A few decades ago, there wasn’t a special term for divorces among those close to or past the age of retirement. However, they have become so common that now there are multiple terms used to describe these later-in-life divorces. A gray divorce or silver splitter occurs when those over the age of 50 decide their marriage shouldn’t be a part of their golden years.
In fact, the rates of divorce among those over the age of 50 have doubled in the last 32 years, and experts estimate it will triple by 2030. Gray divorces have a tendency to be very complicated because couples have spent many years amassing property and financial responsibilities together. Emotions can also run high as both sides have to make major changes to their expectations in life.
Why are gray divorces increasingly common?
The stigma around divorce has dropped
One of the biggest contributing factors to more people seeking divorce is the fact that divorce no longer results in social ostracization or a loss of opportunities. Although some people will lose a portion of their social connections when they divorce, many new opportunities will inevitably arise.
People live longer now
There was a time when people did not expect to enjoy very many years of retirement, but Americans now live for a decade or more after retiring. The idea of spending the next 25 years or more in a relationship that leaves you feeling unsatisfied could be a miserable thought. The thought of aging peacefully on your own may be much more appealing than remaining with someone who unsettles your mood.
People want more from life
Long gone are the days when the idea of struggling by in an unhappy marriage seemed like the right thing to do. Most people these days recognize that there is greater value to be had in pursuing fulfillment and happiness even if it means making some big changes.
You can recognize that a decision that may have been right earlier in your life, especially if the two of you raised beautiful children together, may no longer be the right choice for either of you. Regardless of why you find yourself thinking about gray divorce and why they are now so common, there are many special considerations you need to learn about if you intend to divorce later in life after a long-term marriage.
Educating yourself about the reality of modern divorce will take the fear out of pursuing happiness in your golden years.