After decades of marriage, divorce is usually the last thing people expect. And such a drastic change later in life can have a lot of consequences. So, here’s how to survive divorce after 30 years of marriage.
Surviving divorce after decades together may require a high-paying job to offset financial challenges while spending time with friends and engaging in activities that bring joy will enhance mental and emotional states.
Sometimes, it surprises people how a happy couple married for many years would one day decide to get a divorce out of the blue.
Generally, divorces are stressful because what comes after can be very challenging – not everyone can handle divorce well. In fact, it might be impossible to get over it – however, you may be able to survive it if you get good help.
Why Do Marriages Fail After 30 Years?
If you are going through a divorce after a long-term marriage, you will have some questions on your mind. They are – “where did things actually go wrong?” and “why do marriages fail after several years?”
As a divorced father of three, I had these same questions and had to go through the experience with little or no support to get answers.
First, you should know that there is no particular reason why people divorce their partners later in life. However, some signs may have been forthcoming; hence, deciding to end things one day isn’t always impulsive.
For baby boomers married for a long time and now getting a divorce, the decision stems from signs over the years. Both parties may have noticed their patience threshold and figured they could no longer keep up.
Secondly, while there is no specific reason, people learn how to make reasons for themselves. For instance, subsequent cases have shown that one party craves freedom – outside their marriage.
One spouse most likely wants to spend time alone without being restricted or legally bound by a union to another. In this case, it looks more like a personal decision to choose one’s happiness.
Another case that shows why older people get divorced is the feeling of emptiness or lack of emotional support. At this age, baby boomers, especially wives, may have exhausted themselves taking care of their kids and family.
It is only normal to expect less or nothing from either party, thus, creating a void or an empty nest that needs to be filled by something unusual.
In another instance, it could be that one spouse met someone else after falling out of love with the other. And for their happiness, they are willing to take the risk and get a divorce to be with someone new. It saves them from committing adultery.
Health problems are also not out of the question as to why married couples get a divorce after several years.
Older couples often consider this method to speed up the whole process. It could also be the one last chance to rejuvenate their lives and spend it with their adult children apart.
But even if you’re already divorced, is reconciliation possible?
Certain things are almost impossible to forgive or let go of. But upwards of 40% of couples who divorce do end up reconciling.
Check out this recent article where I get into the exact steps to make that happen, including the 1 crucial thing you’re probably not doing.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 2, 2021
How Common Is Divorce After 30 Years of Marriage?
By now, you should know that divorce happens to any age group. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been married for 10 or 30 years. However, another thing that may be on your mind is how common it is.
Sometimes, it feels like you are the only one going through the experience and nobody exactly knows what you are feeling. Well, the truth is that several older and younger adults feel almost the same type of way.
According to the Pew Research Center study in 2017, the gray divorce rate has tripled over the last two decades.
Interestingly, this study has been backed by the U.S. Census Bureau and National Center for Health Statistics. That means one out of five marriages involving older adults in the United States have ended.
There is also a published study by Bowling Green State University: “The Gray Divorce Resolution: Rising Divorce Among Middle-Aged And Older Adults, 1990 – 2010.”
Also, according to divorce statistics, younger adults seem to be having it down bad. The divorce rate is twice what older adults experience.
Unfortunately, this rate doesn’t look like it will get any less because not many relationships or marriages are working. It would only take a situation for one spouse to call the marriage quits.
Recently, Bill and Melinda Gates had a divorce that shocked everyone.
Their marriage of nearly 30 years (27 years) ended in 2021. In an interview with Bill, he admitted to having made a mistake, which is one of the many reasons couples give.
However, while they plan to go their separate ways, the duo will still run some activities together, including The Gates Foundation.
So, if you wonder whether divorces are common, there you have it – two of the world’s richest are experiencing it – Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.
But if second and third marriages end, is it a red flag?
Find out in this recent article. I get into the actual statistical success rates for 2nd and 3rd marriages. But I also point out the one thing couples that make it work do more than any other thing.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
How Do You Know When Your 30-Year Marriage Is Over?
For some people, getting a divorce is inevitable.
Others don’t realize there is a problem until one spouse gets a court petition for divorce. Notwithstanding, there are ways to know if your 30-year marriage is over or not.
Here are some of the biggest ways to know things are over:
1. Lack of Emotional Support and Intimacy
One of the common signs of an unhappy marriage is the lack of emotional intimacy and support.
Naturally, you are likely not to feel the same way you felt about someone when you first met them 30 years ago. Many things would have changed, and you would have known the person beyond their appearance.
However, if you realize that every minute you spend with them, there is not much you get from them regarding your emotions, it is a sign.
Likewise, if you don’t feel a certain level of attraction to them anymore, it is also a sign that your marriage may be on the bridge. You could visit a family therapist to discuss this, but if nothing changes, divorce is inevitable.
