The divorce rate has doubled for people over 50 since 1990, and experts estimate the current number will be three times as large in 2030. In many cases, this is because couples in Florida are more willing to face their differences and accept that the relationship is no longer working, particularly after there is no longer the duty of taking care of the children.
Gray divorce is a term coined by AARP. It goes by the name “Retired Husband Syndrome” in Japan, where there are four times as many divorces among those who have been married for at least 30 years. The spike in silver splitters or silver surfers has been dubbed a revolution by some because it seems to have come on so suddenly.
But the rise in gray divorce isn’t a sudden shift. Instead, it is a trend that’s been developing in households behind the scenes without garnering much public attention. At the same time, fewer younger couples are getting divorced in the United States and around the world as more people wait until later in life to get married in the first place.
Studying human happiness
The Harvard Study of Adult Development is highly illuminating due to its extended timespan following two male groups for over 80 years starting in 1938. The findings were that these people’s health and longevity depended significantly on the health of their relationships.
The older people get, the more that conflict wears on them. For couples who are constantly fighting, health drawbacks are clear: Those couples tend to have weaker immune systems, poorer fitness, and shorter lifespans.
Being social makes a difference in your well-being, and healthy relationships positively impact the brain. While being lonely is a real threat to people’s health, it’s also harmful to live in constant conflict.
People who feel like they’re living in a marriage that is no longer thriving are now more willing to strike out on their own and seek personal fulfillment. Where it used to feel like life was over after the marriage is final, more people are finding out later in life that there’s still a chance for happiness.