Divorce at 50: Is 50 the Most Dangerous Age to Be in a Marriage and Long Term Relationship?
The so called “gray divorce” years start at age 50 and the global trends are seeing an uptick in the number of couples who get divorced and in divorces that were initiated by a partner who is 50 years of age or older.
Why are gray divorces so common these days? What is it with people who decide to divorce at 50 years of age? What is it that makes 50-year-olds so dangerous to their marriages?
I will tell you what it is from personal experience. It is time. It is the passing of time and realizing that you are more than half way done with this time on this planet and if you are in an unsatisfactory marriage, even if it was for a long period of time (in my case I had been married nearly three decades) at age 50 you become acutely aware that you no longer want to continue to waste precious time on a relationship that is going absolutely nowhere.
I loved my husband. Very much. And during our marriage I was one hundred percent committed to him. I have never once been unfaithful to my husband. And even now, I have no hard feelings against him even though he refuses to talk to me. He feels that I have thrown away all the years we had together and he resents me for leaving. He did not want to get divorced. I don’t think he ever thought I would have walked out of our marriage.
The thing was, we had a shell of a marriage for many, many years. It is not that we were miserable or even bored. It is all of that but more. I just felt that I did not exist, that I was a ghost. I felt invisible. My husband could not understand this for the life of me trying to explain. It was the little things. You know? I needed to feel visible. Like my husband could see me and that what he saw was something he cherished. I did not feel like he cherished me. I felt taken for granted. I felt redundant in that marriage.
Sex was also a problem because it was totally non existent. As my husband grew older, he became less and less sexually competent. There were physical reasons for this, I understand that. I also empathised with that. But I had my needs and I felt like I was not allowed to have my needs and this became something that I found increasingly impossible to live with. We used to have a very healthy sex life I would say till well into our early 40s but it dried up after his impotence and the surgery, etc, and for me, this aspect of our life was simply unfullfilling.
We had children who had grown up and had gone off on their own to raise their own families, study and in one case, chase fame. I had done my duties as a mother and wife for nearly thirty years and I gave all to my husband and my kids for nearly 30 years and now here I was a woman of 50 years of age, aching for more than this man could ever deliver.
I wanted to do other things with my life. I wanted to paint and take painting classes in Florence, Italy. I wanted to write a book. I wanted to dance tango. I wanted to explore ancient ruins in Greece. My husband is a homebody who wanted nothing to do with the life I wanted for myself. Under normal circumstances, maybe I would have let it be. But being 50 was a game-changer for me. Because I realized it is now or never. And I just was no longer willing to let my dreams die just so I could spend another 20 empty years in that marriage and relationship.
So why do people divorce at 50? If they are like me, I think they divorce because they become tired of putting off all their dreams for a tomorrow that never comes just so that they can be with someone who no longer is able to contribute to their overall pleasure and fulfillment.
Indeed, I do agree that 50 is the most dangerous age to be married and in a long term relationship. Divorce at 50 years of age is totally predictable for a lot of couples. But I do think it is very old fashioned to think that you have to stay married till death. This notion is completely outdated.