When older couples break up, conflict is not always the cause, and something else is occurring. Couples are less likely to separate as they age, and every decade of marriage reduces the likelihood of divorce. Nonetheless, elderly individuals may not inevitably have an eternal love affair.
The divorce rate among American adults aged 25 to 39 is 24 per 1,000 persons. It is estimated that 21 divorces occur for every 1,000 people between the ages of 40 and 49, while only ten divorces occur for those over 50.
However, the recent past could be more encouraging for older couples. Their divorce rate has increased steadily since the 1990s. Historically, the salary discrepancy between men and women, with men earning on average more than women for full-time employment, may have prompted some women to remain in unhappy marriages for financial stability. There is still a pay discrepancy, but many women in their 50s and 60s have financial independence, allowing them to divorce.
Why do elderly couples end their relationships? Why abandon a partnership with a shared history spanning decades? Research professor Galena Rhoades, Ph.D., of the University of Denver’s psychology department, what we often observe among retirees is that it is not about conflict. The cause of divorce is an absence of positives.
For instance, deteriorating closeness or friendship might lead to a rupture. A spouse who no longer matches their soul may think they are too old to continue living together.
It may be simpler to see why younger couples desire a divorce. They may differ on how to raise children (or whether to have children at all), the debate about professional decisions, and quarrel over finances.
In contrast, older couples typically face distinct obstacles. They may struggle to restore their identity as individuals apart from their duty as parents once their children have reached adulthood. The transition to retirement can sometimes wreak havoc on the relationship.
Rhoades stated, “There is a connection between change and discomfort.” When spouses experience a difficult event or shift, such as retirement, their interactions change. There are ever-evolving alternatives to divorce for aging couples experiencing ennui. There are several opportunities to redefine the connection.
Rhoades cites examples of severing financial connections but continuing to live together as housemates and seeking other romantic relationships. As a chance to explore a new lifestyle, some retirees choose to spend some time apart, possibly relocating temporarily to separate locations.
In addition to striving to reframe a deteriorating relationship, elderly couples with difficulties may wish to reclaim a brighter past.
One way to resolve differences in retirement is to collaborate on problem-solving. Couples may benefit from consulting a therapist, but they may also take matters into their own hands. Establish a time to speak, free of interruptions, and establish ground rules.
“Bring your best self to the conversation,” said Rhoades. Avoid ‘you should’ remarks and ensure comprehension before judging or responding to what you hear.
She recommends that couples read a book about relationships and then debate its essential aspects. Or engage in everyday activities or new experiences to gain new knowledge together.
Replace the negative with the positive. Relationship specialists recommend that couples maintain a 5:1 ratio: Try to have five pleasant encounters for each bad one. You might also construct a mental note of everything you have come to appreciate and respect about your partner.
The University of Missouri-St. Louis psychologist Sandra Langeslag, Ph.D. Louis said, “Consider your partner’s favorable qualities.” “Consider it at least once every day. And view photographs of your loved one. Viewing pictures is effective at evoking memories and emotions.