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3 Reasons Older Couples Decide They Need a Gray Divorce

Gardner Law Firm, P.C Aug. 19, 2022

The first years of marriage are often very challenging for new couples. Especially if they have never lived together before, they might struggle to adjust to cohabitation. After a couple has spent a few decades together, people tend to take their relationship for granted. Their friends and social circle will think of their relationship as a permanent arrangement.

However, in recent years, older adults have been divorcing at higher rates, sometimes even more frequently than recently married younger couples. Why are so many older adults calling it quits after living together for years?

They Have Grown Apart and Can No Longer Ignore It

When couples have children at home or are still working, they limit how much time they spend with one another. It can be easy to ignore the fact that their personalities have changed or that the dynamic between the two of them is no longer positive as it once was. After retirement or when the children leave home, married couples may have to come to terms with the fact that they no longer get along well with each other.

Their Expectations for Retirement Have Changed

Social attitudes about marriage and people’s golden years have changed a lot in recent decades. People may want to remain active or explore the world during their retirement. They may find themselves misaligned with their spouse if their goals include catching up on decades of reading they couldn’t do because of work or reconnecting with family and friends at home.

Even if you have discussed your expectations for retirement when you were younger, you may no longer see eye to eye about the best way to spend your golden years. Neither of you should have to completely compromise your standard of living or lifestyle for the other.

They Can No Longer Ignore Misconduct

Whether one spouse has a drinking problem or wastes money on gambling, retired spouses spending every day together will have a much harder time overlooking bad behavior.

Those on fixed budgets will be particularly vulnerable if their spouse is irresponsible with their shared resources. There may also be age-related changes in sex drive that lead to infidelity and drive a wedge between the two spouses.

While they may have ignored those behavioral issues when they were younger, now they feel like they are unavoidable and therefore a justification for moving on from an unhappy marriage.

If any of the situations described above feels personal to you, maybe time to evaluate your marriage and whether it is beneficial for you or damaging your financial stability and mental health. Realizing that gray divorce is an option could help those feeling trapped in an unhappy marriage during their retirement.