Divorce at 50 Plus: Breaking up in Later Life
While divorce rates are falling for those under 30, so-called ‘grey divorces’ in people over 50 continue to rise.
Breaking a commitment as significant as marriage is incredibly difficult. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the process at any stage in your life.
However, its sting can feel all the sharper in our older years. Most married people over 50 have laid down deep roots; children, a home, and an entire network of loved ones can be disrupted by the split.
The good news is that with the right outlook and support, divorce needn’t be devastating. On the contrary, it can offer a fresh new chapter that breathes energy back into your life.
This guide will prepare you for its ups, downs, and roadblocks.
Who Are ‘Silver Splitters’?
You may have encountered the terms ‘grey divorce’ or ‘silver splitters’ online. In short, these refer to people who pursue divorce in their later years. Some describe the ‘cut-off’ point for the name to be at 40, others insist that you’re not a silver splitter until you’re older than 50.
Regardless of your specific age, if you’re getting a divorce in the second half of your life, these terms may apply to you.
Reasons for Divorce at 50 and Above
It can be difficult to come to terms with an event as monumental as divorce. Many find themselves wondering if they’re making a mistake. Others can’t imagine how it all went wrong.
The reality is, however, that divorce is the correct course of action for many people each year. Of course, you’re going to worry about how it might affect your children, but remember that an unhealthy marriage can be just as bad if not worse for a child’s development and wellbeing.
With this in mind, let’s explore some of the most common reasons for a divorce.
You made a vow to someone you loved many years ago, but does your heart still feel the same way? One of the most beautiful, oft painful, aspects of life is that people change. Do you recognise the person you’re living with? Do you feel like you still belong together?
Divorce is no longer the draconian, unattainable process that it once was. These days, it’s reasonable to pursue separation if the feeling of unity is no longer present. After all, that’s what marriage is supposed to be about.
A Child Flying the Nest
Many couples agree to stay together for the sake of their children. Once they’ve grown up and left home, however, this pressure can begin to subside. As an adult, they may find it easier to come to terms with the idea of their parents separating.
Keep in mind that this decision will feel different for everyone. If you feel your children might be ready, start considering how you’ll break the news to them.
Goals and Ambitions
As people enter their 50s, more concrete plans for retirement begin to emerge. Some couples find that their ideas for later life aren’t necessarily aligned. Someone who wants to stay working for as long as possible might begin to drift apart from a partner who’s keen to retire as soon as possible, for example.
Life is an overwhelming, unpredictable tidal wave of experiences. There’s no way of knowing what your ambitions will be in a decade’s time. If you find your goals in life are incompatible with your spouse’s, it might be time to consider divorce.
Attitudes Towards Money
Incompatible spending habits are a common factor in divorces across the country. This issue is only compounded in marriages where only one person works for the household. Overspending or a lack of honesty surrounding money can swiftly disrupt even the longest of relationships. Transparency here is paramount.
It’s a cliché for a reason; many divorces are sparked by one of both partners being unfaithful in the relationship. Learning that your partner has let you down in this way can be very difficult to come to terms with.
Remember that with time, you can be stronger after divorce and better off in a secure, honest relationship with another person.
Life After Divorce – What You Can Do
If you plan things accordingly and don’t rush, divorce can be the right decision in your later years. However, it’s important that you keep a few things in mind. The tips outlined below are designed to protect you on your journey.
After 50 and 60, divorce can have huge financial implications on a person’s life. Retirement plans, personal budgets, and future earning potential can all be placed in jeopardy by a separation. You might like to keep the following in mind.
It can be tempting to stay in your old family home after a divorce. This isn’t always a bad idea, but remember that it might be more of a financial burden than you can manage. Selling and moving into more affordable accommodation can be a painful but necessary process.
Take Stock of Your Assets and Finances
It’s not uncommon for one person in a marriage to have a better idea of the couple’s financial situation. Before raising the idea of divorce, try to get as clear an idea as possible about your various investments and accounts.
The clearer you are about what you own collectively, the easier it will be to keep your fair share.
Your Daily Spending
Once single, you may find that your income can no longer support certain aspects of your lifestyle. Some changes may be necessary – at least in the short term – to your daily budget.
The Relationship Grieving Process
Unless your marriage was particularly abusive or unhappy, some form of grieving process will likely be necessary. In time, you’ll be able to find new love if that’s what you’d like. For a while, though, take the time you need to rebuild from within.
This may be your first time being single for several decades. How can you start a new life on your own terms?
Dating after 50
Many assume that dating after 50 is impossible – they’re wrong. The number of single people at your age may be a little smaller, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out there for you! You just need to know where to look.
You might like to try one or more of these websites/ apps:
- OK Cupid (Not specifically for over 50s, but great for finding love at any age)
- 50plus Club
- eHarmony (Not specifically for over 50s, but great for finding love at any age)
It also can’t hurt to try things the old fashioned way! Know any old flames who you could contact? Could you attend a class or activity where you might meet someone new? Finding love at any age is all about living life to the fullest. This way, the right people will gravitate towards you!
Late Life Divorce
There’s no use sugar-coating things – divorce is tough at any age and with any relationship, especially after many years spent together. That said, it can be a fantastic decision for many people. Accepting that a marriage must end can be heartbreaking, but remember that this might just be the start of something wonderful.
As you enter this new chapter in your life, believe in the possibility of a brighter future.
Browse more Mirthy articles by clicking here.
Mirthy offers expansive calendar of activities each month, covering everything from cooking classes and educational lectures to music concerts and fitness sessions.
Click below to see our upcoming events!