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    Divorce and Age

    By Kristen Houghton     

    At the end of my couples seminar the woman who had organized the workshops approached me. After telling me how much she had enjoyed all the workshops presented that day, she said,

    “There’s something that is never included in these workshops, though. No one ever discusses the divorce rate of couples over a certain age. I think you might have a good topic here for a future seminar.”

    She went on to tell me that she was sixty-two and recently had filed for divorce. The marriage had lasted forty years. I was surprised by the fact that after that amount of time, she felt divorce was necessary. She laughed and said,

    “It’s happening more and more. People still have a lot of life to live and forty years goes by like nothing.”

    Her words piqued my curiosity. After doing some research I was astounded by what I found. In 2006 the divorce rate among Americans over fifty was triple what it had been in the early 1990’s. Longevity of marriage was no longer a factor in staying together, nor was age. With both men and women working longer, changing careers in mid-stream, and pursuing personal goals, remaining in a marriage that wasn’t working ceased to be an option.

    Women are the ones most likely to file for divorce after long marriages of thirty to forty plus years. Unlike their mothers and grandmothers before them, they are unwilling to remain in unhappy or unfulfilling marriages. With a good twenty-five to thirty years of healthy active life ahead of them, they are taking a hard look at the person with whom they will be spending it. They refuse to spend quality time in a miserable marriage.

    Happily, reaching a “certain age” doesn’t mean what it did in the past for women. They are active, working, and vibrant, completely capable of taking care of themselves financially. Remaining in a “marriage of convenience” for security purposes is no longer the case.

    But why wait thirty or forty years before you decide that you no longer want to be married? I called the woman who had first broached the topic of older divorce to me. She answered my question this way.

    “We were involved in raising our children, creating careers, and basically, we functioned quite well because we were always busy. We grew apart, and the little verbal jabs he would give me about my future plans were no longer tolerable. I’ve become a different person and want to explore new ventures; he doesn’t. I want to enjoy the rest of my life and I will not be able to do so with him. I want a happy life.”

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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