In the US, the divorce rate among people over the age of 50 doubled between 1990 and 2010.
In today’s society, mid-life breakups are more common than in previous generations. Susan L. Brown, director of the National Center for Marriage and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, USA, commented: “Today’s older adults are less likely to be ready to continue married life. marriage is more about personal happiness than in previous decades. Middle-aged people have very high expectations for what makes a successful marriage.”
So what is the main culprit leading to divorce at the age of gray hair?
Ms. Brown, founder and operator of the website Midlife Divorce Recovery, says that one of the biggest reasons for gray divorce is infidelity. This is the choice of one of the two partners when they discover that the other half is cheating on them, making them no longer intend to hold back for any reason. Brown believes that divorce helps her life become more independent and has more positive things, such as fun, new goals…
In the “Stress in America” 2020 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 64% of adults said money is a significant source of stress in their lives. Everyone has a different way of managing money, so conflicts are easy to arise.
Karen Covy, a divorce attorney in Chicago, says it’s not always about how much money a couple has. It is also the opinion of what money means to a spouse, are those views conflicting or not? For example, for people who like to spend money, money equates to freedom; while for savers, money represents safety. Spenders consider savers to be stingy, while savers may view spenders as wasteful. Another common conflict is that one person stays at home as a housewife, the other earns money for the family, and eventually the two have an intense conflict over their financial views. After many years, when the accumulated conflicts broke out, it was difficult for the two sides to avoid the breakdown.
Lack of communication
A study of couples’ behavior by the Gottman Institute found that there are four communication styles that cause the end of a relationship: critical, contemptuous, defensive, and “stoned.” In a husband and wife relationship, when one of these behaviors appears, between the two people, separation and psychological distrust are formed, which gradually leads to separation.
The nest is empty
In the summer of 2019, when his two daughters were grown, Mr. Dan Tricarico – American, 57 years old, realized that he and his wife really no longer needed each other. He found that in a relationship, when two people moved in different directions and had different priorities, there was no longer anything in common between them. That’s when the home, the two people built together, becomes empty and loses all emotional value.
When one of them no longer finds warmth in the house they built after many years, that tendency to leave develops. This could be the beginning for either side to find a new love, causing the marriage to fall apart.
Unresolved issues in the past
The conflicts and disagreements that have remained unresolved for many years can be like a smoldering fire, which will at some point explode, burn violently and break up a marriage.
Bernadette Murphy, 58, an American woman announced her divorce in 2021, after many years living with her husband. She said her friends were shocked when the couple announced their divorce. However, only she and her husband know the reason why they came to this choice after many times of brooding. She commented that the two have different views on life and are always incompatible, leading to many unresolved issues in the past.
According to psychologists, problems that are not resolved during life together can cause psychological inhibition, emotional damage, and threaten current happiness. Meanwhile, middle age is the time when each person bids farewell to one stage of life and welcomes another. Therefore, acknowledging and solving unresolved problems frees each person from the constraints that hold them back from complete comfort.
Thuy Linh (According to AARP)