15 Most Common Reasons for a Gray Divorce

When a couple gets divorced after they have been married for over 20 years, it often comes as a shock. But what is even more surprising is when couples get divorced in their 40s and 50s. The number of “gray divorces” has been increasing in recent years, and there are many reasons for this trend.

1. Life Crisis

A midlife crisis can be a major cause of divorce in middle-aged couples. Sometimes, people get to the point where they don’t know who they are anymore and go through an identity crisis. They may feel bored with their lives or unhappy with the choices they’ve made up until now and decide that it’s time for a change. Often, the real reason behind the divorce is that one partner has outgrown the other. If you’re having a midlife crisis, you should think about whether or not you want to work on your marriage or if it’s time for a divorce, it’s important not to act too impulsively or rashly. Divorce is very serious and should be considered carefully before making any decisions. You may find yourself feeling regretful after going through such an emotionally difficult process as divorce or separation; so always think about whether this is really what you want for yourself!

2. Adultery

The most common reason for divorce is infidelity or cheating. It could be a one-time affair, or it could even be an ongoing relationship. Either way, when one partner finds out about the other’s infidelity, that puts enormous stress on the marriage and leads to divorce in more than 50% of cases where adultery is the cause.

The person who cheats is often dealing with issues of self-esteem and needs to feel wanted or desired. In many cases, the marriage itself was not going well and the cheating could be seen as an attempt to escape from it. The other partner may have moved on emotionally but not physically or they may be fully invested in the marriage but unaware of the affair.

No matter what the reasons are for adultery, it always creates a lot of hurt and betrayal. It can be very hard to rebuild trust after an affair has taken place. Many couples find that they cannot move past the infidelity and choose to end their marriage as a result.

3. Communication issues

Communication is the key to any healthy relationship. When one or both partners cannot communicate effectively they will have difficulty working out their problems and resolving conflicts, which can lead to divorce. One of the biggest reasons for grey divorces has to do with communication breakdown after many years together.

If you’re feeling like your marriage may be in trouble, it’s important to seek out couples counseling. A therapist can help you and your partner work through any communication issues that you may be experiencing.

4. Emotional burnout

When one or both partners have grown tired of the emotional labor that goes into a marriage, they may opt for a divorce. This can be especially common after years of taking care of children and home life.

After the children have grown and left home, couples may find that they’ve drifted apart. There is no longer a common goal to raise their children together. Alternatively, one partner might want more freedom than he/she had while raising kids or perhaps more time for hobbies or travel.

5. Lack of appreciation

When you take someone for granted, it’s only a matter of time before they decide to leave. Most people need to feel appreciated and respected to be happy with their relationship. If your spouse doesn’t feel like this anymore, the first thing that will happen is that they will start looking elsewhere for that appreciation.

If you notice your spouse acting cold and distant, it’s important to step back and find out why. They may feel like they aren’t appreciated by you anymore. If this is the case, talk openly with them about how they are feeling and come up with a plan to make them feel appreciated again.

6. Self-actualization and fatigue

As people age, they may realize that their needs and wants have changed. They may no longer be content with the life they have been living and seek self-actualization. This can lead to fatigue if one partner is trying to keep up with the other’s new interests and lifestyle changes. Fatigue can lead to resentment, which is one of the primary reasons why couples divorce.

7. New feelings and needs

One of the most common reasons for a gray divorce is that the couple has new feelings and needs that they didn’t have when they were younger. They may feel like they need more independence or want to travel more. Alternatively, one partner may feel like they’re not getting what they need from the relationship and decide to end it.

If you are going through a gray divorce, it’s important to realize that your needs may change as you age. For example, if you want more freedom or independence in retirement, but your spouse isn’t on board with the idea of an open marriage or travel dating for seniors, then this might be a sign that it’s time to get divorced. Be honest about how much time and space each of you needs before making any decisions about what kind of relationship will work best.

8. Finances

Often, one spouse has become fed up with how the other spends or saves money. In some cases, one spouse may have mishandled joint funds or racked up debt without the other knowing. And in others still, one spouse may simply want to retire earlier than the other and doesn’t want to continue splitting their income 50/50.

Whatever the financial reason for your divorce, it’s important to protect yourself financially during this process by keeping bank accounts separate, hiring a lawyer and accountant who can be trusted with your finances, etc. You’ll also want to set aside the money you may need in the case of an emergency. Divorce is stressful enough; don’t let money make it worse.

9. Addictions

Addictions cause you to put things and people ahead of your marriage. You will feel like the addicted spouse is choosing the addiction over you, causing a rift between the two of you. Intimacy can be hard to restore when one spouse has an addiction such as drugs or alcohol that he/she cannot keep under control.

