Diamond splitters! What problems are specific for gray divorces above 50?

Statistics reveal that the divorce rates are decreasing. But further analysis reveals that this is not the case with divorces amongst the senior couples. They are rising or have remained static over the years. These gray divorces have their own messy tales and it is not always about finances.

Divorce rates in different age groups

Published date shows, that the young are divorcing less in the USA. They now prefer to continue in a married life. Bloomberg’s Ben Steverman wrote in September 2018:

“Americans under the age of 45 have found a novel way to rebel against their elders: They’re staying married,”

He praised the generation X and the millennials for causing the divorce rates to plummet.

Gray divorce (Source: Forbes)

Ben added:

“New data show that younger couples are approaching relationships very differently from baby boomers, who married young, divorced, remarried and so on,”

“Generation X and especially millennials are being pickier about who they marry, tying the knot at older ages when education, careers and finances are on track,”

“The result is a U.S. divorce rate that dropped 18 percent from 2008 to 2016, according to an analysis by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen.”

The gray divorces are rising

But despite the upbeat talk, divorces are still common. And in the senior group, it has alarmingly increased. In July 2019, Ben penned another article ‘Divorce Is Destroying the Finances of Americans Over 50’. In it, he spoke of the high-profile divorce of Amazon head Jeff Bezos and further wrote:

“The rate of divorce after age 50 has doubled in the U.S. since 1990,”

Gray divorce (Source: The Trumpet)

This is called gray divorce or diamond splitters. Besides USA, this trend is also noticed in the UK, Canada, Australia, and other countries of the world. Ben wrote:

“There are few things more devastating than divorce. Even the very wealthy can find it financially draining, emotionally harrowing and just plain messy.”

Jeff Bezos and his wife were married for 25 years and had four adopted kids.

The implications of gray divorces

The impact of gray divorces is felt on the whole family and also on the health of the divorcees. In September 2018, Susan Brown who is a Bowling Green State University professor of sociology and codirector of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research wrote in the U.S. News & World Report:

“Divorce-related stress and depression can make existing health conditions worse and set up seniors for additional risks.”

Gray divorce has its own unique problems (Source: psychology today)

Such divorces cause an early death. Another article in June 2019 Psychology Today stated:

“Divorce Is a Risk Factor for Suicide, Especially for Men.”

In June 2019, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging reported:

“America is also experiencing a high midlife divorce rate,” 

“Consequently, older adults are looking for dates online, which lowers the chance that they know the background and sexual history of people they are dating. Older adults are also less likely to perceive themselves at risk for contracting STDs.” 

Psychologist Kathy McCoy wrote in Psychology Today:

“While many couples stay together until the children are grown, divorce is tough on kids of any age and can negatively impact parent and adult child relationships,” 

“One study found, for example, that adult daughters may tend to blame fathers for a gray divorce, and that changing family dynamics—like newly divorced mothers becoming more dependent on their children—also can negatively impact parent and adult child relationships.” 

Source: The Trumpet