2. Constant Disagreements
Everyone is human, and at one point or another, you will disagree with your spouse over certain issues. Baby boomers are not excluded from having disagreements.
However, if these disagreements become consistent, with little or no improvement from either party, then there is a problem.
In that situation, it won’t take long before one party threatens the other with a divorce. It automatically means they cannot do the disagreements anymore and crave freedom.
3. Unrequited Effort
According to statistics, about 75 to 80% of women file for divorce, which isn’t done impulsively. First, women communicate their feelings and even provide ways to make things work.
Next, they decide to wait for improvements.
However, if the husband shows unrequited effort to make the marriage work again, it is only safe to conclude that such a person is done. In fact, the spouse might be expecting it.
4. Poor Communication
Another way to know if your 30-year marriage is over is through communication. Ideally, people in relationships or marriages are expected to communicate about certain topics or issues.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter – it is one way of bonding.
If you are having an unresponsive partner or their attitude towards having some conversations with you feels off, then there is a problem. They would keep shying away from the topic until you get frustrated or uninterested in talking about it.
5. Threats of Domestic Violence
Even people in marriages over 30 years suffer domestic violence – it is not age-specific. And over the years, one spouse may have significantly suffered before calling it quits.
So, if you’ve started noticing threats of domestic violence at the slightest provocation, you should re-think your marriage status.
But leaving isn’t always easy, and many make the unfortunate choice to stay.
But even if you feel trapped (financially or otherwise), you do have options. Check this recent article on how to leave an unhappy marriage.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
— Rhiannon Ford (@rhiannon_ford) August 31, 2022
Do Men or Women Suffer The Most After a Gray Divorce?
After family law attorneys process a divorce decree and both parties end their marriage, the next question becomes – “who suffers the most?”
According to recent studies, men suffer the most after a gray divorce.
It doesn’t matter if the man has been expecting one; post-divorce consequences are scary. It could affect their entire lifestyle or personality. But this isn’t really surprising given that it’s the woman who files for divorce about 80% of the time.
Below are some problems that most people face after a long marriage ends.
1. Health Problems
Undoubtedly, every couple’s marriage is connected to their life. Choosing that person from the onset means you want to spend the rest of your life with them.
However, if a situation happens that you file a divorce, there is a huge impact on your life – it doesn’t remain the same again.
Naturally, men have to deal with several mental health problems, including insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
They find themselves in a situation where they must care for themselves alone. Women, on the other hand, may experience certain issues but learn to move on from them, according to sociologists.
2. Personality Problems
Another impact on one’s life after a divorce is regarding personality. Several times, the affected parties would have to deal with rebranding their identities.
In fact, most men struggle with performing certain tasks in their day-to-day life.
When health and personality problems strike, it is only a matter before loneliness sets in.
Men suffer greatly in this aspect because, half the time, divorce proceedings often favor women – for instance, in young couples, women gain child custody.
So, being alone without anyone to call a family around can be depressing.
4. Financial Problems
Another thing men and women suffer the most after a gray divorce is financial problems. The experience teaches you how to live with limited resources as an older adult.
In another situation, the court often orders young divorced men to pay child support.
— Steven Benke (@stevebenke) July 1, 2020
Can a Divorced Woman Get Ex-Husband’s Social Security?
When two married people get a divorce, there are always consequences for their decisions.
One such is the economic aftermath. Gray divorces also have their own substantial financial effects, and men suffer more than women.
From studies, it was discovered that women’s standard of living drops at most 45% after getting a divorce, while for men drops at barely 21%.
However, it was discovered in older adults that these rates hardly rebound because there are few or limited means for these individuals to build their wealth.
There is hardly a chance for them to be in the workforce to regain their savings.
Nevertheless, there is still a bit of favor for divorced women. They can get an ex-husband’s social security based on certain policies.
For instance, if a policy binds married people to remain together until death is breached due to a divorce, the divorced party will benefit from the social security disbursement.
Generally, this disbursement often involves an ex-husband’s worker’s benefits. The only problem is that compared to a widowed case, social security benefits are smaller in a gray divorce case.
It can also be assumed that a gray divorced woman would likely end up in poverty if she depended on this spousal support.
In another instance, if an ex-husband remarries and dies, the divorced party loses every opportunity of getting the ex-husband’s pension if a court order is non-existing. Ideally, a court order, in this case, only favors the current spouse before death.
So, yes, a divorced woman can get an ex-spouse’s social security, but it doesn’t always hold much value in a gray situation.
I couldn’t imagine life without drinking.
I couldn’t fathom life after divorce.
And here I am, wrapping up a glorious, sober vacation in Ireland with a new love in my life
Now I know what I am capable of
Now I know what I deserve ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ggm7y1R1SM
— Becca – The Unashamed Alcoholic Podcast (@UnashamedAlc) July 3, 2022
How Do People Afford Life After Divorce?
If you are going through a gray divorce, learning how to adapt to your situation is important. Here are some things you could do;
1. Moving in with Family Members
You will need much care and attention after a divorce as an older adult.
