More and more older couples are calling it quits. Some have called this the “gray divorce boom” while others call these divorces “silver or diamond splitters.” Often these divorces are the result of unresolved problems, emotional and intellectual disconnections and different values. Many couples are 50 and older are not staying unhappily married.

When an older couple calls it quits, this sends shockwaves through families and social circles. Many people are trying to understand this trend and make sense out of it. A recent Forbes article explores the phenomenon of gray divorce.

Typical factors in a gray divorce

In some relationships, emotional baggage has piled up over the years, and some problems never get resolved. After years of fruitless attempts to reconcile with the other partner, couples reach a breaking point and move to dissolve the marriage.

  • Early beginnings of marriage failure: Many couples were never intellectually or emotionally compatible to begin with. As the years rolled by, these differences became more apparent.
  • Different directions: The relationship does not hold the meaning and substance that it did in the past. Spouses develop new sensibilities and goals and grow along divergent paths. As the years pass, spouses grow further and further apart.
  • Empty nest fallout: You hear frequently that couples have stayed together for the sake of the kids. For many gray couples, that is true. When the last child leaves for college or establishes a life away from home, the reason to stay together is no longer there.
  • Marital history: If you have a divorce in your past, you’re more likely to divorce again. The divorce rate for couples in second or subsequent marriages over 50 is more than double of first marriages.
  • Increased divorce rate: According to, gray divorce has about doubled since 1990. The Baby Boomer generation is far less likely to remain in an unhappy marriage.

A divorce after years or decades of marriage can be shocking and devastating=. But at the same time, a divorce can mean a rebirth and a time of rediscovery for each spouse, and they often find greater happiness and fulfillment in their golden years.