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Gray divorce on the rise: 6 reasons we avoid living unhappily ever after

On Behalf of | May 19, 2021 | Divorce |

Lately, divorce has become a hot topic with Bill and Melinda Gates getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage. Why would two of the richest people in the world separate? The reason, they have grown apart. They are not alone. Gray divorce rates have basically doubled, if not tripped, in the last 20 to 30-years with people waiting until kids are grown and they no longer have to live “unhappily ever after.”

Why gray divorce happens

According to the CDC, each year there are approximately 746,971 divorces each year with 45 states reporting. With more and more couples getting divorced after years of seemingly happy marriages, we have to ask why. Is it merely the empty nest syndrome or are there other factors that come into play? Here are some of the most common reasons a couple may divorce after raising the kids.


As couples enter the retirement years, a lot of changes take place. It often means we go from busy lives to sitting around with only one another to talk to, especially if the kids are grown and out of the home. This can be more than some couples can handle. There are times when we feel that we have nothing to say to one another or may not like each other anymore.

Age and health issues

Health issues that result in a lack of desire for one partner or another can make an otherwise happy couple feel disconnected. Impotence, menopause and other things can all take the spark out of a relationship and make couples drift apart.

Different needs and wants

She wants to lose weight and be active, he wants to sit and watch TV. They rarely speak to one another and both feel that the other just resides in the home with them. This is just an example of some of the ways that support can diminish. It can extend to all hobbies and wants.

Money issues

When one or both are working, money issues may seem like a thing of the past. However, when we get older the spending habits of one may become a problem within the marriage. Income comes in slower and one or the other may feel that someone is wasting money on frivolous things. Gambling, stylish clothing, expensive dinners, etc. may all become a rift between them.


Back years ago, couples would often marry because of a sense of obligation. Marrying the “nice girl/boy” was something that could dictate who we chose as a partner. Unwanted pregnancies could also do it because what started as a fling became a “trap”. In today’s world, we have less obligation, which can make it easier to gain freedom.

Simply growing apart

As with Bill and Melinda Gates, sometimes couples just drift apart. They may have affairs or other loves, they may feel disconnected from one another, etc. It does not mean that either one is at fault. It simply means they want to see who they are without each other.

We do live in a time when no one has to be unhappy in their marriage, whether you are newlyweds seeking a divorce or someone looking for a gray divorce. This list does not even scratch the surface of why people may separate. Once you have your reason, whatever it may be, it will then be important for you to focus on doing it the right way.