Late life or “silver” divorce is becoming more common than ever. According to the National Center for family and marriage research at Bowling State Green University in Ohio, in 2014 people age 50 and above were twice as likely to go through a divorce in 1990. There are many reasons why people in this particular age range are making such a big life change later in life. One thing that is clear is a lot changed since the Baby Boomers starting getting married which has led to a higher amount of silver divorces.
One reason for these changes is the fact people got married at a younger age back in the 50’s. Nowadays people are marrying later in life, resulting in marriages that are more mature and likely to last. The median age of marriage in the 1950’s was 23 for men and 20 for women. Marrying as early as they used to can hinder creating a lasting marriage for multiple factors. It is hard to determine that young what type of person you are compatible with if you are choosing your partner so early in life. Early marriages make it harder for you to build a life of your own like making friends, career choices and even traveling.
Another reason late-life divorce is more common is the fact that people’s life expectancies have increased dramatically over the years. People who used to die sooner are living 30+ more years and do not want to remain in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling their needs. People do not care to stay married if their relationship is no longer loving or rewarding. The thought process is that there is no point to remain married for 30 more years if you are no longer happy.
Being separated or divorce does not hold the stigma it once did. Divorce was once frowned upon and you were heavily judged on ending your marriage, and now divorce can be considered the new “norm” while staying together is fewer and far between. People now embrace divorce more than ever because staying in an unhappy marriage takes away from the quality of your life.
Another reason silver divorce is on the rise is due to change of status for women. According to AARP, about 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women after age 40. Women are liberated, empowered and embrace independence now more than ever, which is why many women do not feel the need to remain in “good enough” marriages. The opportunity to search for other partners is limitless between all the social platforms we have to use at our disposal.
Late life divorce means the kids are all grown and that the parents no longer feel the pressure to stay together for their children. At this point in older adults lives the children no longer dictate whether parents remain married or not. Many of these older couples divorcing want to remain good role models and feel divorcing is a choice they make for their happiness. The bottom line is that people want to be happy and want to continue to increase the quality of their lives for years to come.