Thankfully, the stereotype of an “older person” has changed, and it is likely to continue to evolve as advances in healthcare technology and healthier living practices improve. Today, a demographic once considered to be “over the hill”–the over-50 set–are healthier and more active, and in many cases, have longer life expectancies, than was common for their parent’s generation. As men and women over the age of 50 reach that mid-life milestone, they naturally reflect on their lives, and reassess whether the choices and relationships they have committed themselves to continue to make them feel happy, healthy and fulfilled.
Most people choose to marry when they are young, at a time when they don’t yet truly know themselves, their partners, or what the challenges of a long-term committed relationship will be. As the years pass by, at least half of marriages in the US become “failed relationships,” and the full realization of that frequently comes to people in their 50s. “Grey divorces” are gaining in popularity, with older people making life-correcting decisions when they realize that their marriage is built upon an unhealthy relationship, and that their partner is unwilling to make the changes necessary to improve it, or even discuss their problems. Well into their fifties, sixties, and seventies, they are “trending” like never before, and growing closer to outpacing the younger demographic when it comes to marital dissolutions.
Challenges and obstacles
With that trend comes unique challenges for over-50 men and women as they enter a new phase in their lives. Upending a decades-long marriage, which inevitably impacts your connections to children, grandchildren and friends, as well as your financial commitments, presents a range of profound consequences. The dissolution of a marriage can either be an emotional and financial disaster for all involved, or it can be a mid or late-life change needed to bring about the end of an unhealthy relationship, and provide the opportunity for the birth of a new, better, healthier and happier phase of a person’s life. Getting the right kind of professional advice will encourage the latter outcome.
Divorce proceedings involve the judicial division of financial accounts, retirement benefits and asset division that can be difficult to adapt to. Thoughtful planning and professional advice are important to ensure that those decisions are made thoughtfully, and in a manner which optimizes your post-divorce future.
On a personal level, the emotional impact of divorce can take a toll. Adult children may disapprove, creating multiple relationship challenges which you are not accustomed to dealing with. In addition, the split can lead to social isolation, particularly when a previous group of friends was established around a now-defunct marriage. Being the odd person out can create a growing sense of loneliness. Getting professional advice on how best to approach tending to or mending those relationships can be enormously helpful.
While divorce among younger people often involves the additional challenges of co-parenting minor children and child support, grandparents who are ending their marriages have relationships with grandchildren which they want to preserve. With changing roles, that contact can become more complicated, and professional advice can help you to pursue a thoughtful transition to a new family dynamic which preserves healthy relationships.
Divorce is a highly disruptive experience in a person’s life, but the pain and stress of the process need not define the long-term benefits of getting out of an unhealthy relationship. Self-care is paramount as you move into the next phase of your life, and if you are in an unhealthy relationship, divorce might be the right thing for you to enjoy a better, healthier and happier next phase of your life. Securing the right kind of professional advice will help you realize that outcome.