Divorce, Why Gray Is The New Black


The baby boomers have exploded, and their marriages are the first casualty.  Divorce rates among people older than fifty have risen to one in four, a rate that has doubled in the last two decades.

These aren’t the one dimensional, commercial interrupted Kim Kardashians and Bachelor, Bachelorette, marriages either.  On the surface these people have made it.  They have stayed together to raise their children, and they have likely gone through some other traumas too including loss of a parent, job or change in health status.

Why are they baling now, when the kids are out of the house, they’re close to retiring and the have plenty of time for each other?

The WSJ reports that it’s a result of the “Me” generation.  Individuals who married expecting to be happy instead of expecting to stay married.  Researchers in white coats are investigating why this marriage ending cancer has infiltrated middle age American marriages, but before we complacently accept this statistic into our already lowered collective conscious, let’s do our own research.

A simple trip to any neighborhood restaurant, a walk around your manicured block, might reveal more than the article in the WSJ.  What’s missing from these pictures is the presence of these gray haired couples.  They forgot how to be together somewhere on the way to soccer, or piano  lessons or during the business of parenting, holding down a job and running a household.

It’s not a simple lesion to fix.  Once you get out of the habit of being together, the natural resolution is to be apart.

But it didn’t have to be that way.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  The couples in the WSJ weren’t abusive, malevolent or fiscally irresponsible.  They were unsatisfied.

In a society where an answer to a question is determined by the speed of your internet connection, where TV guide is obsolete because you can watch hand picked programs on your computer, satisfaction has become a tricky word.

We may have become a society of emotional masturbators, happy to satisfy ourselves alone or quickly rather than to patiently explore the constant reinviting, of another person into our pleasure.

I have no doubt that at fifty plus, after 10-15 years of emotional dissatisfaction these couples are done.  I just wondered what could have happened if 10-15 years ago they were able to turn to each other instead of turning away.

Being with someone is not as easy as falling in love on a reality TV show, or sparkly Disney movie, it’s a constant, daily commitment to invite someone to your table.  Someone with their own agenda’s likes and dislikes.

So tonight.  When your kids are about to slip away into the dark realm of their internet worlds, stop them.  Make them talk to you.  Talk to them.  Talk to your spouse.  Engage them.  Teach them to engage.  Teach them that the compromise required in vital relationships reap much more than you ever give up.

Who knows?  You may just be saving your own marriage.