Are you over 50 years old and thinking about getting a divorce? You are not alone. More and more older couples are getting divorced. Deborah Moskovitch, author of The Smart Divorce writes an interesting blog in the Huffington Post about this phenomenon. She says we shouldn’t be surprised because the reasons for marriage have changed and the stigma of divorce has diminished.
Deborah writes in her blog the following:
“Women wanted someone to take care of them, men wanted to be in a position of power. Today, as more women become financially independent, looking to be taken care of is no longer what many are seeking. Rather, both women and men want an equal partnership in the relationship, and a best friend. Of course, there are many other factors resulting in the breakdown of the marriage, I don’t want to over simplify it. But, if you consider how expectations surrounding marriage have changed over the last few decades, and the thought of no longer becoming a social outcast upon divorce, these are some influencing factors behind the increasing divorce rate amongst couples in long term marriages.”
Of course, another factor is simply that as the baby boomer generation grows older, of course, the number of divorces of older people grows greater too. Baby boomers represent about 29% of the population of the United States.
Deborah points out that the stigma of divorce has diminished which suggests it is an easier decision for older couples to make now than it was in the past. While it is true that the stigma has diminished, I have never met anyone, especially those in the baby boomer generation, who have taken divorce lightly. It continues to be an isolating, painful process.
In the past, there was great admiration given to those couples who stayed married “till death”. I feel that if two people can find a way to stay happy together for many years, it is wonderful but if they are miserable and “stick it out”, I don’t see what there is to celebrate. Frankly, I never understood why staying in a relationship that was terrible was worthy of admiration. What’s the point?
People change. The challenge is to find ways to change together and to give each other the room you need to grow and renew. This can take a lot of work and patience. Sometimes it just is impossible.
My parents were married 54 years when death separated my father from my mother. I think they were happy together throughout their marriage. I hope to reach the same plateau. I look forward to 50 more years of matrimonial bliss. I’ll be 99 years old! Wow!