Short marriages and long-term marriages alike can face the unexpected reality of ending in divorce. But while society often focuses on the challenges of shorter marriages it’s equally important to explore why couples may decide to part ways after multiple decades together. In fact, understanding the factors behind getting divorced after a 40-year marriage can influence how couples decide to approach this significant life change.
Why It Happens
When couples decide to divorce after spending many years together it’s rarely a sudden or impulsive decision. Typically, there are numerous underlying reasons especially considering the length of their marriage.
Marriages often encounter difficulties when couples face changes in their lives or relationship and find it difficult to adapt. The birth of the first child is one such example that can heighten tensions over housekeeping, finances and childrearing. A study by psychologists Robert Levenson of the University of California, Berkeley, and John Gottman of the Gottman Relationship Institute, observed that divorces during this period are frequently marked by anger and intense disputes.
“Growing apart” is another common reason for midlife divorces. Psychologist Terri Orbuch of the University of Michigan observed that couples often experience relationship ruts and feel unappreciated which can lead to feelings of frustration and isolation. In fact, according to Orbuch, marriages in which husbands perceive a lack of appreciation are twice as likely to end. Divorces at this life stage are usually characterized by coldness and emotional detachment.
However, these dynamics are just some of the broader complexities faced by couples. From shifting relationships to the daunting prospect of starting over, the challenges of divorcing after 40 years of marriage are manifold, and uncovering the why often involves a journey of personal reflection, rediscovery and transformation.
Considerations After 40 Years
The decision to end a 40-year marriage involves a variety of additional factors such as age, retirement, financial planning and lifestyle adjustments. As couples navigate the complexities of these types of divorces, especially divorce after 25 years, it’s important to remember that this planning and adjusting is part of a gradual process, a delicate reshaping of lives in the aftermath of a decades-long union.