When couples over the age of 50 split up, it is sometimes referred to as “gray divorce.” While one might think that people who have been together a long time would have very little to disagree about, fighting does not really seem to be the issue behind the splits in this case, reports Time Magazine. Rather, many couples at that stage in their lives have simply grown apart. As life expectancy increases, the thought of living a few more decades with someone they are not passionate about seems to be driving the decision for many people.
Perhaps what is most surprising is that more than 50 percent of older couples who split up are still on their first marriage. While second and third marriages do not statistically last as long as first marriages, it seems unthinkable that a couple who has been together for several decades would get divorced. But that seems to be the case, as more than half of all gray divorces are couples who have been together longer than 20 years.
Nationwide, people over the age of 50 represent nearly 25 percent of people going through a divorce. In fact, people over 50 are now twice as likely to get divorced as they were 25 years ago. Not only that, people over the age of 64 make up approximately 10 percent of people getting divorced.
Interestingly, this trend toward older longtime couples divorcing is not merely an American phenomenon. According to The Washington Post, data collected by a researcher in France also found that the rate of divorce there was the same for couples who had been together five years and couples who had been married for more than 35 years.