Getting A Divorce At 50, NO WAY! SERIOUSLY!

Calling it quits

A couple can get a divorce at any age, even during their 50s!

Whenever anyone over 50 gets a divorce, one question seems to immediately flash into everyone else’s mind. It’s not the question you might think. It’s not, "why?" (although "why?" is a logical question to ask, particularly if the couple seemed good together ... at least on the outside).

"Why?" is a question you ask people who are getting divorced in their 30s or 40s. In that context "why" really means, "what happened?," as in, "what caused your divorce?" Did someone cheat? Are there financial problems? Or perhaps something even more juicy and sordid? We want to know the details!

As for those who are getting divorced in their 20s, we often don’t even bother to ask "why." In our minds, the couple was young. They were foolish. We assume we know "why" they divorced. (Not that we really have any idea why they divorced, but that’s another discussion!)

But when a couple is in their 50s (or older), they've usually been married for a long time. They usually have kids, a home and a seemingly good life. They have undoubtedly survived their share of life’s difficulties, and everyone assumes that they have made it past the point where divorce is possible.

So, the question most people ask when they learn that a couple like that is getting a divorce is not so much as to, "why?" but "why now?"

The TRUTH Behind The "Why Now?"

It turns out that the reasons the over-50 crowd divorces are not that much different than the reasons younger people divorce. Verbal, physical, or emotional abuse is the most often cited reason for divorce, followed by having different values and lifestyles, and cheating. Falling out of love and substance abuse also rank highly on the list of divorce causes among older adults.

But why, then, if divorce over 50 happens for pretty much the same reasons as divorce at any other age, why do we find it so hard to accept? What is it about getting divorced later in life that seems so shocking? So wrong? The answer, I believe, lies in the question itself: "Why now?"

Why, after decades of living together, would a couple want to get divorced? It's as if, after you have lived with each other for a certain number of years, you're expected to put up with abuse, infidelity, boredom, and permanent estrangement. It's as if you lose the right to say, "I’ve had enough! I’m done!" and to choose a different life.

Why Is Divorce Over 50 So Hard To Fathom?

The real issue, then, is not so much that we, as a society, care about out why the over-50 generation is getting divorced at a record rate. The real issue is that, on a fundamental level, we don’t think that they should.

In spite of the fact that most people claim to have a cynical view of marriage these days, it seems to me that the opposite is actually true. We want to believe that marriages can last forever. We want to believe that, after you have made it together as a couple for a certain number of years, you don’t have to worry anymore about divorce. You’re "safe".

But there are no absolutes—in marriage or in life. Just because you have been married for 30 years, that doesn’t mean that you will stay married for your remaining years. Is that scary? Of course it is! We are all looking for the safe bet, the sure thing. That’s why it is so rattling when an older couple gets divorced.

Just like death brings us face-to-face with our own mortality, so does the death of a long term marriage bring us face-to-face with the fact that divorce can happen to anyone, at any time. We can either let that reality rock our world, or we can use that knowledge to make sure that, no matter what our age is, we don’t take marriage, or our spouse for granted.

To discover the 7 Things You Can't Afford to Ignore if You are Over 50 and Getting a Divorce, CLICK HERE.