This guest article from PsychCentral was written by Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW.
Barbara and Jack got married twenty-four years ago. Barbara is fifty-one and Jack is fifty-two. Their oldest daughter is in college and their younger daughter, a high school senior. Over the years Barbara and Jack have drifted apart, avoiding each other in an attempt to keep the bickering to a minimum. Barbara’s numerous efforts to bring about more emotional closeness have been mostly unsuccessful. In her frustration, she has turned to her sister and women friends to meet her needs for connection. Jack has grown bitter due to Barbara’s repeated rejections of his sexual overtures. He diverts his pent up energy into sports. Despite their parallel lives, the tension in their home is high.
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When Barbara contemplates her future, she can't imagine spending the rest of her life feeling this unhappy. After months of deliberation, she concludes that she will be better off living alone than continuing to experience the anger, resentment and boredom that she anticipates will characterize her remaining years. Shortly after her birthday in March, she informs Jack that she wants a divorce. He offers little resistance to the idea and they put their house on the market. Six weeks later they are living in separate households. Barbara and Jack have become another in an increasing number of examples of a phenomenon that has become know as "Gray divorce".
"Gray divorce" is the term used to refer to those who divorce after the age of fifty. In 2009 this included over 600,000 people. And the numbers are growing while divorce rate of nearly all other age groups is falling. According the Wall Street Journal’s March 3, 2012 edition, this group has doubled in the past twenty years. In 1990 only one in ten of all divorces involved people over fifty. In 2009 it was one in four. Keep reading...
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