8
   

Baby boomers lead new wave of 'gray divorce'

 
 
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 09:54 am
August 16, 2010
Baby boomers lead new wave of 'gray divorce'
Comment By Anita Creamer
[email protected]

As she and her husband drove home after celebrating their 25th anniversary on the coast, Tracy Bryan realized with a shock that being married to him was not how she wanted to grow old.

"We had grown and changed," said Bryan, now 53, whose divorce from her college sweetheart was final in 2008. "I changed what I wanted out of life."

As baby boomers approach retirement age looking forward to many more long, healthy years of life, the number of couples calling it quits after decades of marriage is on the rise.

Born between 1946 and 1964, boomers already have a divorce rate triple that of their parents. And now they're pioneering a new trend in splitting up: the so-called "gray divorce" phenomenon of couples going their separate ways after 20 or more years together.

Their parents were labeled the "Greatest Generation." Now some experts are calling baby boomers "the greatest divorcing generation."

As AARP California's Christina Clem says, the baby boom remains at the center of a huge cultural shift.

"Older people grew up in a time when they had no choice but to stick together to make it through life," said psychologist Becky Shook, president of Fairway Divorce Solutions' local office. "Baby boomers come from a very independent, 'make my own way in the world' point of view."

Or to put it uncharitably, it's still all about them.

For the most part, it's older boomers who are keeping divorce alive, even while divorce rates are declining for those born in the early 1960s and later – and even while the national divorce rate has dropped from a peak of 5.3 per 1,000 people in 1981 to 3.5 today, matching the 1970 rate.

Divorce soared just as the earliest boomers were coming of age: In a sense, it's part of their value system.

The Census Bureau, which has tracked divorce only in recent years, reports that in 2008, one-fourth of new divorces took place in people married at least 20 years. The same year, almost 51 percent of all divorced (but not remarried) people were in the baby boom age cohort, according to the bureau.

California stopped collecting statewide divorce data in the late 1990s, and Sacramento County does not track age or marriage longevity in its divorce demographics.

But local marriage therapists and divorce lawyers alike report seeing more and more baby boomers in their offices, coping with the end of long-term marriages.

"When their kids leave the house, the transition into being alone together can be difficult," said Roseville therapist Amy Ellis. "One partner typically thinks the marriage is fine when really, they were just focused on different things. There's a lot of infidelity in that age range, a lot of infidelity.

"In the baby boom generation in particular, there's the thought that you don't have a good marriage if you fight. One partner is silently suffering, and now they've gotten tired of that and broken trust."

On the other hand, many other couples simply evolve in different directions, like Al and Tipper Gore, who announced earlier this summer that they were divorcing after 40 years of marriage.

"Were we designed to be married to one person for 50 years?" said Sacramento attorney Hal Bartholomew, Northern California president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "In the old days, people didn't live that long."

For Tracy Bryan, a spiritual awakening led to her divorce from the man she fell in love with at first sight at a birthday party in 1977.

"I wanted to go deeper in life," said Bryan, who lives in Elk Grove and has a 15-year-old son. "I had a need to find purpose and meaning. And we found we didn't have as much in common any more."

Her ex-husband, Dwight, died of a sudden illness six months after their divorce. Through everything, she says, they remained amicable, united in their commitment to raise their son without animosity.

"I still think he was the best father in the world," she said.

"I wish it could have been different. But I don't regret it. There was this absolute sense it was the right thing for both of us."

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/15/2959874/baby-boomers-lead-new-wave-of.html#ixzz0wmgvsyJn
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 2,432 • Replies: 16

 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 09:59 am

Great is my delight in being divorce-proof.





David
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 11:12 am
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:
In the old days, people didn't live that long
with so much money.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 11:16 am
i see a classic movie remake

the gray divorcee
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  2  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 11:21 am
Nowadays, there are many good years left for people who would be considered ready for the rocking chair a couple of generations ago.

In many instances, after the kids leave, couples discover that all that they really had in common were the children. Many of the women have good careers on their own. In earlier times, many women stayed in bad marriages because it was difficult for them to support themselves. That is often no longer the case.

BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 11:58 am
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix said: Many of the women have good careers on their own. In earlier times, many women stayed in bad marriages because it was difficult for them to support themselves. That is often no longer the case.

It was one benefit resulting from the Womens' Rights movement.

BBB
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 12:28 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Interesting article. Thanks, B!
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 01:37 pm
@Phoenix32890,
I'm pretty sure anecdotal stories make interesting reading but then statistics are usually more informative. Divorce among older people remains a rarity--only I percent of all divorces in the United States involve people over 65. People from age 50 to 64 account for only 4 percent of all divorces.
Uhlenberg, P., and Myers, M. A. P., "Divorce Among the Elderly."
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 02:19 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

Uhlenberg, P., and Myers, M. A. P., "Divorce Among the Elderly."


published in 1981

the point of the article referenced by the OP is that times have changed

and in fact, the abstract of the article you've referenced states in part

Quote:
Reasons for expecting an increase in the divorce rate for the population over age 65 are suggested.


http://gerontologist.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/3/276.short

dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 02:58 pm
@ehBeth,
I'm sure you have a good point to make, what is it? perhaps you can offer more current stats?
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 03:06 pm
@dyslexia,
I'm in the process of bringing the stats over. Most of the good stuff is in pdf form, so I'm working on locating easier to access resources for more current data (which so far supports the OP).

