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3 reasons more older couples are ending their marriages

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce among older couples is becoming more prevalent. While divorce has historically been common among younger demographics, recent trends show a rise in the dissolution of marriages among older people.

Several factors contribute to this phenomenon. These contributing factors highlight the evolving dynamics of relationships in later stages of life.

1. Changing perspectives on marriage and personal fulfillment

As people age, they often undergo significant personal growth and introspection. With increased life expectancy and better health, older adults are reevaluating their priorities and seeking greater personal fulfillment. Unlike previous generations, where staying together for the sake of the family was common, today’s older couples are more likely to prioritize their happiness. As societal attitudes towards divorce shift, older people feel it is acceptable to pursue a life that aligns with their aspirations, even if it means ending a marriage.

2. Financial independence and autonomy

Another contributing factor to the surge in divorces among older adults is financial independence. Unlike younger couples who may struggle with money, many older people have established stable careers and accumulated wealth over the years. This financial security provides them with the freedom to make independent decisions regarding their relationships. As a result, older adults have fewer economic concerns and often feel more ready to initiate divorce proceedings if they feel dissatisfaction in their marriages.

3. Lingering marital issues and unresolved conflicts

Many older couples face unresolved conflicts that have simmered beneath the surface for years. As children leave the nest and couples find themselves spending more time together in retirement, underlying tensions and grievances may resurface. Without the distractions of work and parenting, older couples may confront issues they previously ignored or suppressed. Also, as people age, they may become less tolerant of dissatisfaction and more motivated to seek resolution, even if it means ending the marriage.

AARP reports that the divorce rate among Americans 65 and over tripled between 1990 and 2021. As society evolves, it becomes increasingly important to recognize the diverse reasons behind marital dissolution among older adults and provide support systems to navigate this life transition.


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