What is “Gray Divorce?”
Time and time again we hear people saying that they want someone they can “grow old with.” So when you hear of couples that have been married for 20 plus years, it begs the question what could have transpired to end a marriage and result in a “gray divorce” which is a term that characterizes divorces of spouses over the age of 50.
Why Decades of Marriage Come to a Bitter End
“The 20-Year Itch”
After your kids move out of the house, it poses a milestone in a marriage. Now that you don’t have your children to focus on, it forces you to reevaluate not only your marriage, but your individual lives as well.
The aspect of resentment also plays a role in marriage. Maybe the husband had dreams and aspirations of becoming a teacher, but his wife was the breadwinner and she wanted him to focus on home life. Resentment can make anyone feel like they are trapped, and unsatisfied with their situation, making the ability to get out of it and starting over look more attractive and less stressful.
“We Just Grew Apart”
As cliché as this may sound, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a real reason why couples get divorced. With “gray divorces,” it’s normally some kind of event that happens slowly over time. For example, a couple may have been really active but now one spouse became adverse and has no desire to do the things they used to do together as a couple. Whether it’s biking, ballroom dancing, or watching a movie together, when that flame goes out, it can be hard to relight it.
Growing apart also ties in with boredom in a marriage. It really puts meaning behind those vows of “till death do you part.” Being around the same spouse for so long has led some couples to stop trying. They stop interacting, communicating, and doing the little things that made them fall in love with each other in the first place. For a lot of couples, it really is the little things that count, and when you don’t have that, what else do you have?
The contrast in income and spending habits can drive any marriage to a screeching halt. One spouse might be more cautious and put their financial focus on saving, while the other spouse is more extravagant and wants to spend more than what’s financially available. These issues are very prevalent with shared accounts and debts. We have always heard the saying, “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.” Well, that saying is exactly what can lead a marriage to turmoil.
When Enough is Enough
Having to face the reality of a divorce can be quite heartbreaking for both spouses. The truth is that not all marriages are meant to last forever — despite how bad you want that “happily ever after” ending to your marriage’s story. If you have exhausted all other options to attempt to save your marriage, and nothing has helped, then it’s time to seek legal support and guidance to help you through the process of filing for divorce. Even though this approach may be difficult, it can also be a time for self-reflection and actually serve as a time to reinvent your life for the better.
If the fear of expensive lawyers and cold courtrooms are holding you back, Alternative Divorce Resolutions (ADR) could be the compromise you need. There are three process options that provide alternatives to a litigated divorce. They are mediation, negotiated settlement, and collaborative divorce. Each of these options offers healthier and less toxic alternatives to the traditional divorce proceedings.
For a free video consultation to discuss your options call us at 516-308-2922.