While the overall divorce rate in the UK may be falling, the number of older couples who are severing ties continues to rise. This phenomenon, which is referred to as grey divorce, is relatively new and has caused significant speculation about its causes.
Some have highlighted the deep divides created by the Brexit vote, as this polarising topic may well have highlighted insurmountable differences between the fundamental values and belief systems that exist within couples.
There is no evidence to support this assertion, of course, and the recent rise of the grey divorce may well have been triggered by more mundane factors. Here are some of the most prominent:
Older Couples Simply Cannot Face the Empty Nest
When people petition for divorce and seek out legal representation from firms such as Withers Worldwide, there are a myriad of factors that can influence this decision.
In the case of older couples, one of the most telling is that the individuals involved simply cannot face the so-called “empty nest syndrome”. This occurs when children grow older and move out to begin their own lives, creating a significant void that may be too large to bridge.
More specifically, couples that have spent the best part of 20 years focusing on their children may find that they have little in common as they become more isolated, creating a scenario where even affectionate spouses grow apart and fall out of love.
Retirement Creates an Excess of Time to Spend Together
Similarly, couples who have historically been work-oriented may also struggle to cope as they enter retirement, as they suddenly have an abundance of time to spend with one another.
This can be extremely revealing for couples that have grown apart, while these circumstances can be exacerbated in instances where one or more spouse is suffering depression outside of the workplace.
Pursuing shared hobbies can help to negate this risk, but if the situation persists then divorce may well be the only option.
One Spouse Decides they Want a Change in their Life
Conversely, retirement can also create a feeling of optimism that compels one spouse to make a decisive change in their life and seek out brand new adventures.
While there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this, it can create conflict when the other spouse does not feel the same way and wishes to maintain the status quo.
In this case, couples can experience irreconcilable differences that become worse over time. As a result, divorce becomes the only reasonable solution, as both individuals look to forge their own paths and enjoy their respective retirements.