The following is just flatly true, as financial pundit and Kiplinger magazine contributor Neale Godfrey stresses in a recent article on so-called “gray divorce.”
Godfrey notes that relationships for an appreciable number of comparatively older married couples in the United States “get back-burnered to life.”
What exactly is he talking about?
In a nutshell, Godfrey’s words underscore marital discontent that can be muted for select couples by the busied nature of passing years. Husbands and wives get preoccupied with their kids. There is a mortgage to be paid. Countless other factors vie for attention.
Those things can easily camouflage unhappiness and even discord that is dampened by required attention to other things.
Eventually, and as seemingly pressing concerns fade away, life in its truest dimension emerges for some unhappy partners. As Godfrey notes, a long-married disgruntled spouse can acutely realize “that you are not happy and that you know that you deserve to be.”
In days of yore (translated as even a single generation removed, i.e., the marriage years of many readers’ parents), there was often little to be done regarding that unpleasant realization. Relevant family law research indicates that many – if not most – unsatisfied marital partners stayed hitched. Godfrey conveys in rather stark terms that “they just sucked it up and went on in silence.”
That is no longer the case for legions of incompatible couples who have endured rather than enjoyed a long-term marital union. Family law statistics readily spotlight a progressive uptick in divorces for baby boomer-aged individuals in recent years.
The reasons for that are many, of course. The one-time stigma linked with divorce is largely nonexistent these days. More women have enhanced freedoms and mobility owing to personal savings and careers. People live longer, with many of them duly appreciating that a fresh start in life is both doable and advisable.
We will take a closer look at gray divorce – especially its financial implications – in our next blog post.