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Why are more older couples deciding to divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2019 | Divorce |

The rate at which couples over 50 are divorcing has increased significantly over the years.

In fact, the rate of divorce for baby boomers has nearly doubled since 1990. This may not be new information, but it still leaves many people wondering: why are more individuals over 50 seeking a divorce?

What are the reasons behind this increasing trend?

Of course, everyone is different. Every couple over 50 has their own reasons for seeking a divorce. However, many reports have determined there are a few common reasons behind this particular trend, including:

  • Changing views about divorce: Society’s views about divorce have changed significantly, especially since the mid-1900s when there was a significant stigma surrounding divorce. The mid-1900s was when individuals who are now over 50 were growing up. Nowadays, with less of a stigma, it is commonplace for individuals to leave a relationship if they are unhappy or the relationship is unhealthy.
  • Financial independence: In decades past, women were not often financially independent from their husbands. Either they did not work while raising children, or they earned much less compared to their male counterparts. That has changed significantly over the years. According to Susan Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, economic autonomy has led more women to feel confident in leaving an unhappy marriage.
  • Empty-nest syndrome: Many parents might feel lonely when their children move out of the house. However, the effects of the empty-nest syndrome might lead older couples to divorce, as it can cause a significant amount of stress between the parents.
  • Growing apart: This is often related to empty-nest syndrome. Parents might find that one of the primary things they had in common was their children. When children move out, spouses might find they no longer share similar values, goals or interests.
  • Longer life expectancies: Brown also reports that longer life expectancies could be another reason behind the increase in divorce among older couples. Couples might realize they want different things and want to live their longer life to the fullest, leading to divorce.

These reasons might not apply to a specific relationship, but they do seem to be influencing the overall trend of divorce over 50.