Statistics show that the national rate of divorce in America has not increased for the last three decades. The overall number of divorces has dropped or stagnated, except in one surprising age group. A recent study found older couples have become the demographic most likely to divorce.
A study conducted by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family & Marriage Research discovered that 25 percent of divorces are initiated by couples over the age of 50. New divorces are sought predominantly by members of the baby boomer generation, born between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s.
Experts think the reason for the later-age breakups has a lot to do with shifts in social attitudes about marriage, divorce and aging. One wellness counselor observed that marriage and divorce are perceived differently today than they were when many boomers first married. The counselor stated that the full introduction of women into the work force and increased educational opportunities have redefined marriage and removed the social stigma of divorce that once pressured couples to stay together despite unhappiness.
One psychologist noted that couples today are not bound to the same lifestyles their parents had when they were 50 or older. For these people, opportunities to make a change have never been greater. Internet technology has made it possible to find a new partner more easily if a marriage doesn’t work out.
For some older couples, a desire for divorce comes when a shared responsibility ends. The transition of young children to independent adults prompts many older couples to reassess a marriage. When children no longer live at home, husbands and wives sometimes discover that their interests have diverged.
Source: Ohio.com, “Divorce rate rising for baby boomers,” Kim Hone-McMahan, Oct. 18, 2011