Why Some Marriages Cannot Withstand Retirement

In recent years, a new trend known as “gray divorce” has swept through the United States. Gray divorce refers to the phenomenon of couples over the age of 50 opting to get divorced. In 2010, approximately 25 percent of people working through divorces were age 50 or older. In 1990, that demographic represented only 10 percent.

Why are so many older couples divorcing? In part, it is because Baby Boomers, for many years the largest segment of the United States’ population, are entering retirement age and continuing to divorce at the rate at which they divorced during the 1970s and 1980s. Baby Boomers were the first generation in the United States to embrace divorce and largely eliminate the associated stigma.

The retirement of one or both partners presents unique challenges to couples that often test the strength of their marriages. After years, possibly even decades of working 40 or more hours each week, newly-retired individuals often find themselves with more free time than they know how to use. With the children grown and gone, possibly even bringing grandchildren into the picture, individuals often find themselves facing their golden years without knowing how to relate to their partners.

Couples Often Have Very Different Expectations for Retirement

For example, a wife might expect her husband to take on more work around the house after he retires. When he instead chooses to focus on his hobbies while she continues to work around the house alone, she might feel resentful. This can lead to increased tension between spouses. In other cases, each partner might have different plans for their retirement – one might have envisioned traveling the world while the other imagined a life of leisure sitting beside the neighborhood pool. When couples do not communicate their expectations, arguments can arise.

A Lack of Outside Interests

Individuals who spend their careers fully immersed in their work may find themselves unable to cope with retirement. Removing the workplace can, in many cases, mean removing virtually all of an individual’s close contacts and even his or her sense of purpose. Without these things in place, a retired individual might become overly clingy to his or her spouse or depressed.

Relationship Problems May Become Magnified

When both spouses have jobs and childcare duties to attend to, interpersonal problems can be easily pushed out of the foreground. It is easy to ignore marital dissatisfaction when you spend the majority of your time in the office or ferrying children to various activities. Many couples find that problems they did not realize existed become visible after retirement, sometimes to the point of irreparably damaging the marriage beyond.

Orland Park Divorce Attorneys

If you find that your marriage can not survive your or your partner’s retirement, you may wish to consider divorce. Although it may seem unthinkable, in many cases, a marriage has deteriorated beyond repair. Contact an experienced Will County divorce attorney at 708-518-8200 to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm to discuss your options, your rights, and how the divorce process works.