Why Are So Many Older Couples Getting Divorced?

More and more seniors are getting divorced these days. But why?


“Gray divorce,” also sometimes called “silver divorce” refers to the divorce of couples in their retirement, or senior years. Until recently it was a relatively rare phenomenon, but in recent years the number of older couple parting ways has increased dramatically. In fact, divorce among people aged 55 to 64 doubled between 1990 to 2012, and has been rising steadily since.


So does anyone know what’s causing this rise in late-life divorce? Is there an explanation for why so many older couples are parting ways, in many cases after decades of marriage to one another? There are a few theories. Let’s take a look…


More older people are cheating on each other these days!


According to research done by NORC at the University of Chicago, the number of seniors having extramarital affairs has risen steadily in recent years. In fact, at the most recent count, 20% of older survey participants confessed to cheating on their spouses, while only a surprising 14% of people under 55 admitted to unfaithfulness. And why is that?


One theory for the increase in “silver infidelity” is that with the affordability and availability of erectile dysfunction drugs, engaging in regular and satisfying sex is now possible for many more people. Another suggestion that’s been made, is that this generation was raised by the “free love” parents of the sixties. As a result, having “rebelled” against their upbringing by pursuing monogamy for decades, they’re now slowly coming around to a little sexual discovery of their own. In truth though, no one really knows why.


Divorce is no longer as taboo as it once was in former years.


Many marriages fail, that’s a widely known fact, but statistically, more of those divorces were among the younger crowd, where the stigma attached to divorce has long since faded away. However, that mentality is spreading, and divorce is no longer considered a social taboo the way it once was. (There was a time in history when a divorced person, especially a woman, was a social pariah after she got divorced, and was assumed to have done something wrong to cause the ruination of her marriage!)


Many people stay together for the kids, or during the working years.


Many people who find themselves in unhappy or unfulfilling marriages, choose not to leave their spouses because they have kids. The belief that children do better with two parents and an intact home has kept many unhappy couples together. However, once the kids have “grown and flown” there’s little reason to stay together, and more and more couples are divorcing as their kids leave home and go on to start their own adult lives.


For some couples, the reason to part ways has more to do with work than children. Once they retire, and are suddenly spending more and more time together, they discover that they don’t enjoy each other’s company anymore. Retirement offers a new lease on life, and starting over in the golden years with a new partner, or with new freedom, can be very appealing to some older people.


Whatever age you choose to get divorced at, do it right!


At The Kronzek Firm, our experienced family law attorneys have helped many couples, regardless of their age or circumstances, with their divorces. So if you or a loved one have decided that it’s time to close this chapter of your life and move on to something else, we’re here to help you prepare for that next stage in your life. Call us at 866 766 5245 to discuss your future today. We’re here to help.