You may have heard that more people in their senior years are getting divorced than in the past. "Gray divorce" is the label for this increasing trend, which may have you worried about your own situation.
The truth is that, although the rate has significantly climbed for this age group, overall it is still low in comparison to other age groups. It is not so much that seniors are more at risk for divorce than younger generations. The real risk factors, says Psychology Today, are as follows.
The term for sticking it through something hard just for the sake of avoiding conflict or other consequences is white-knuckling. Many older people got married during a time when society greatly stigmatized divorce. Staying together for the sake of appearances, personal beliefs or children was very common, even when facing domestic violence.
However, not only is divorce less of a taboo now, but society also encourages people to get out of abusive, unhealthy or unhappy relationships. This decrease in shame, along with children no longer at home, has led to many seniors finally ending marriages they wanted to leave decades ago.
A major risk factor across all demographics is a previous divorce. Those who are in a subsequent marriage have higher rates of divorce, and the shorter the length of the marriage, the more likely couples are to split. This fact holds true among older couples, especially as those of advanced years have had more time for life experiences, such as a first divorce and remarriage.
When it comes to seniors, those who are wealthy stick together more. There are a few possible reasons for this:
- Being able to afford marital counseling
- Having more assets to lose in a divorce
- Wanting to maintain the enjoyment of financial stability
- Experiencing fewer financial troubles that can rock a marriage
Of course, none of the traits are a guarantee of divorce. It is a very personal decision based on more factors than just these. It takes research and guidance to know if divorce is right for you.