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Grey Divorce – Why Do People Break Up After a Lifetime Together

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A beautiful couple, countless wedding anniversaries, life in plenty, successful kids – isn’t it a perfect picture of luckily married people? Everyone sees such relationships as an example to follow, wisdom to learn from, and then “Bang!”, the happily-ever-after couple gets a divorce, leaving everyone around in dismay. Why would such devoted partners file for “grey” divorce having spent so many years together? 

Grey divorce, as a term, was coined back in 2004, to refer to a rising trend of divorces for those who are over 50. It may seem like a weird decision, however, in many cases, it’s just inevitable. 

Why do people opt for grey divorce?

Less impact of social stigma

Divorce has been taken as wrongdoing for ages, as couples united by marriage should learn to withstand all the life turbulencies together, growing stronger and closer. Sounds romantic and honorable, indeed. Yet, such a principle makes people miserable and unhappy. It is natural to discover that partners are different while being a married couple. However, instead of letting each other go, and staying friends (while it is still possible), they keep annoying each other just for the sake of marriage, love, or family restrictions, but not for love. And then, suddenly, half of life is gone, without the real feeling of marital happiness.

Luckily, our society has made a huge step toward improvement, accepting the idea of divorce as one of the life matters, and not just for young couples, but for the grey-splitters as well. 

Obesity

As weird as it sounds, excessive weight can be just the last straw for those who were waiting for the divorce but didn’t dare do that given the time spent together. If the reasons have been accumulating for years, 50+ extra pounds will just top up the list and aggravate the situation in general. While getting older, we tend to become smarter, yet the facial features may lose their attractiveness. Besides, excessive pounds cause health problems, which just become a burden for a partner. 

Poor sexual life

Sexual activity typically decreases with age – when reaching a certain age men and women can face loss of sexual libido. Instead of having an open talk, and meeting a specialist, couples just keep the dissatisfaction inside, building up walls of misunderstanding. 

Sexual life can be reverted back to a normal state by taking medication, taking up sports, and talking through all personal issues. However, instead of checking nowgreenhealth24x7.com for help, or contacting sexologists, people just break up, leaving all the issues unresolved.

Too much time together

Strangely enough, this is a common reason for filing a divorce. When being young, we crave more quality time with our significant others, yet, have a look at the pace of life: work-kids-routine-work. Looks like a non-stoppable cycle where there is no place for just the two of you. As a result, the connection is lost, and there are fewer things to discuss, which leads to gaps in communication. 

And finally, the partners are both retired, there is plenty of time to dedicate to each other, and there are no kids who steal all the attention, however, it doesn’t work anymore. The core of a life-long relationship is created by communication; if it is lost, people become strangers to each other. And that can become a serious ground for a divorce, as the house of a couple is turned into a house with strangers. 

No children-related ties 

A lot of families are created not because people want to spend the rest of their life together, but just because they want to have kids. This is actually a great reason, as kids fill our lives with joy and make it meaningful. As a rule, they would make the center of the family’s life and efforts for years, propelling all the home-based activities. Yet, when kids leave the nest, the house becomes empty, and the partners simply don’t know what to do together, and how to co-exist. Such a miserable situation brings nothing but an idea of a divorce. 

No more rose-colored glasses

People tend to find excuses for everything that their partner does, often saying that “it could be worse”. However, when reaching a specific point in life, this negative-based happiness doesn’t work anymore, and changes into “I want it different and better”. Besides, we often turn a blind eye to some misdeeds, because “We have kids together”, “I can’t live alone”, “He/She isn’t that bad”, “It isn’t always bad”, “At least I’m married”, etc. When in the 50s, all the oblivion suddenly disappears and we need to see the reality, which is often heartbreaking. 

How to save the marriage?

There can be numerous tips on saving the relationships like talking to the therapist, finding some useful hobbies together, traveling together, etc. However, the first and foremost thing to remember: a conversation. Learn to talk to each other and listen to your partner while talking, ruin all the communication walls, stop all the silence wars, and have a sincere talk about everything that worries you. Honesty opens up hearts and gives a chance to see the problem from a different perspective. Unless there is a reason to stay together, it is better to have two happy individuals, than a couple full of hatred.


Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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