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Lorie Sheffer – Gray Divorce

What Does A White Picket Fence Remind You Of?
What Does A White Picket Fence Remind You Of?

Happy Sunday, and as you’ve come to expect on Sunday’s, Lorie Sheffer is here to share her midlife wit and wisdom. Take it away Lorie:

Gray Divorce. That’s what it’s called. The new trend for middle aged couples. Statistics show that more and more couples are deciding that after the kids are raised and out of the house, it’s time to pull the plug on the marriage. I’ve witnessed this trend in my own circle of friends. I’ve heard the same story about a half a dozen times over the past few years. I’ve chatted with my female friends about their ventures back into the dating world. Sometimes it’s sad; sometimes it’s hilarious, and sometimes it kind of exciting.  It motivated me to do some sleuthing to find the facts behind this recent rash of midlife divorce.

It seems that women initiate 66% of midlife divorces. The reasons the ladies give are emotional and/or physical abuse, infidelity and drug or alcohol abuse. The reasons the 34% of men who initiate divorce proceedings give are “fell out of love” and “different values and lifestyle”. Come on, guys! That’s a little vague, don’t you think?

Into this mix, let’s not forget that Gloria Alred is now referred to as The Mistress Lawyer, because of her representation of the mistresses of famous men who cheat. Wow. I really don’t know what to say.  These women have sex with a married man and then sue him? For what?  When one of my friends told me that she was divorcing her husband because he “pulled a Tiger” I wasn’t about to even try to change her mind. In fact, I was totally supportive of her decision. As for the boredom excuse, I find that rather funny. I wonder if these guys should have hired a cruise director instead of getting married. It’s terribly hard for me to imagine cashing in your chips after spending most of your life with someone because you ran out of stuff to do. I absolutely feel that nobody should stay in an abusive relationship or be expected to share his or her spouse with anyone else. But to leave because you’re bored? Excitement rarely just happens on it’s own.

What interests me is that the kids seem to handle their parents’ divorcing better when they are younger than when they are older. As one of my twenty something friends said to me a few years ago, “You get to a point where you just count on your parents being together, and the thought of them ever divorcing is something you no longer worry about. The when it happens, it feels like your whole childhood was a lie.”  It seems so tragic that a couple can get through the diaper changes and the arguments over the in laws, the years of tight budgets and exhaustion from parenting, and then one day have the house to themselves and decide they just don’t want to be there. What broke my heart was when, after learning his other grandparents were divorcing, my grandson informed me “nobody stays together.” What can you say to a child when the majority of adults in his life are ending their relationships? I suppose as midlifers, we are going to have to figure this out for ourselves, as we go. It’s not something our grandparents ever taught us how to deal with. Maybe, like bellbottoms and leisure suits, Gray Divorce is just a fad.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five different sites.