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Regretting Grey Divorce
Old 07-16-2016, 05:35 PM   #1
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Regretting Grey Divorce

A friend at work my age (mid fifties) seemed to be depressed and had lost a lot of weight. He confided in me. His wife of over 25 years had announced she wanted a divorce. I was stunned. I knew him better than his wife of course, but they always seemed to be happy. They raised three kids in a stable loving home (the youngest has recently moved out like her older siblings).
He does not want the marriage to end. And their doesn't seem to be any specific reason except "she is unhappy".
It has been six months since she stated she wanted out. She now lives a separate life, sleeps in a different bedroom but in the same house. It is an arrangement that cannot go on forever and soon they will have to make the decision of how to divide assets and move to separate homes (unless of course they reconcile)
I have read articles that there seems to be a trend in grey divorce. I can read the statistics but what I am most interested in is to get a feel for how many people who initiate and go through with a grey divorce, regret the decision later.
Are these people generally happier with the life they have chosen leaving a long term marriage? Or is there a significant number that look back with regret?
I've been married over 25 years myself. My husband and I are still happy and committed.
Can anybody give me insight?
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:45 PM   #2
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"They raised three kids in a stable loving home (the youngest has recently moved out like her older siblings)."

I have seen dozens of divorces as soon as the last child leave the nest. The kids were the only glue holding the thing together
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:46 PM   #3
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Not to be short, but I don't think anyone can give insight into anyone else's marriage. The outside view is seldom close to the inside.
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Old 07-16-2016, 06:20 PM   #4
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I'm nervous turning 60 as I've discussed in another thread, but am very Thankful my wife and I seem to be growing closer as she is now working limited days on her way to full retirement after November. I am truly Blessed to have the DW I have.


Enjoying life!
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Old 07-16-2016, 06:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lakewood90712 View Post
"They raised three kids in a stable loving home (the youngest has recently moved out like her older siblings)."

I have seen dozens of divorces as soon as the last child leave the nest. The kids were the only glue holding the thing together
I'm not personally aware of dozens but still have seen a surprising number of gray divorces among the couples we know who were married for decades.
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Old 07-16-2016, 06:40 PM   #6
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Menopause?

I'm not trying to be flippant, but some women go through some pretty extreme shifts at that time (through no fault of their own - hormonal changes can just affect you in crazy ways), and it can throw the husband for a loop. We survived, but it made me think it might be the reason that other-wise happily married couples get a divorce at that stage of life.

A zillion other reasons are possible too, it's just one of many.

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Old 07-16-2016, 06:53 PM   #7
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According to this article in "Psychology Today" titled The Epidemic of Gray Divorces, 66% of gray divorces are initiated by women.

In 1990 only one in ten of all divorces involved people over fifty. In 2009 it was one in four.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...-gray-divorces

omni
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Old 07-16-2016, 07:12 PM   #8
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Not to be short, but I don't think anyone can give insight into anyone else's marriage. The outside view is seldom close to the inside.
Yup.
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Old 07-16-2016, 07:41 PM   #9
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Marriages and life in general can throw fast balls at us. There are so many factors involved in each of our lives. It'd be hard to do more than make generalizations on the causes based on couples I've known that have gone through divorces at all ages. Often times it has been better for both in the long run. But I've known some of the partners who requested the divorce to regret it later after their partner has moved on and remarried, etc.

I used to run marathons and once had the opportunity after a race to be lounging in a hotel swimming pool with an older fellow who had a history of finishing in the top of his age category. He'd raced for a long time and had a particularly bad run that day, even though he'd been trained and prepared. He commented that "races are a crap-shoot" and you can't always predict the outcome. But at 69, he was great-full to still be running races.This was many years ago, and I've always been reminded that life can be that way too.
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:02 PM   #10
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I just want to say it is just heart breaking to see this happen at later stages in life. I think some husbands and wives end up becoming mere roommates over the years. I don't know about men, but for women, or at least for me, honest communication and emotional connection (being understood, being tended to emotionally, and having respect and admiration for the other) is very important to me, and I know some married couples don't have these qualities, and become emotional strangers to each other, sharing the house, passing each other in the hallway and living totally separate emotional lives. I have no idea what happened to this particular couple (If the woman is saying she is just unhappy, it could be some kind of existential crisis), but I have seen dead marriages.
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:04 PM   #11
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There are endless possibilities of what can happen. It sucks but it's a great reminder to all of us to work hard on our own marriages no matter how great they may be.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:09 PM   #12
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The insight I want is NOT about this particular couple whom I wish well. It is a broader question...there is now a huge increase in grey divorce. Have most of them found the grass really is greener on the other side?

I will say about this couple. the wife is struggling with depression, and is uncharistically disengaged from her kids (she only talks to them when they call her) when before she was devoted and engaged. I am connected with her with social media and she posts "inspirational posts" about living life with passion, not comprimising, yada yada.
Before they were a couple that did EVERTHING together, and celebrated annivesarys birthdays with special gifts and experiences. Now she is so different. He hasn't changed much (except the weight loss) and he remains devoted in that he wants help her through the crisis and be there for her. but she refuses help (like suggestions to see a doctor).

I see this bombardment on social media messages to "do what makes you happy" etc...and it is not that some of these nuggets of "wisdom" aren't valid...but I think it skews a person expectations, especially those who are in crisis and vulnerable.

