18 Reasons Why More People Over 50 Are Divorcing

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By Darryl Henderson

Now more than ever, people over 50 are choosing to get a divorce rather than stick it out. Also known as ‘gray divorce’, there are many reasons why people opt for this path. Here are some of the top 18 reasons why more couples are choosing to get divorced over 50.

Increased Life Expectancy

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Sure, marriage is for life, but what about when life lasts longer than you expected? For a lot of people, longer marriages often result in longer periods of dissatisfaction. The reality is that most people feel more confident starting over in the bid for happiness after 50 than ever before.

More Financial Independence

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It used to be that women in marriage depended on their spouses for income. A lot has changed in the modern world, including that more people within this age group have solid savings and retirement plans. Financial stability means that they don’t need to stay in a marriage.

Empty Nest Syndrome

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Empty nest syndrome after children have moved out results in feelings of anxiety and sadness, according to Psych Central. Once couples are left alone with time to themselves, it can often unearth marital issues or force them to face the fact that they now have different goals.

The Desire for Personal Growth

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Life doesn’t end after 50, after all, and many older people are seeking new opportunities or even returning to education. That desire for new personal interests may create a wedge between spouses if these new goals don’t align, and many choose to go their separate ways.

Changing Social Norms

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Divorce used to be a very taboo subject, but it’s become more socially acceptable in recent generations. This larger acceptance of divorce means that many couples over 50 are more willing to choose that path to escape their unhappy marriages.

Improved Health and Vitality

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Improved health and fitness levels in those over 50 mean that they feel more motivated and confident about starting over if they no longer want to stay married. This focus on health and well-being means they have a different perspective on life satisfaction.

Lack of Communication

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Lack of communication can destroy any relationship, but even more so if there have been unresolved issues for over 50 years. Often, problems can be irreparable at this age, and many people aren’t willing to try any longer. It’s that emotional disconnect that can then prompt divorce.


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Those over the age of 55 are more likely to have an affair than millennials, says Good Housekeeping. Thanks to the modern world, infidelity has never been easier due to dating apps and online conversations. Once the trust is gone, divorce can be the only option.

Retirement Adjustments

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Those still married after retirement age face a lot of adjustment in life, and this can often make or break couples. Spending more spare time together can expose marital issues or even different ideas of what retirement life should look like. These differences can lead to divorce.

The Desire for Happiness

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There’s a growing focus on personal happiness and fulfillment in life these days, especially in regard to mental well-being. Many people are waking up to the fact that life is too short to waste with someone you’re not happily married to; therefore, the pursuit of happiness can swiftly equal divorce.

Reconnecting with an Old Flame

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Social media has made it considerably easy to find someone from your past. Ex-partners might track you down, especially if you have mutual acquaintances. The potential to reconnect with people you used to know and love can make it easier to give them a second chance or reconsider your own marriage.

Midlife Crisis

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Don’t know whether you’re having a midlife crisis? Forbes lists some signs as feelings of boredom, excessive spending, and – you guessed it – marriage infidelity. This crisis can trigger people to reevaluate their lives, which includes whether they want to stay with their spouse.

Different Interests

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Different interests and hobbies can develop over time, and over 50, it’s more likely that this can be disruptive, especially if it results in a big lifestyle change. Those with separate paths when it comes to hobbies might then share less and less time together, resulting in growing apart.

Health Issues

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If serious health issues arise later in life, it’s more likely that spouses will have to be the caregivers. Despite ‘till death do us part’, this can put a strain on many marriages. Emotional and physical exhaustion or extreme changes in day-to-day living may result in divorce.

Personal Rediscovery

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The time after 50 is often viewed as the most common time for self-reflection. This journey of self-discovery can lead to wanting different things or a different identity outside of the marriage. The overwhelming desire to explore new opportunities can drive a wedge between couples.

Financial Stress

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CNBC reports that 77% of Americans feel financial stress, and this anxiety can likely increase when reaching retirement age. Financial problems and tension over spending habits can ultimately come to a head, which may lead to couples calling it quits.

Unrealistic Expectations

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Many people have an idea of how they want their marriage and life to be by the time they reach the age of 50. However, often, their expectations can be unrealistic or not met by their spouse. A romanticized view of life can lead to marriage disappointment and divorce.

Newfound Freedom

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Lastly, a greater sense of freedom can result in many people over 50 feeling more capable of making a choice to leave a marriage. Reaching this age means a sense of freedom after children have grown up or when career obligations are dying down. Too much freedom can, therefore, sometimes lead to divorce.

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