

Life is good. You’re breezing along now, having adjusted to the empty nest, with a good job and comfortable finances. Out of the blue, your husband comes home and says he wants a divorce. Whoa, what? Your world just came to a full stop.

Gray divorce is on the rise. The divorce rate for people age 50 and older has doubled, with this part of the population making up a growing share of U.S. marital splits. By 2015, one in four people getting divorced was 50 or older, up from one in ten in 1990, according to sociologist Susan Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University.* A younger friend of mine was totally stumped by this statistic. Why, after so many years of adjusting to someone, would there be divorce when reaching age 50, 60, or beyond?

Some reasons:

  • The failure of the marriage may have begun long before the day your husband (or you) asked for divorce. That’s the case with mine anyway. I guesstimate, in hindsight, mine was about 20 years before the divorce was final. Nevertheless, it was an earth shaking revelation to me that divorce was eminent. It changed the course of the rest of my life.

  • Some women have accepted marital abuse in one form or another, due to raising the kids and needing the financial help during those years. When the kids leave, the marriage has not provided the support and care to keep going.

  • We are all living longer! This means that when you reach your 60’s you think ahead to life twenty years in the future or so. That’s a long time, and spending your last days with someone you no longer love or can be with, makes gray divorce a heavily considered option.