If one assumes a mid-life crisis is a temporary thing, then there are many people making decisions duirng that time that have permanent consequences. I think ERD 50 is right too.
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Old 07-16-2016, 10:49 PM   #13
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Unless one of them is running towards someone else, both are simply going to be lonely and trying to find their "sole mate" again...

And of course, their $$$ situation will be reduced due to legal fees and just getting approximately in an ideal world 1/2 of the pot.

One of them might have caused the issue, so one will carry guilt and the other will carry anger. Not a nice thing to bring to a new relationship.

I did read one article that said this was occurring a lot in Japan, but basically because the women didn't want to take care of their husbands in the end stage of life.
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Old 07-16-2016, 11:26 PM   #14
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The insight I want is NOT about this particular couple whom I wish well. It is a broader question...there is now a huge increase in grey divorce. Have most of them found the grass really is greener on the other side?
I think the seeds were sown 40 years earlier. Those turning 50 in 2016 were born in 1966. By the time they hit puberty, two societal aspects had changed the fundamental nature of marriage: the spread of no-fault divorce and the impact of the women's movement.
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Old 07-17-2016, 12:22 AM   #15
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The regret depends on the reason to leave.
I have a friend who left for greener grass. Her life is a mess now and she regrets. But husband has married again and is happy again.
If there is depression in the game the regret might come quickly.
If the reason is 'I have done my duty, the nest is empty and I want my share now' regret may never come. But it may come quickly if she is not able to build a satisfying new life.
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Old 07-17-2016, 05:23 AM   #16
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Let's not jump to the conclusion that singles, whether divorced or never married, are necessarily lonely or have lives that fall apart. There's a lot of that in the comments above. That's certainly not my experience. Not everyone wants to be married. One never knows how intolerable a marriage might be no matter what one sees on the surface. Loneliness in marriage can be far, far worse than being single.
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Old 07-17-2016, 05:39 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddler View Post
The insight I want is NOT about this particular couple whom I wish well. It is a broader question...there is now a huge increase in grey divorce. Have most of them found the grass really is greener on the other side?

I will say about this couple. the wife is struggling with depression, and is uncharistically disengaged from her kids (she only talks to them when they call her) when before she was devoted and engaged. I am connected with her with social media and she posts "inspirational posts" about living life with passion, not comprimising, yada yada.
Before they were a couple that did EVERTHING together, and celebrated annivesarys birthdays with special gifts and experiences. Now she is so different. He hasn't changed much (except the weight loss) and he remains devoted in that he wants help her through the crisis and be there for her. but she refuses help (like suggestions to see a doctor).

I see this bombardment on social media messages to "do what makes you happy" etc...and it is not that some of these nuggets of "wisdom" aren't valid...but I think it skews a person expectations, especially those who are in crisis and vulnerable.

If one assumes a mid-life crisis is a temporary thing, then there are many people making decisions duirng that time that have permanent consequences. I think ERD 50 is right too.
I have, obviously, no idea of or about this couple. What I do have after a divorce 18 years ago, and a 2nd marriage, is a 1% insight into some of this

I noticed during the crisis of my first marriage that there were TONS of people that wanted to "give my now ex-wife" advice on what she should do. Mostly, what I found is a lot of people wanting to live vicariously through her. People that were feeling dissatisfied in their own marriage, or who were lonely and sad from their own divorce, who wanted company, etc. It's very true the old adage that "misery loves company".

One thing to note. After our divorce, a few (not quite 3) years later I met my now DW, and we seem to be doing great. ( I say seem, because you can only control one side of that equation 100% for sure. One of the biggest and most important learnings from that 1st experience). Unfortunately, my ex has never remarried, has had many bouts with depression, the associated addictions to try and counter that and the accompanying legal ramifications of those addictions, etc. I truly feel sorry for her, and believe that it was a bad thing that she not only initiated but fought so hard against my efforts, to complete what she wanted all of those years ago. And I want to ask... where are all of those people that were giving the advice (ie. inspirational quotes, "live your life to the fullest"...) to her so long ago.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:23 AM   #18
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Pilot2013....actually, according to my friend that is exactly what is going on. She has surrounded herself with a new social group. They are encouraging her to "be brave, strong and LEAVE"
My friend was relieved to hear my advice to him...to be patient...understanding (that this crisis is depression driven and he can do very little but wait and hope she comes out of it).
I am hardly an old fashioned person that "doesn't believe in divorce'. Obviously divorce is warranted in many cases...but I can't help but felling the wife is going to really regret the decision in later years. That is if they do indeed split.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:32 AM   #19
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Pilot2013....actually, according to my friend that is exactly what is going on. She has surrounded herself with a new social group. They are encouraging her to "be brave, strong and LEAVE"
My friend was relieved to hear my advice to him...to be patient...understanding (that this crisis is depression driven and he can do very little but wait and hope she comes out of it).
I am hardly an old fashioned person that "doesn't believe in divorce'. Obviously divorce is warranted in many cases...but I can't help but felling the wife is going to really regret the decision in later years. That is if they do indeed split.
If all of her new friends are counseling her to leave maybe she is communicating some aspects of her life that you are not cognizant of. Could be she doesn't want to leave because of depression but is depressed by her realization that her life with her husband is currently toxic.
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:44 AM   #20
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Thing is....for 25 years it was not toxic. The things I remember from my long friendship with this man was the many thoughtful things they would do for each other. They were best friends as well as spouses. They were BOTH devoted to each other for decades. Now that is a one sided equation.
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