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Older women divorcing at historically high rates

A recent report released by the National Center for Family and Marriage states that one in every four divorces filed is between couples over the age of 50. That number is more than double the 1990 statistics concerning divorce. An AARP study also shows that the majority of those divorces are instigated by women. The numbers indicate there may be a growing expiration date on marriage for many couples.

In the past, couples often divorced because of money problems or infidelity. Although that certainly remains true, the reasons have changed for a significant number of couples as the baby boomer era has progressed.

When the children are grown and there is less shared commitment, boredom and subtle resentment can creep in and work to make a previously successful marriage fizzle for mid-lifers, according to marital experts. By the time some women reach 50, they are ready to unloose the tie that binds and rediscover themselves. When couples have grown apart, women can become bored with housekeeping and also tired of husband-keeping.

Statistics show that divorce rates doubled for couples between the ages of 50 and 64 between 1990 and 2009. Experts believe that after a lifetime of nurturing other people, many women simply want independence. More of them are financially independent than at any previous time, and they also tend to build a strong network of friends that can help as they rebuild their lives post-divorce.

Men often leave a marriage because they have found someone else they deem more compatible. Today, women are initiating a separation in ever-larger numbers because, more than anything else, they simply want independence. Research from many sources indicates that women generally seek to be more active as they move through middle age and beyond than do men.

"Women are much more active as they get older, where men really slow down. All they want is the computer and TV," Wellington psychologist Shirley Bass says. "Many women leave because they've just had it."

Source: Palm Beach Post, "After age 50, women are divorcing at double the rate of 20 years ago" Barbara Marshall, Feb. 7, 2012

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