Straight facts about Gray Divorce

Photo by Jackson Simmer

There are many facts of life that are unpleasant.

Every year you’re going to have to pay taxes. You’re probably not going to win the lottery. And sometimes — sometimes more often than not — people who were once in love fall out of that love.

Divorce after the age of 50 — more commonly called Gray Divorce — is rising on a global scale, getting close to the highest divorce rate age group by some statistics.

According to Statistics Canada, the divorce rate for that age group increased by 26 per cent between 1991 and 2006.

Moreover, divorces are trending towards increasingly older ages across the board: the average age of divorce previously was 36 years old in 1980. It raised by a full decade, with the average age of divorce hitting 46 years old in 2020.

The total of divorced Canadians over age 65 grew by roughly 80 per cent, going from 352,000 in 2010 to 630,000 in 2020. This isn’t entirely due to the fact that Canadians are getting older period, however, as the population of married Canadians over 65 grew by only 45 per cent in the same period.

There are a variety of reasons why and Forbes states there are three main ones for why we’re seeing this increase.

One reason is that women are higher independent earners than in previous generations. One of the bigger barriers to divorce in the past was an independent income.

Couples experiencing “empty nests” when their adult children leave in their early 50s prompts a “hard look at what they want out of life” according to Forbes.

And finally, with people living longer than ever before — well into their 80s in many cases — couples are less apt to stay in unhappy relationships with the prospect of another two to three decades ahead of them.

There are a lot of legal issues that come with divorce at this period in life, with decades of asserts and intertwined lives being difficult to untangle. However, those questions are better suited to a lawyer or mediator. The questions that remain are just important, however: what is someone to do after a gray divorce?

If you’re not looking to date, that’s absolutely fine! There’s sometimes pressure to find another person with whom to spend the rest of your life, but there are plenty of platonic relations out there that can be just as fulfilling and rewarding.

Making new friends might seem daunting, but there are many opportunities out there. Unison has a variety of programs ranging from educational courses to drop-in cribbage. These are a great chance for finding companionship in a way that doesn’t have anything to do with romance.

What could be fulfilling as well is finding a place where you can volunteer. With the extra time on your hands, connecting in a way that gives back to your community helps you make long-lasting connections with the world around you. It’s a way to keep your heart full without dates or romantic getaways.

Beyond just spending your time, there’s an opportunity for self-expression in new and amazing ways. You can decorate and dress exactly how you’d like! If you want to wear a purple hat and have crushed velvet paintings of cats around where you live, you absolutely can. There’s nothing holding you back!

But if you’re interested in getting back out into the dating world, there’s nothing to stop you from that, either.

You may feel rushed wanting to dive headfirst into a relationship, but don’t let the spectre of some ticking clock put pressure on you. It’s best to take things as slowly as they need. Enjoy getting to know others at your own pace.

Be honest with what you’re looking for! Whether you’re wanting to keep things casual or are looking for something serious, being upfront with what you’re wanting out of companionship is an important aspect of dating — at any age!

There are plenty of apps and websites for dating that work exceedingly well, but be aware of those aiming to prey on those looking for love. Scammers and fakers will not only waste your time but take advantage of your search to their own ends: which usually involves getting you to send them your hard-earned money.

The most important thing to remember is that dating should add to your happiness and quality of life. Don’t spend a minute with someone that doesn’t make you as happy as you want to be.

Because at the end of the day, that’s another important fact of life — one much more positive in nature: we all deserve to be happy, at any age or stage in our lives.