Addictions can cause you to lie and behave dishonestly. In these cases, the spouse without the addiction may feel as though his/her partner is not being faithful or honest with him/her. If your husband has an addiction that he will not admit to having and refuses treatment, this could be a reason for divorce.

10. Empty Nest Syndrome

When children leave home, one or both spouses may feel like they have lost their purpose in life. They may no longer have anything to talk about or any shared experiences to reminisce about. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can eventually cause the couple to drift apart.

If this happens, one or both partners may look outside the marriage for companionship. The divorce rate is highest when children are between the ages of 18 and 24. This is because many couples who have come to rely on their children as a source of fulfillment in life suddenly find themselves completely alone once again. As a result, they either decide that they don’t want to be together anymore or they start looking elsewhere for happiness – which can lead them right into an affair!

11. Retirement

When one spouse retires and the other doesn’t, it can create a huge rift in the relationship. Suddenly, one person has all this newfound free time and the other feels like they’re being left behind. This can lead to tension and arguments that eventually result in a divorce.

12. Better Health and Longer Life

One of the most common reasons that couples over the age of 40 choose to get divorced is because they feel like they have more life ahead of them and don’t want to spend it in an unhappy or unfulfilling marriage. They may feel like their health is good and they want to enjoy their retirement years without having to worry about a contentious relationship.

Additionally, some couples may be worried about their health and don’t want to spend the rest of their life dealing with a relationship that has become increasingly stressful. Some people choose divorce as a way to ease stress focus on their health or avoid the possibility of leaving behind an unhappy spouse if they were to pass away.

Adult children are concerned about your well-being and financial security after you split up with your husband or wife. They worry that one parent will have less access to grandchildren because of child custody arrangements following a gray divorce.

13. Feeling Neglected

What is the feeling of neglect? Feeling neglected can be a low-key, underlying cause of divorce. We may feel neglected in many different ways, including but not limited to:

  • Physical neglect – not getting enough sex, or having our needs met emotionally.
  • Emotional neglecting – having little emotional connection or conversations with our spouse and/or partner.
  • Financial neglecting -getting little help around the house or with childcare because one party works more than the other and brings home more money than their counterpart does.
  • Mental health concerns: One person might be depressed (although this should never excuse abuse). This will eventually affect both parties involved in any relationship if left untreated for long periods as it drains them mentally, physically, and spiritually from all aspects of their lives including their relationships.

Neglecting can be a very common form of abuse, but it doesn’t always look like it. The most common type of neglect occurs through emotional disconnection and indifference in our partner’s life which leads to feeling unimportant. It’s very easy for someone who is being mentally abused by another to have an emotional breakdown when they do not get enough physical affection from him/her regularly because these things feed off one another (stress/anxiety levels increase when there isn’t enough love coming into your body). In some cases, where people feel neglected at home due to a lack thereof attention from their spouse or loved one(s), this may lead them to cheat to get that feeling of being wanted and needed again (or even just for the sexual attention).

When we are neglected, it creates a feeling of not belonging which can be very damaging over time. We want to feel like our spouse or partner sees us as special and important, but if they are neglectful then it feels like we are nothing to them. This will eventually lead to resentment, bitterness, and anger because we put all of our efforts into the relationship only for it to fall short in the most basic ways possible. Feeling neglected is one of the top reasons why couples split after 40 years together. It’s a sign that things have gone wrong long before either person decided to file for divorce.

14. Getting Married Too Young

When people are in their early twenties, they may not have had enough life experience to make an informed decision about marriage. They may also be less financially stable and more likely to get divorced later on in life.

A study of over two million marriages found that people who marry before the age of 25 are more likely to get divorced than those who wait until they are older. They also tend to divorce sooner after getting married, with an average duration of just five years compared to eight years for those marrying at 30 or later. Couples in their 20s make up less than 15% but half (51%) of all divorces occurred between 2010 and 2012. Those couples had been together only six years on average when they split up.

15. Lack of Equality

One of the main reasons that lead to divorce later in life is when one person feels like they are doing more than their fair share. This can be due to several factors such as one person working while the other stays at home, or taking care of the children full-time. When this inequality becomes too much for one spouse to handle, it often leads to resentment and ultimately, a divorce.

Example: If a couple is married for 25 years and has children, one of the parents will often stay at home to take care of their kids. This means that they are not bringing in an income which can cause resentment from their partner who works full-time. The spouse staying at home may want more freedom or feel like an equal partnership would be better than having one parent doing everything while the other does nothing.


There could be any number of reasons why a couple over the age of 40 might choose to get divorced, but some of the most common ones are listed above. No matter what the reason may be, it’s important to remember that divorce is always a difficult process, both emotionally and financially. If you’re considering getting a divorce, it’s important to speak with an attorney who can help guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.