I came across a term I haven't heard before: "Gray Divorce". I had to do some research and it inspired me to share it here.
Gray divorce refers to an "older" couple divorcing after a long term relationship, often after raising kids and finding themselves empty-nesters with nothing in common. It was originally used for couples who've been married for over 40 years - thus older and gray-haired, but now it's commonly used for baby boomers who've been married for 20-30 years - and that's why I'm using double quotes, as "older" here could mean someone in their 50ties.
There are many reasons, of course, why a couple like this might consider a divorce; retirement and aging can be stressful, people grow apart or realize they have nothing in common, having focused on raising kids they might need time to discover who they are now, as individuals, and not just a "mom and dad". Also, after 20-30 years together, resentment, upsets, withholds, past pain might catch up to you in a way that feels insurmountable.
The problem is that gray divorce is skyrocketing at a rate more than twice of any other age group. The rate of divorce for people over 50 has doubled since 1990, and will triple by 2030.
What made me sad is that most of the articles that were coming up were from lawyers with tips and advice on how to handle the divorce best. I guess most people assumed that it's the best option.
And I wonder ..... of course sometimes it's too late, but what if it isn't?
What about all the history, all the precious moments - what if it's not to late, not to go back but to create a whole new relationship with the same partner? Marriage 2.0.
Call me a romantic (I am) but I want to believe that it's possible to turn things around.
Sometimes people get stuck, they feel lost, they don't know how to find each other again. What if there was a map?
What if you could clear past resentments, re-build the friendship and intimacy, learn about each other - and grow together instead of growing apart? What if you knew how to? What if you had the tools and learned new skills, because of course if you just keep repeating the same patterns, the relationship won't get any better.
I think prevention is key here, building trust, being willing to work on this - I think it's worth it, and I see it all the time in my practice. People CAN turn things around. Couples counselling works, and it doesn't have to be a drag, it can be an adventure.
Marriage 2.0 can be stronger, more joyful and real than Marriage 1.0 has been in a very very long time. Intimacy might not look the same as when you were in your 20ties or 30ties, but it can be deeply connecting and fulfilling.
I'll finish with this quote"
"The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80."Dr. Robert Waldinger.
I want this for me and my marriage, and I want it for yours.
If you are looking for support in this area, feel free to send me your questions or schedule a free Couples Counselling or Individual Counselling consultation here.