Have you been with your partner for a long time? Are you about 50 years old? Do you feel that the relationship has lost all its strength? You could soon be a victim of the booming phenomenon known as “gray divorce”.
This trend, which has taken hold in some countries around the world, such as the USA, also goes by other names such as “silver divorce” or “diamond divorce”. The main reason is that it affects “gray-haired” adult couples who have been together for years. But what does it involve?
Grey divorce: an all-too-common reality
Gray divorce is literally the separation of couples over the age of 50, and it's a more common trend than you might think. Numerous studies, including one led by Susan L. Brown and published in The Journals of Gerontology, argue that the divorce rate among those over 55 increased by 50% between 1990 and 2010. 4 divorces in 2010 occurred among people over 50.
Some of the Spanish couples who have been part of this phenomenon are Bertín Osborne and Fabiola Martínez, Iñaki Urdangarin and Infanta Cristina or Mario Vargas Llosa and Isabel Presley.
Why did we get divorced?
It's important to remember that marriage doesn't imply a lifelong pact that obliges the other to be there no matter what. Relationships have to be built up on a daily basis and nurtured so that they don't deteriorate. If this is not done, the consequences can be :
- poor communication
- Developing incompatible personalities, values and goals
- A change of priorities
- Infidelity and/or lack of trust
- Making the person feel trapped in the relationship
- The needs of one or both parties are not being met
The passage of time, getting into a routine and increasing commitments with the other person can mean that these factors have a greater influence the longer the relationship.
Grey divorce: what to consider?
It's not easy to separate from a partner at any time. However, factors missing from other types of relationships add up to gray divorce, which can complicate the breakup and mourning.
The couple must consider what will happen to the friends they share in common, the house they used to live in or how assets will be divided, among other things. Some aspects that need to be considered are:
- Alimony: these types of payments are more common in gray divorces.
- Retirement accounts: may be affected in the process.
- Children: Although they are usually adults, they also suffer the emotional consequences of divorce.
- Prenuptial agreements: allow spouses to divide their assets in writing, and must be taken into account during the divorce.
- Starting a new life and remarrying: you'll probably notice a change in the dynamics of your new relationships.
Although it's a common occurrence, it's possible to avoid a gray divorce by regaining the love, connection and understanding the couple once had.
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Fortunately, the number of divorces in France has fallen over the years. According to INSEE, in 2022 there were around 84,000 divorces, compared with 118,000 in 2008. However, the most recent divorce figures put the average age of separation at between 40 and 50.
Although a common phenomenon, it is possible to avoid a gray divorce by recovering the love, connection and understanding the couple once had.