Gray Divorce: Who is at Risk?
It’s pretty rare these days to see a couple reach their golden anniversary (50 years), much less the diamond (60) or platinum (70). With more people living longer, you might expect more of these impressive marriage durations, but it turns out the higher divorce rate doesn’t just affect 20-somethings or middle-aged couples experiencing mid-life crises.
Gray divorce is a growing phenomenon affecting couples that have been married for decades. You might find it hard to believe, but the rate of divorce for couples that have been married for over two decades is double the number affecting younger couples. Why is this happening? Is your long-term union at risk? What can you do to prevent gray divorce?
Why is Gray Divorce So Common?
There are any number of reasons why a marriage might fall apart after many years. One of the biggest contributors to many divorces is financial difficulties. Over the course of a marriage, couples can rack up a lot of debt from buying a home, raising a family, sending kids to college, and more. If spouses aren’t on the same page when it comes to spending or paying down debt, it can lead to a rift in the marriage.
By the same token, both partners may have similar earning potential. In decades past, women might have stayed in unfavorable marriages because they didn’t have the means to support themselves. This is less common today, and as a result, women may be more likely to leave an unfulfilling marriage.
Another common reason older couples divorce is that they simply aren’t the same people they were when they married. People can change and grow in ways they never expected over the course of two or more decades, and their goals and ideals may change along the way. Even couples that agreed to a course of action at the beginning of their marriage may grow apart in the long term.
Are You at Risk?
Plenty of people tell you marriage is hard work, but few understand what that means. It means making a lifelong commitment to working with the other person toward common goals. It means loving and respecting one another, even when you don’t agree, and finding ways to be loving and kind, rather than taking the other person for granted. It means trying to work things out, even when you’d rather hit the road.
If you find that you can no longer relate to your spouse, that your interactions are perfunctory, or worse, that you’re fighting all the time, your relationship could be at risk. If there’s no happiness or love in a marriage, or partners are going down different paths, fixing the situation may seem impossible, or alternatives like divorce might seem preferable.
What Can You Do?
The best place to start is by finding a way to discuss problems with your spouse, and this often means going to counseling. Couples develop patterns over time and they can be hard to break out of without help. A marriage counselor can get to the heart of these issues and help you determine if salvaging the relationship is possible.
If you’re at the end of your rope, it may be time to consult with a qualified divorce attorney. Contact the professionals at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 for legal help and advice.
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