Angry Couple

The growing challenge of long-term couples: understanding the new phenomenon affecting them

This trend, which has taken hold in some countries around the world, such as the United States, also goes by other names such as “silver divorce” or “diamond divorce”.

The main reason is that it affects “gray-haired” adult couples who have been in a relationship for years. But what does it involve? Gray divorce is literally the separation of couples over 50, and it’s a more common trend than you might think.

Divorce among senior citizens: a growing reality

Numerous studies, including one conducted by Susan L. Brown and published in The Journals of Gerontology, maintain that the divorce rate among the over-55s increased by 50% between 1990 and 2010. 4 divorces in 2010 occurred among people over 50 [source].

Famous personalities affected by the phenomenon

Some of the Spanish couples who have been part of this phenomenon are Bertín Osborne and Fabiola Martínez, Iñaki Urdangarin and Infanta Cristina or Mario Vargas Llosa and Isabel Preysler. Even celebrities are not spared from grey divorce.

Why did we get divorced?

It’s important to remember that marriage doesn’t imply a lifelong pact that obliges the other to be there no matter what. Relationships have to be built up on a daily basis and nurtured so that they don’t deteriorate. If this is not done, the consequences can be :

  • Poor communication
  • The development of incompatible personalities, values and objectives
  • A change of priorities
  • Infidelity and/or lack of trust
  • Feeling trapped in the relationship
  • The needs of one or both parties are not being met

The passage of time, getting into a routine and increasing commitments with the other person can mean that these factors have a greater influence the longer the relationship. One of the causes that affects most, and even more so in adulthood, is the possibility of meeting a third person due to a loss of interest in your partner. For this reason, it’s common for many relationships that initially had no disagreements to eventually burn out and end in divorce.

Grey divorce: what to consider?

It’s not easy to separate from a partner at any time. However, factors missing from other types of relationships are added to gray divorce, which can complicate the breakup and mourning. The couple must consider what will happen to the friends they share in common, the house they used to live in or how assets will be divided, among other things. Some aspects that need to be considered are:

  • Alimony: these types of payments are more common in gray divorces.
  • Retirement accounts: these can be affected in the process.
  • Children: although they are usually adults, they also suffer the emotional consequences of divorce.
  • Prenuptial agreements: these enable the spouses to divide their assets in writing, and must be taken into account during the divorce.
  • Starting a new life and remarrying: you’ll probably notice a change in the dynamics of your new relationships.