Gray divorce refers to the phenomenon of Illinois couples over the age of 50 ending their marriages. It’s estimated that by 2030, gray divorces will triple as more and more older couples call it quits.
What’s driving up the rate of gray divorces?
Divorce numbers in all generations have increased significantly since the 1970s. The main reason for the increase not only in younger people but in older people is because of a cultural shift. The first big cultural shift was people’s focus on personal happiness and self-fulfillment rather than doing what was considered the “right” thing to do by society standards. The second huge cultural shift is that the life expectancy increased, so there was less pressure to stay married until one of the spouses died.
Why are divorce rates common in older people?
It’s increasingly common for parents who married young and raised kids to get a divorce once their children are moved out of the house for reasons outside of cheating or similar betrayals. Without the distraction of kids, couples are easier able to cope and find solutions to the unhappiness they feel in their own marriages.
As couples get closer and closer to retirement, they also might be considering how they want to spend the rest of their lives. Planning for the next thirty years seems impossible in your twenties, but more probable when you’re in your fifties or sixties.
As couples get older, their goals might change. As they focus on their own personal happiness, they might realize that they don’t want to spend the next thirty years the same way they spent the last and consider divorce as an option.