According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s divorce rate is in decline. In the decade between 2009 and 2019, it dropped significantly along with marriage rates. However, there is one demographic defying this trend.
Gray divorces, the breakup of marriages among the elderly portion of the population, are on the rise. Numerous factors contribute to this sudden spike.
1. There is less of a stigma
Divorcees do not receive the same level of ostracization and social consequences as in the past. Views toward infidelity are also laxer. As a result, those previously held back by fear of public condemnation now feel freer to leave their spouses and cheat. The advent of the internet and apps as tools for meeting potential dates also contributes to this.
2. People live longer
Advances in healthcare and a rise in living conditions mean individuals expect to and do live years or even decades longer than before. This may make the prospect of staying in an unhappy marriage less bearable, giving people the shove they need to start divorce proceedings.
3. There is more emphasis on seeking fulfillment
Today’s culture heavily emphasizes personal happiness and self-care. The gender roles that used to define marriages, that of the homemaker wife and provider husband, are no longer the norm. People no longer stay satisfied with “good enough.” They want fulfillment and they are willing to divorce to find it.
People grow apart over long periods, even older ones with years of history. Older individuals, realizing that divorce is a real possibility for them, now have fewer inhibitions about pursuing it.