Most of the data here >>> http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm is from the 1999 Barna study - so it's still about 10 years out of date - but it is 18 years fresher than the 1981 reference.

Quote:
Variation in divorce rates by age:
Age group % have been divorced
Baby boomers (33 to 52 years of age) 34%
Builders (53 to 72 years of age) 37%
Seniors (above 72 years of age) 18%


so in this ^^^ case, add 10 years (+ a few percentages of divorces) to the numbers.

this was within the context of

Quote:
11% of the adult population is currently divorced.

25% of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime


10 years ago, Boomers and Builders were already ahead of the curve on the national divorce stats in the U. S.

0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 03:41 pm
newer Barna study (released in 2008 following 2007/2008 survey)

http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/15-familykids/42-new-marriage-and-divorce-statistics-released

Quote:
Among adults who have been married, the study discovered that one-third (33%) have experienced at least one divorce. That means that among all Americans 18 years of age or older, whether they have been married or not, 25% have gone through a marital split.

The study showed that the percentage of adults who have been married and divorced varies from segment to segment. For instance, the groups with the most prolific experience of marriage ending in divorce are downscale adults (39%), Baby Boomers (38%), those aligned with a non-Christian faith (38%), African-Americans (36%), and people who consider themselves to be liberal on social and political matters (37%).



Barna's not a resource I'm wild about, but the numbers are quite close to the "better" sources that I've found (but that only come on PDF).
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Aug, 2010 03:54 pm
@ehBeth,
ok, did you happen to come across any data re increase of elderly being divorced ( I don't mean divorced people who are elderly but specifically elderly people getting divorced when they are elderly) which, I think, is the premise of the article. It sounds like a factoid to me, sorta an obvious "there are more elderly people ergo there are more elderly people seeking divorce" but I haven't seen any factual evidence to support that.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Aug, 2010 11:36 am
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:
I'm sure you have a good point to make, what is it? perhaps you can offer more current stats?

EhBeth's good point was that your statistic is irrelevant to rebutting the point made in the initial post of this thread. The initial point was that divorce rates are higher today than they were a generation ago. You "rebutted" this with statistics proving that divorce rates were the same a generation ago as they were a generation ago. While that's interesting, it doesn't constitute a logically valid rebuttal.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Aug, 2010 11:56 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

dyslexia wrote:
I'm sure you have a good point to make, what is it? perhaps you can offer more current stats?

EhBeth's good point was that your statistic is irrelevant to rebutting the point made in the initial post of this thread. The initial point was that divorce rates are higher today than they were a generation ago. You "rebutted" this with statistics proving that divorce rates were the same a generation ago as they were a generation ago. While that's interesting, it doesn't constitute a logically valid rebuttal.
yes Thomas. I'm sure you are correct. My misunderstanding must be that the I thought/read the original post more than implied that divorce rates as increasing among the elderly. I did, indeed post totally out of date stats because they were the only stats I could find specifically related to the premise of increasing rates of divorce among the elderly. I was obviously being illogical and invalid in requesting data consistent with my understanding of the premise.
Quote:
As baby boomers approach retirement age looking forward to many more long, healthy years of life, the number of couples calling it quits after decades of marriage is on the rise.

0 Replies
 
IRFRANK
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Aug, 2010 11:15 am
An interesting topic for me, for sure. I am on the cusp of this situation. I am 63, married 16 years and wondering what the future holds.

I have a basic question. Who says that marriage must be a one time deal and forever? Take away the religious constraints and what is left? If you have your own religious views, fine, live by them. But don't apply them to me. I also realize there are civil fairness aspects to this. If a couple has been married for 20 years and the woman stayed home and raised the children and the man then decided to leave, he certainly owes her a large part of any wealth accumulated. Also, this should not be a unilateral decision. I am not defending men, or women, having affairs. Nor am I defending simply running away from a spouse so you can have a mid life fling.

But, people change. Sometimes significantly. Our post child rearing years now last longer. Our life changes.

Yes, in the past people banded together just for survival. But we do not live in those times anymore. Has the fact that plain survival has gotten easier and we now have more freedoms given us new opportunities? Does the fact that we live longer change the rules?

The world has changed a great deal during my baby boomer lifetime. It still is changing. Don't call me or my generation selfish simply because we have lived through these times. Our children have benefited from many changes we brough about too.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Aug, 2010 11:28 am
My anecdotal offering to this thread is that I do seem to be seeing more "elderly folks" seeking divorce these days in my own practice, and the bulk of them have been married for greater than 20 years. I have not compiled any statistics to support this observation.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

How a Spoon Can Save a Woman’s Life - Discussion by tsarstepan
Well this is weird. - Discussion by izzythepush
Please Don't Feed our Bums - Discussion by Linkat
Woman crashes car while shaving her vagina - Discussion by Robert Gentel
Genie gets sued! - Discussion by Reyn
Humans Marrying Animals - Discussion by vinsan
Prawo Jazdy: Ireland's worst driver - Discussion by Robert Gentel
octoplet mom outrage! - Discussion by dirrtydozen22
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Baby boomers lead new wave of 'gray divorce'
Copyright © 2022 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 10/05/2022 at 06:13:22