Reasons Long-Term Marriages End in Divorce
Divorce rates have increased dramatically over the past few years. For example, there were about 1 million divorces reported in 2012, compared to just 500,000 in 2000. Divorces have also increased among those aged 55 and older. Between 1980 and 2004, the number of divorces rose by nearly 150 percent for those ages 45–54, and by almost 100 percent for those ages 55 and older. What causes these increases? One possible explanation is that people in their midlife are experiencing a change in priorities. They may feel like they need to focus on their careers instead of raising children. Another possibility is that people are living longer. As people age, they tend to spend less time together and more time apart. These changes in family dynamics can lead to conflict and eventually to divorce. Many older couples who get divorced have been married for decades. Many of them were married before the age of 25, and many of them got married because they wanted to. But when they were younger, they didn't think about what could happen if they got divorced later in life. Some of them had children early on, and they thought they'd always stay together. Others had children at a later time. And then some never had kids. When they got older, they realized they might need to get divorced, and they weren't ready for it. So they stayed together longer than they should have.
People are getting divorced at younger ages than ever before. Today, an increasing number of young adults are choosing to get divorced instead of living together. Young adults are also marrying later in life than ever before. These trends mean that fewer people will stay in marriages that aren’t working out. For those who choose to stay in bad marriages, there are other options available to them. There are a growing number of online resources that offer advice and guidance to help people through troubled times. Many of these services are free. Some even provide financial assistance to help pay for legal fees.
Divorces Are Increasingly Unhappy. Even though divorce rates have skyrocketed, the rate of divorces that end in happiness hasn’t changed very much. A recent study found that while the overall divorce rate increased by 25%, the divorce rate among happy couples stayed the same. The researchers concluded that this suggests that “divorce is increasingly acceptable, but that happiness does not increase with its acceptance.”
Work gives many people purpose and meaning, and limits the amount of free time they spend with their partner. After work ends, couples often discover they lack common interests or just no longer enjoy each other's company. If you've built your identity around your career instead of your role in the family, then retirement may lead to an existential crisis and depression. For those who tend the home while their partner works out of the home, suddenly having a constant presence of the other person may feel like an intrusion into their routine and space. These two factors can lead to conflict and even divorce.
Older adults often face different challenges when compared to their younger counterparts. For example, young people tend to have less money and fewer responsibilities. But older adults might not have the same financial security or social support networks that they once had. Infidelity can be especially damaging to older relationships because there are often fewer emotional boundaries and fewer ways to resolve conflicts.
When one spouse becomes sick, the other spouse may feel unprepared for the changes in their partner. One spouse may realize they cannot continue to care for themselves while also taking care of another person. If both spouses agree to “in sickness or health”, then the agreement should remain in place regardless of whether one spouse gets sick. An illness that affects one spouse will likely affect the relationship, but it does not necessarily mean the end of the marriage.
A couple often finds themselves growing apart. Over time, they may lose interest in certain activities, like hobbies or sports, and become less interested in each other. As the years go by, they may even start to see differences in their personal preferences, interests, beliefs, and values. They might also become more focused on different aspects of life. For example, while one partner likes to spend money on travel, the other prefers to save for retirement. These changes can lead to a breakdown in communication and trust, and eventually, if left unaddressed a split.
Financial issues can cause problems in any relationship, but as couples age, financial differences can become even more pronounced. At earlier stages of the marriage, when both partners were still employed, the differences in money styles and habits might not be as apparent. But once one partner retires, the other may see the prospect of a comfortable, stable retirement evaporating before their very eyes. Couples that are approaching or entering retirement often find themselves facing an uncomfortable choice: either reduce their standard of living drastically, or face the possibility of losing everything. Financial disagreements can also cause problems later in life, as couples approach or enter retirement. One spouse may continue to spend extravagantly, while the other sees their future income shrinking and growing old together. These conflicts can lead to divorce.
Divorce can cause many complications for older couples. There are usually large sums of money at stake, especially when there are significant assets. One spouse might be retired and unable to work because of age, while the other spouse works full-time and has a lot of savings. Alimony is often an issue since the older spouse will likely need help paying bills and supporting themselves. Divorce is a complicated legal matter that requires the assistance of a skilled family lawyer. Consult a divorce attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, to understand the complexities of divorce and will help you navigate through the process. Contact us today at thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.