One of the biggest trends in divorce is getting divorced late in life. Indeed, divorces among those over age 50 are on the rise. This trend is called gray divorce and it has been happening a lot in recent years.
There are a lot of articles out there about gray divorce and why it happens. People come up with various reasons as to why it happens, such as retirement, empty nest syndrome, growing apart, and affairs. However, there is little information out there about how to prevent this from happening.
Who divorces after 20 or 30 years of marriage? There are two main groups: those who have tried their best and those who have not. So that means any long-term marriage could be doomed for divorce.
One of the main reasons why people divorce late in life is that people are living longer, Some are living to their 80s, 90s, and even past 100. And many are noticing that their marriages are barely surviving. If you are already in your 50s, do you want to spend 30+ more years in a bad marriage? Most likely, no.
If you are looking to avoid becoming a statistic, you cannot just sit quietly. You need to make an effort in your marriage and you need to do it now —not next week, next month, or next year. By then, it could be too late to resuscitate your marriage.
Has your relationship been on autopilot for many years? Have the children grown up and moved out and now you are stuck with your spouse with nothing to say? If so, you are not alone. People are done tolerating their loveless and sexless marriages. In fact, people stay in these relationships for six years, on average, before deciding to call it quits.
If you have been married for decades, your marriage is not immune. You may be ready to end things. If you are not, then your spouse may be contemplating it.
In most of these marriages, there is some sort of betrayal involved, whether it is sexual or emotional. Someone’s needs are not getting met and instead of begging their spouses to meet their needs, they want to look outside the marriage and find someone else who can meet them.
This betrayal can often be avoided by communication. Daily communication is ideal, but at least weekly, you and your spouse should be discussing deeper topics. What are your hopes and dreams? What does retirement look like to you? What can I do to make life easier for you? Saying “I love you” is great, but it is not enough. They say that actions speak louder than words, and that is mostly true in a marriage.
Meeting Your Spouse’s Needs
It is easy to get into the groove of marriage and hope that things will just happen without too much work, like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, marriage cannot function on autopilot. You have to be present in the marriage every day. You have to put in 100% (or 110%, however, you want to look at it) at all times. You cannot put in the bare minimum and expect that everything will be wonderful.
Marriage requires meeting your spouse’s needs, and not just when you want to. Marriage is demanding, requiring that you meet your spouse’s needs every day. This can be tiring and frustrating, but it needs to happen if you want to stay married forever. Here is what you need to do:
- Say “I love you.” You do not need to be dramatic about it. Just say these three words every day, whether it is in the morning, during the day when you get home, or before you go to bed. Your spouse will appreciate it.
- Show affection. You and your spouse should be 100% physically comfortable with each other. There should be some sort of physical affection daily, whether it is a hug, kiss, hand-holding, or sex.
- Have respect. Respect is key in any relationship. Show your spouse that you value them. Make decisions together. Talk things out. Work toward goals. Make compromises.
- Be honest and open. Many couples fail to communicate openly because they fear their spouse’s reaction. You should not have this issue in your marriage. While you both may express yourselves differently, you should be receptive to what each other has to say without becoming defensive. There should be a level of trust and comfort with each other, especially after decades of marriage.
- Commitment. This is the hardest one for long-term married couples. After being married for 20-30 years, they may no longer want to stay committed. Even though you vowed to be together through all the good times and bad times, until death do you part, you may feel as if that commitment is no longer there. This may be especially true if you and your spouse have been drifting apart. To stay together, couples need to keep showing their commitment to each other. You can do this by telling your spouse how important they are to you. You need to make it clear that your husband or wife is more important than your friends, parents, and job. Your commitment to each other will help weather the storms you will no doubt face through life.
Seek Legal Help
Divorces can happen at any time. No marriage is immune, but in a long-term marriage, people are often surprised. The reality is that staying married for a long time takes a lot of work and not everyone puts in the effort.
Ready to end things? No matter how old you are and how long you have been married, Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can guide you through the process. Call (954) 398-5712 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.