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Why Do Older Married Couples Get Divorced?

As I get older, I’m more and more comfortable being alone.

Sienna Miller

Divorce among older couples occurs for various reasons and difficulties. To better understand the motives for such a decision, you should familiarize yourself with them in more detail. 

Unresolved conflict

With seniors divorce becoming increasingly common, many older couples seek to end their marriages due to unresolved disputes and disagreements that have been going on for years. Even if couples stay married, conflicts can still cause a lot of stress and unhappiness in the relationship, leading to distance from each other, and people feeling lonely. In addition, the older a couple gets, the less likely they are to be able to resolve their problems in a healthy way. Couples who divorce after 60 may find it difficult to find solutions to their conflicts because they have been married for a very long time and find it difficult to open up to new perspectives or ways of communicating. In this case, the best option for both parties may be to file for divorce in Riverside county.

Here are some statistics on the marital history of older adults according to United States Census Bureau:

Financial issues

Financial instability can be a major factor in elderly divorce, as partners may not have the financial resources to sustain their marriage. 

Financial needs can increase with age due to the need for medical services and expensive medications, so many seniors struggle to make ends meet by saving money and scrimping on everything. Couples with limited resources may find it difficult to maintain their budget and afford the necessary expenses associated with marriage. Savings are spent on medical treatment and other healthcare services, so the couple’s income is significantly reduced. These factors can lead to financial instability and contribute to divorce for older people.

Changes in income and pensions can also affect an older couple’s relationship. If one of the spouses suddenly finds himself or herself without income due to retirement to the minimum pension, this can create enormous stress for the marriage and lead to a breakup after the age of 60. In such cases, it is difficult for partners to plan their budget, financial troubles negatively affect the relationship, and this can affect the elderly divorce.


Emotional coldness and inconsistency with needs cause misunderstandings and feelings of loneliness. Husbands and wives try to compensate for their emotional needs by having an outside relationship. Many people find it difficult to forgive infidelity, so the relationship ends in a breakup and a decision to live apart. Often, adultery is the result of problems and difficulties in a relationship that need to be addressed in a timely manner to prevent an affair. Lack of mutual understanding and neglect of each other’s needs and interests can cause a desire to seek and assert themselves outside of marriage. Feelings of resentment, distrust, and guilt arise between the spouses, which can cause irreparable damage to the relationship.

Lack of intimacy

According to the American Psychological Association, the number of divorces among people over 60 has more than doubled since the 1990s. One of the most common reasons for this is a lack of intimacy. As couples age and retire, their lives become less active, and they often spend less time alone with each other. This may be due to the following factors:

  • health problems
  • new interests;
  • age-related changes;
  • desire to spend more time with children and grandchildren.

As a result, there is a sense of loneliness and resentment between partners, which can lead to the breakdown of the marriage. Lack of physical intimacy can also be a serious problem. As spouses age, they may experience a decrease in libido, and physical illnesses may appear that prevent them from making love. Partners move away from each other, and there is a breakdown in the emotional connection between them, which is a threat to the marriage.

Age-related changes

In recent years, elderly divorce rates have increased. In most cases, couples who have been together for a long time find that the relationship no longer meets their needs or expectations. As couples grow older, they may find that they have different goals and interests, leading to drift apart. One of the partners may experience a lack of attention, which raises doubts about the feasibility of cohabitation. For example, a spouse may have a new hobby that is not shared by the other spouse. Against this background, dissatisfaction, and conflicts arise, which will eventually lead to divorce in old age.

Changes in values and priorities

According to an analysis conducted by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, the number of divorces among people over 60 has doubled over the past two decades. One of the main reasons for this increase in seniors divorce is changes in values and priorities. With age, they can change dramatically compared to those at the beginning of the relationship. This is especially true for people who have been together for many years.

When couples get married, they may have certain expectations or goals that they want to achieve together. However, over time, these goals may change and evolve. For example, one partner may become more career-focused, while the other partner may decide to focus all their attention on family life. This can cause serious problems between spouses as different wants and needs are difficult to reconcile.

In addition, when couples reach retirement age, priorities often change in relation to things like career and finances, health, and leisure. This can lead to disagreements between spouses due to different ideas about how to spend their free time or use their resources. When relationships become strained due to incompatible values and priorities, it can be difficult for couples to stay together, so many eventually decide that divorce is the best option for them to continue on their separate paths in life.

Domestic violence

Older people file for divorce because of physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse. Divorce can be a difficult decision for couples who have lived together for many years. Unfortunately, the consequences of abuse can also occur in old age.

Physical abuse is the use of physical force to cause pain or injury to another person. Older people who suffer from physical abuse may feel helpless and powerless because their abuser is often someone they trust and depend on. In addition to physical harm, victims also experience mental trauma, such as

  • anxiety
  • depression;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emotional violence can be as harmful as physical violence. It is humiliation through words, behavior, and actions that make a person feel worthless or inferior. This negative impact can be difficult to detect, as there are no visible marks or bruises left by the abuser’s actions. However, victims suffer from depression, low self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness.

Financial violence is another form of domestic violence that involves controlling a partner’s access to money without their permission. This type of abuse often makes older people feel isolated and helpless because they are unable to support themselves financially.

The consequences of domestic violence can be unpredictable or even horrific. Therefore, it is important not to ignore humiliation, regardless of its type, and to seek help from family members, friends, or professionals before making any decisions about divorce.