While the divorce rate is staying steady for the most part, it is increasing in one demographic — those over the age of 50. These are called gray divorces, and they have been on the rise for the past few decades. This is a change from the norm, as in the past, it was generally younger people who have not been married too long who would get divorced.
Older couples who have been married for decades are getting divorced for many reasons. The kids have moved out, and they have nothing keeping them together anymore. They are retired and bored with each other. They want to have new experiences. Some people cannot stand their partners anymore after dealing with their idiosyncrasies for decades; they have had enough. People are living longer than ever, and they do not want to spend the rest of their lives miserable.
The point is that people want to make the most of what time they have left on this planet, whether it be 10, 20, or 30 more years. They want to be happy, and in many cases, their marriage is not making them happy. They may have vowed to stay together until death do them part, but that’s too long for some people.
So people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s divorce, and then what? Do they get married again? In most cases, they do not, according to research. In the Health and Retirement Study, 1,131 people who had experienced a divorce after age 50 were tracked for up to a decade. The results showed that women were more likely than men to stay single. More than 76% of women stayed single, compared to 62% of men.
When women did partner up, they were more likely to get remarried than cohabit. For men, it was the opposite. They were more likely to cohabit than remarry. For both genders, though, the most popular option was to stay single.
But why? The researchers looked at various factors, such as economic resources, health, social ties, and race/ethnicity. However, none of these factors mattered at all. None of them showed a strong link to remarriage or staying single.
The reason why participants were not partnered was straightforward: they simply didn’t want to get remarried or cohabit. If you are not interested, it does not matter how many available partners there are, how much money you have, how healthy you are, and whether you have friends and family members in your life.
Another thing to consider is that women live longer than men. This means that there are more older women than older men and, therefore, more potential partners for heterosexual men than heterosexual women. This is, of course, assuming an older woman would want a man their age. Age-gap relationships are becoming more and more common, but it still does not seem as though older women are looking for younger men at high rates, despite the term “cougar” being thrown around a lot.
So, could it be said that single women fare better than single men? In some ways, yes. Older women do better than older men at living alone. They tend to have more friends and spend more time with their families. They also spend more time on their hobbies and interests, so they know how to stay busy. Economically, though, single men fare better after divorce. There is still a wage gap, with women earning 84% of what men earn, on average.
Why You Should Stay Single After a Gray Divorce
Many people feel satisfied with their life after a gray divorce. Plus, they enjoy their freedom and do not want to run the risk of another failed marriage. Here are some other good reasons to stay single:
- Keep your benefits. After a divorce, you may qualify for certain benefits, such as Social Security, life insurance, health insurance, and retirement benefits. Remarriage could cause you to lose these benefits, so stay single.
- Estate planning is easier. If you get remarried, dealing with what will happen after you or a partner dies becomes complicated. You might both have children and grandchildren of your own. This makes it hard to determine who gets what. It is better to just stay single and not deal with all this drama.
- You have more freedom. This is a great time to be independent. You can travel and engage in new hobbies and interests. You can live on your own and do what you want without having to worry about someone else. Your ex may have placed limitations on you in the past. Now you can embrace your freedom. You have the ability to meet more people and strike up new friendships. This is the time to reinvent yourself and try new things.
- You can focus on your health. It is hard to focus on yourself when you are married and have to tend to someone else’s needs. Now that you are single, you can focus on staying healthy. You have time to exercise and try out healthy recipes. Avoid alcohol use, smoking, and unhealthy foods, which many divorced people tend to indulge in.
Seek Legal Help
After a gray divorce, many people are hesitant to start over with a new marriage. A second marriage means combining families and possibly even a second divorce. For most people, once is enough.
Whether you are seeking a gray divorce or a divorce at any age, for that matter, Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help. We understand all the aspects involved and will guide you through the process. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling (954) 346-6464.