Ask the average married person in their fifties and sixties who the most likely candidates for divorce are, and they’ll probably point to the twenty and thirty-somethings. Makes sense, right? As it turns out, they’d be wrong. According to information provided by the United States Census Bureau, divorce rates are rising among the fifty- and sixty-something set at a surprising rate.
Statistics reveal that there are currently more people in their fifties and sixties who are alive and well now than there were in the past. Conversely, there are many more people in that same age category that are divorcing their spouses. But why? Why wait twenty, even thirty years to leave your spouse? Why end a marriage that has been around long enough for you to have several children and to raise them well into adulthood?
The fact is that no one is really sure why it’s happening. There has been a great deal of speculation, and numerous theories have been argued for why long term marriages are falling apart later in life.
Some of these theories include the fact that divorce now has less of a stigma than it did in former generations, which makes it easier for unhappy couples to part ways in their older years. Another suggestion is that the cultural idea of what exactly marriage is, is changing. Thus, people’s expectation of what their relationship should look like is changing as well.
Over time, people’s idea of what a good marriage should be has changed
Regardless of the whys and why nots, however, the facts remain the same – divorces are increasing among people in their fifties and sixties. Since 1990, the divorce rates for people in this age bracket have doubled, which is a significant increase indeed. This surprising increase in divorces can be seen in data tracked between 1990 and 2010. In 1990, only one in ten marriages ended in divorce among people in their fifties and sixties. In 2010, just twenty years later, that figure had jumped to one in four.
Another interesting fact is that while divorce rates among the general population have been in a slow decline since the 1980s, which some say is a direct extension of the fact that less people are getting married, divorce rates among the older generation has continued to climb steadily.
If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, and you are in the fifty to sixty-something age bracket, don’t waste time worrying about what others will think of you. More and more people in that same age category are pursuing happiness and fulfillment by leaving their unfulfilling marriages, so you don’t have to worry that you’re alone. Because as the data so clearly shows, you’re not!