What’s a “Gray Divorce?” It’s Happening More Than Ever

What’s a “Gray Divorce?” It’s Happening More Than Ever

Older women are leaving their bad marriages and starting over.

By Marianne Garvey

More and more women over 55 are up and leaving their long-term husbands, a relationship expert tells Personal Space. It’s called a Gray Divorce.

And although the trend has happened before, New York based relationship expert and author of The Breakup Bible Rachel Sussman says that she’s seeing it happen in her therapy practice now more than ever. 

“The trend is happening with Baby Boomers, with women leaving and ending the marriages,” she explains. “The thought behind it is that women are earning their own money, and now people live longer, the kids have left the house, so why would you stay in an unhappy marriage for another 30 years?”

Rachel says that women used to be more hesitant to leave their partners because of the fear of supporting themselves, and a loss of self esteem, two things which have dramatically changed over the years for women.

“Women feel more independent today, and can be very youthful and aging well,” she says. “They say ‘I raised my kids, this is my time.’ When I counsel couples like this, the women wants to get out and do things, travel, be active, and the men don’t.”

Rachel says that a positive physical transformation often follows an emotional one during these breakups.

“You get out there and date again or travel, and a lot of people start to feel young again and get excited about life,” she says.

And the trend keeps increasing. 

In 2015, Americans over 50 were twice as likely to get divorced as couples the same age 20 years earlier. And more than half of all gray divorces happen to couples who are still in their first marriage. 

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