First, your health will be affected; next, you will have to deal with financial issues since your income is likely to drop. Therefore, you should consider moving to a family home to protect your physical and mental health.
Sometimes, living with family members will allow you to live within your means and get the help you need. Interestingly, you may find yourself trying new things even in your old age.
2. Create a Budget For Your Needs
The post-divorce stage is scary; if you are not careful, you may lose all your life savings. When I became divorced as a baby boomer, I had to review my finances and focus mainly on my needs.
This strategy helped because I could figure out the expenses that could get me bankrupt.
Additionally, it would be best if you considered reviewing your retirement, liquid, real estate, and business assets. You could collect accurate statements of your finances so you can plan properly.
By doing this, getting through a divorce settlement phase shouldn’t be difficult.
3. Spend Time With Other People
If you don’t plan to stay with family members, i.e., and decide to keep your house, then you should avoid solitude and develop new relationships. Spending time with other people, especially divorcees, is a good way to enjoy life and split the cost of some of the expenses.
You need a fresh start with people outside your circle (i.e., when you were married).
You can consider using social media if you struggle with meeting new people physically. Undoubtedly, it is the easiest and the best way to meet people of different age groups today.
But going out to eat, engaging in group activities, or having weekly get-togethers is a great way to enjoy life while splitting the costs with others instead of paying for everything as a single person.
But if men want to be the best versions of themselves after a divorce, there are a few key steps.
See this recent article on how to start a new life after a divorce. I get into all the best practices and the 1 thing to avoid if you want this next chapter of your life to be your best.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
4. Join a Support Group
Divorce isn’t always easy to handle alone. You need a support system to get through the phase. And the best way to find that is to join a support group in your area.
The support group won’t cut your expenses. But you may get good ideas from others about how to either cut expenses, boost income (or both).
5. See a Therapist
First marriages ending are the most challenging because you may even need to see a therapist. People do this to stand on their feet and build a new life for themselves.
However, if your second marriage ends, you may not necessarily consider it because you know the rodeo.
Healthy communication is essential within any relationship! This is especially true after a betrayal of trust. One healthy solution to rebuild trust in your relationship is marriage counseling. Find out more abut our couple therapy options at our website! #Therapy #CouplesTherapy pic.twitter.com/4blOLUMOr3
— My-Therapist, Inc. (@mytherapistnc) September 6, 2022
Alternatives to Divorce for Older Couples
Sometimes, divorce may not be the best option. In fact, the consequences often leave many people destabilized for life. However, there are alternatives to divorce, especially for baby boomers.
One of the healthiest ways to avoid a divorce is to get professional help through counseling. It could be the best way to save your marriage.
Here, the counselor asks both parties to state their concerns and develops strategies for another chance at collaborating.
In another case, the counselor may develop an approach for both parties to separate amicably without the mess that comes with divorce.
Another method is mediation.
It often involves the invitation of a neutral party to facilitate the relationship between two spouses. This party may also be responsible for helping married couples agree on certain things, such as financial support or property division.
Separation has been known to be one of the best options for avoiding divorce. It simply involves both parties going their separate ways without legally terminating their marriage.
This method releases a spouse from certain obligations required for living with another.
Not every state has legal separation though. So check with an attorney in your state. If your state doesn’t have legal separation and you never actually get a divorce, you could be liable for debts incurred by your spouse (and vice versa).
4. Conscious Uncoupling
Like separation, conscious uncoupling is both parties agreeing to dissolve their marriage, sometimes without official divorce proceedings.
It was popularized by Coldplay’s Chris Martin when he split from his wife Gwyneth Paltrow.
It reduces an actual divorce’s emotional, financial, and physical consequences. Most couples that use this method often support and respect one another in the long run.
Ultimately though, you do still get divorced. But theoretically, it makes it smoother and more amicable.
5. Collaborative Divorce
It is almost similar to mediation. The only difference is that mediation requires going to court, while collaborative divorce doesn’t. It allows spouses to work out certain agreements with the help of individual family law attorneys.
If you’re a woman who was dumped, you may feel lost and alone.
While men only dump women about 20% of the time, especially in gray divorces, it can feel impossible to get your husband to come back.
Luckily in this recent article, I cover all the details you need to know on how to make that happen. I even give you the 1 tip that will make you almost irresistible to him, even if he’s with a younger woman now.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
When I went through my very first divorce, I had no one to tell me exactly what to do until a few months later.
It was the hardest six months of my life because I felt lonely for the first time, even as a father of three.
However, I have put this piece together to help people who may be going through a similar situation. Ending a 30-year marriage isn’t always easy; getting through it alone can be depressing. Maybe you ignored the signs at first, but I’ve mentioned them above and discussed the various ways to afford life again.
More importantly, you now know better that there are other alternatives to divorce and considering any of them before settling for a divorce is great.