Recent statistics show that the divorce rate has increased significantly amongst couples who have been in long term marriages of 20, 30 years or longer. Just look at Tipper and Al Gore, Kurt and Martha Schrader, Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson, Sumner Redstone and Phyllis Gloria Raphael, are some couples that spring to mind. People seem to be scratching their heads and asking, if these couples have made their marriage work this long, why couldn't they last "till death do us part".
The result isn't really all that shocking, when you consider the reasons couples chose to marry have changed over the past 50 years, and that divorce has become more socially acceptable. Women wanted someone to take care of them, men wanted to be in a position of power. Today, as more women become financially independent, looking to be taken care of is no longer what many are seeking. Rather, both women and men want an equal partnership in the relationship, and a best friend. Of course, there are many other factors resulting in the breakdown of the marriage, I don't want to over simplify it. But, if you consider how expectations surrounding marriage have changed over the last few decades, and the thought of no longer becoming a social outcast upon divorce, these are some influencing factors behind the increasing divorce rate amongst couples in long term marriages.
I was recently interviewed on national television about the breakdown of long term marriages, or as some would call it, the grey divorce. This is the information I shared:
• Research shows us that more women than men are choosing to make the decision to
leave the marriage.
• Often times when women choose to leave, their husband's are blindsided by the
• Further, research tells us that women are more likely to leave the marriage for their own
emotional wellbeing, while men are more likely to leave for someone else.
• We are living longer, healthier, fitter lives. When adult children move out of the home,
leaving their parents to become empty nesters, you have many spouses in their 50's and
60's looking at their partner and saying to themselves - "I don't want to spend the next
20 or 30 years or more with you." Why?
o People have decided to no longer look the other way when there are issues of
infidelity, emotional abuse, and substance or alcohol abuse.
o Many couples have drifted apart during the child rearing years, and once the
children have left home, find they no longer have anything in common.
o Often times, many of these couples were living parallel lives during the marriage,
and now want a partner, not a roommate.
o There has been a lack of an emotional and/or intimate relationship.
o People have grown apart and their values no longer mesh.
o Many of these individuals want a best friend and companion with similar interests
and values to live out the rest of their lives; grow old and hold hands.
If you feel your marriage, or relationship is deteriorating because you are no longer the priority, have lost that loving feeling and still love your partner - you're just not in love with him or her, then perhaps marriage counseling might put you back on track.
If you feel that divorce is the only option, you are not alone. Many others are deciding that the" good enough marriage" is no longer good enough.