Although divorce can occur at any stage of life, the prevalence of divorce after age 50 is increasing. Often called a gray divorce, the end of a marriage late in life brings new challenges and may have different motivators than divorce in early adulthood.
There are a few common reasons why couples pursue divorce later in life.
1. Changing dynamics
As people age, their priorities and goals shift. This often alters the dynamics of the relationship. Couples might find themselves struggling with the uncertainties of this new chapter. Sometimes this shift reveals that the goals and dreams you thought you shared have changed and diverged over time.
2. Communication breakdown
Communication is essential for a successful relationship. Poor communication can cause misunderstandings, unresolved conflicts and emotional distancing. Left unaddressed, these complications can make it difficult for couples to restore that connection. This may lead to a breakdown in the relationship.
3. Empty net syndrome
Couples who spent decades raising children may feel uncertain about how to move forward when they reach the empty nest stage. Once the children move out, you might find that your relationship is lacking in their absence.
4. Personal growth
As individuals age, the desire for personal growth and new experiences can lead to distance in a relationship. You might feel drawn to pursue new interests and seek additional opportunities.
As of 2022, a quarter of all divorces involved couples aged 50 or older. When you understand the common causes of gray divorce, you can see the challenges that older couples face. This makes it easier to identify and address those issues in your own relationship.