Divorce and Old Age

Young people are often busy with their careers and desperately aspire for better wages and higher standards of living. In this highly individualized quest for affluence, spouses often tend to drift apart from each other and fail to keep a track of one another’s life. The expectations from each other rise beyond the acceptable levels, which often gives way to a divorce. Disappointment and frustration from the marital partner leads to extramarital affairs. Due to a lack of maturity and experience in the young age, minor personal differences seem to assume mammoth proportions and many a times get aggravated due to absence of understanding and mutual co-operation. In other words, it seems natural to expect a high divorce rate amongst young couples.

Grey Divorces

In the last few decades, the number of Grey Divorces i.e. divorces amongst the elderly couples is constantly on the rise. This seems more of an anomaly. Traditionally speaking, older people are often considered to be the upholders of age old family values and norms. However, the current statistics strongly suggests that the rate of divorce amongst the people in their late 50s is expected to shoot up in the coming years. By conventional public perception, it seems strange that people should go for a divorce at such a ripe age, when the personal bonds are expected to have strengthened over the years. However, a number of research papers indicate that the number of individuals living alone in the old age will grow over the years. The reasons why old people divorce often tend to be different from those of the young. Despite having ample experience and maturity, old men often get attracted towards a young woman. This often turns out to be the number one reason for divorce. Elderly women often divorce for money. Divorcing their husbands in the old age when he has accumulated ample wealth and pension benefits leaves them with an impressive alimony. Sometimes, incompatibility issues festering over the years make things nasty in the old age, which leads to a divorce. In general, women more often file for a divorce than the men. This culture of self actualization seems to have extended itself to the elderly also.

Coping with Divorce in Old Age

Due to their emotional maturity and poise, older people are often more successfully able to cope up with a divorce then the young. They are often well settled in their professional lives and are far from any career insecurity and anxiety. Over the years they amass ample financial resources to provide for them in the old age. This sense of financial insecurity facilitates their rehabilitation after a divorce. Older people more often have a strong social network and are often part of a close knit group comprising of friends and well wishers. The children being adults are often well settled in their lives. Hence, they do not have to bother about any family responsibilities. Free of domestic worries, divorce leaves them with ample time and resources to try new things and achieve new horizons. They do not have to bother about paying any child support or abiding by any visitation guidelines. After divorce, they are left with more time at their disposal to engage in constructive activities and pass times.

Negative Impact of Divorce in Old Age

Being divorced in old age has its dark and murky side also. At this age, men are often coming to terms with their post retirement problems, when a divorce comes like a bolt from the blue and dishevels their personal lives. Men most of the times rely on women for their care and a divorce deprives them of a sensitive caregiver. Dejected and frustrated, they give up on their health and nutrition and are occasionally led to alcohol and substance abuse, owing to an overwhelming sense of isolation and loneliness. Divorce often exposes women to financial instability. Being busy with their domestic life, they primarily rely on their husbands for financial support. A divorce deprives them of this support. Being old, they are more often not in a position to financially rehabilitate themselves. Research has established that people living alone after a divorce tend to have a shorter life span.