By now, you have probably heard the term gray divorce, which refers to a divorce involving spouses who are over the age of 50. Gray divorce in Texas, as well as other places, is increasing.
According to data from 2017, gray divorce rates almost doubled between 1990 and 2015. That is a sharp increase.
Many reasons are given for the rise in gray divorce. One reason is simply that people are living longer.
This means that if you are over 50 and in an unhappy marriage, you may still think of yourself as having many years, or even decades, left to live. The idea of spending all that time in the same unhappy marriage can be unappealing.
Changing ideas about marriage
Another reason is that our idea of marriage is different than it was in the past. Several decades ago, people were more likely to stay in an unhappy marriage out of habit or societal expectations, even if the marriage was not making them happy or fulfilled.
Additionally, there are more women in the workforce today, which means women are more financially able to leave a marriage than in the past. Although the immediate period post-divorce may bring some financial challenges, most people will eventually get back on their feet.
Tips to avoid a gray divorce
There are several things you can do to strengthen your marriage if you are worried you are headed for a gray divorce. Talk with your spouse openly and honestly about any issues you are having, including uncomfortable topics such as your sex life.
Try doing new things together. The longer you are together, the more likely you are to have routines, such as going to your favorite place for dinner every Friday night.
However, routines can lead to feelings of boredom or monotony. Research shows that new experiences produce the same chemicals in our brains as when we fall in love. Doing something new with your spouse can result in new and happy memories.
Even if you both try to keep your marriage healthy, sometimes divorce is the best choice. If you find yourself facing a gray divorce, it is important to know how to prepare.