Today growing old together may not necessarily be a promise to stay together as more couples are separating and getting a divorce in their grey years leaving families, friends and their children feeling shocked and disheartened.
Everybody went through lockdown irrespective of their position in life and the impact of the pandemic on many marriages cannot be ignored now that some parts of the world are gradually coming out of the crisis. For some couples, the experiences of the last year gave them the opportunity to come out of their closet and reach a reasonable conclusion that they can no longer grow old gracefully together again even after many years of marriage.
They say “be careful what you wish for.” Some of these couples are the role models many others looked up to and their marriages were the type many would only dream of. Many couples who separate or divorce in their grey years are more likely to have anticipated the outcome and are only waiting for the right time to do the needful.
Times changes everything
Couples who have been together for decades are expected to understand each other more the longer they stay together. However, time can change each person’s personality and things that were once important to one may no longer appeal to others because they have grown apart through the years. When you can no longer understand or recognise the man or woman you married 20 years ago, your marriage can become complex and vulnerable to external vices and divorce may become the only amicable end to the marriage.
A new phase in life
The scale of divorce among couples in their 50s and 60s has increased especially those who are financially independent enough to take the risk and start a new life again with someone else. A woman may stay in her marriage for many years not because she is happy and fulfilled but because she is not financially stable enough to walk away especially if her husband is the sole benefactor in the marriage and she believes that she owes her children the duty of care. Waiting for the children to reach adolescence can minimise the impact of divorce on them as they are more likely to understand why their parents made the decision. When the nest becomes empty, it can present a new phase in a woman’s life to find herself again and divorce may be the only option available when her marriage no longer serves her purpose.
Even though many couples vow to stay together in sickness and in health, studies show that a man is more likely to leave or file for divorce when the wife is seriously ill, while a woman is more likely to stay and care for her sick husband. One of the causes of grey divorce is personal circumstances such as health-related matters that can suddenly tear even the happiest marriage apart when a partner lacks the emotional capacity to become the caregiver. Lack of communication to offer support and seek solution together as a couple when a partner is facing a serious health issue which is affecting intimacy in the marriage can also lead to divorce if the urge for sex and affection becomes intolerable.