After decades of marriage, many couples over the age of 50 here in Massachusetts and across the nation are deciding to go their separate ways. What is driving the gray divorce phenomenon gripping the country despite the fact that the divorce rate is actually dropping? Could it be as simple as boredom and incompatibility?
For some couples, it is that simple. They grow apart over the decades, but may not notice while they continue to raise children. Once they are alone again, they cannot seem to find their way back to each other.
The ever-growing longevity of the population also plays a factor. When people failed to live as long as they can now, the prospect of staying together despite these issues was not as daunting as it is now. After three or four decades of marriage, the thought of staying in that marriage another two or three decades may be more than one or both parties can bear.
Individuals realize they have years ahead of them to live as they want, not as they do in their current relationship. Since women now earn their own income or receive lifelong alimony, they feel they can leave a marriage with some financial autonomy. In addition to these reasons, the more common ones that tend to apply to most couples still apply. Issues such as infidelity, abuse and more still contribute. It is just that older Massachusetts couples whose marriages lasted for decades tend to have reasons unique to their situations as well.
Even the issues that must be dealt with during a gray divorce are somewhat unique to their age group. For instance, issues regarding children probably do not exist, but issues regarding finances, retirement and health insurance take a larger role. Even so, the goal in every divorce is for each party to walk away from the marriage with the tools needed to move forward with a secure financial future.