Since the 1990s, the number of divorces for people over the age of 50 has roughly doubled, and tripled for adults 65 and older. Gray divorce is three times more likely for remarried couples than those in first marriages. Those who have been married for less than 10 years are ten times more likely to divorce than those married 40 years or more. Gray divorcees are also called “diamond or silver splitters.”
Reasons for Gray Divorce
Empty Nesters Syndrome
For some couples, the focus has always been on raising their children. When the children grow up and leave the home, the couple finds themselves with only each other for company. They realize that the person they once knew has changed and the buffers that kept them connected are long gone.
Financial insecurity for older people tends to be high. A partner’s overspending habits or mismanagement of funds may be a fast track to divorce simply because there’s less time to make up for blunders. And as women continue to become financially independent, they no longer have to choose between a lousy marriage and poverty.
Falling Out of Love
No matter how passionate or close a couple may have been in their younger years, sometimes they may grow apart or fall out of love. Older people are more willing to put an end to an unhappy marriage to get a sense of relief before it’s too late.
Differing Sex Drives
The desire for intimacy often wanes as people age. The sex drives of older couples may vary wildly, possibly leading to frustration, resentment, shame, and disappointment. The partner with the higher sex drive may find someone else who can help satisfy the carnal urge, while the partner with little sex drives may seek divorce to avoid the incompatibility and uncomfortable situation.
Baby boomers are healthier and living longer than generations before them. With access to excellent healthcare and activities to keep them physically, mentally, and psychologically active, people over 50 know they have time to pursue a happy relationship.
The stigma associated with cheating and divorce has gradually diminished. This has led those who have become unsatisfied with their marriages to stray and pursue their own interests. Some people develop “gray love” when they find someone who checks the boxes that the current spouse does not. Online dating has also given older people hope for better relationships, especially with younger people.