Five Factors That Contribute to Midlife Divorce

  • 3 Minus 1 = No Fun

    When the last child leaves the nest, the parents often find they have nothing to talk about or, worse, nothing in common. The hobbies you shared during the early years may no longer hold the interest of one or both of you. You may have sold the business you built together during the first years of your marriage. The physical spark may well have dimmed. But you didnt notice this as long as you still had kids living under your roof, kids you parented together, kids whose lives you were intricately entwined with. Now the kids are gone, and you find yourself staring at each other, wondering just what there is to talk about, whats holding you two together.

    Sometimes nothing is, and divorce really is the best answer. But whoa! Before you give up and put your respective lawyers on speed-dial, try to reconnect. If your life seems meaningless without your child, get a job, get a new hobby, do volunteer workpreferably something you two can talk about together. If your hobby is knitting, theres not much conversation fodder once youve announced, I started a new sweater today. And your husband probably doesnt find the intricacies of knitting and purling fascinating dinner conversation. A shared hobby or volunteer work is even better, but you dont have to actually both be involved as long as you both find the topic interesting. If that doesnt do it, you may need to open the Yellow Pages to Attorneys after all.

  • Dissatisfaction Breeds Discontent The midyears are a time when most of us tend to look back at what weve accomplished and gaze ahead to what we have to look forward to. If you havent accomplished much of what youd hoped to, you may feel a far-reaching dissatisfaction, one that creeps into every corner of your life. And that generalized dissatisfaction can even affect your feelings about parts of your life that arent really what youre unhappy aboutlike your marriage. If thats your situation, before you head for divorce court, ask yourself if your marriage is really the problem and if living alone or being married to someone else would really make you more successful, more accomplished, richer, better travelled, or whatever your real complaints are. In many of these cases, the marriage is not really the culprit at all.
  • Your Spouses Midlife Reevaluation Sometimes youre not the one whos dissatisfied; sometimes its your spouse. In that case, it may be that hes suffering from the same symptoms we just discussed, above. Or it could be that youre taking the marriage for granted.Whens the last time you dressed up just for him? Wore a slinky nightgown to bed? Treated him special, the way you did when you were dating? Seduced him in bed? Cooked a special meal for no reason but to make him happy? Walked with him out in the backyard and just gazed up at the stars with your arms around each other? Drove to the riverbank and made out in the car like a couple of kids? Told him all the reasons that you love him? Try it. You may just revitalize your marriage!
  • Birthday Blues Often a birthdayand not necessarily a significant onetriggers a realization that your youth is gone, but it doesnt require a birthday to bring that mindset. For me it was the birth of my first grandchild; for you it could be looking at old photos or a visit from a friend you havent seen since college, or hearing about the fabulous time your daughters having, living on her own in the big city. Suddenly, though, you realize youre not young anymore, and you resent it.For some people, this results in a desire to grasp at their evanescing youth and try to bring it back, complete with all the excitement it heldwhich, for many people includes memories of their years dating. Why cant I still be part of all that fun? And prestoyoure getting divorcedfor all the wrong reasons. You may find a young lover, or you may just put yourself back into the singles scene.Beware. The singles scene for a person of middle years is not what it is for a twentysomething. And, if your memory of your years as a twentysomething single has fuzzed somewhat, try to recapture the angst, the feeling of those lonely nights, and all the other negatives. It wasnt all fun the first time around, either.
  • Better Late than Never If you really arent happy, if you really arent getting what you want out of marriage and it cant be repaired, not even through marital counseling, then youre better off making a break while youre still young enough to look forward to a reasonable number of good years in a better relationship. But before you jump ship, make sure youre leaving for the right reasonsand not all the wrong ones. Untying the marital knot is neither easy nor pleasant nor inexpensive. Be sure its your spouse youre dissatisfied with, and not other aspects of your lifeor your age.About the author: Cynthia MacGregor is the author of 54 conventionally published books, over 30 e-books, and countless articles and other writing.