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“The Grey Divorce” – Midlife breakups of long-term marriages are rapidly on the rise

Call it what you will -- the "mid-wife crisis," the "grey divorce," or the "menopause divorce," -- it's on the rise. More and more women in midlife are choosing to end their marriages -- even if they've been with their husbands for 15, 20, or even 30 years.

While divorce among older couples was once rare, those over 50 are shedding their spouses at double the rate of two decades ago. One in every four divorces is now a boomer couple untying the knot, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage, up from one in 10 in 1990. And a majority of those "gray divorces" - 66 percent - are instigated by women, according to the authors of a 2004 AARP survey.

The women of Vibrant Nation -- as usual -- are right on trend. Divorce after 50 is often discussed on the site, saying things like:

"After being married for over 16 years with my husband and having three children from him, I decided to leave him due to his abusive personality."

"I left my husband of 18 years because try as I might, I could not stay in the marriage and stay sober."

"I did not want to divorce, because it is truly one of the most painful processes there is, on so many levels, and it lasts so long."

Triggers for midlife divorce

Many things can trigger thoughts of divorce. Some cite the "empty nest" when the kids leave for college, the death of a parent, retirement, or many other life changes. Author Eric Klinenberg, who wrote Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, says 28 percent of Americans now live alone, in part because women can leave a bad marriage and support themselves for the first time in history.

That new life doesn't come without some planning, some heartache, and some hard work. Divorce at any age is devastating, and after 50 it may even be harder. Vibrant Nation members know that — because they’ve been there. But woman can emerge from a late-in-life divorce with a stronger, clearer sense of self and a fresh understanding of just how strong she really is.

Vibrant Nation offers a free report that gathers the best of the conversations and advice from the site together. The women who know from experience answer questions like:

  • How to avoid the “menopause divorce.”
  • How to deal with the financial effects of divorce at 50.
  • How to face a divorce after 25 years of marriage, 30 years of marriage, or even longer.
  • The 10 mistakes that guarantee you’ll get screwed in your divorce settlement.
  • How to get closure and move on with your life once you’ve divorced after a long-term marriage.

If you're going through a midlife divorce -- or even thinking about what life would be like if you divorced after 15, 20, or even 30 years -- download the free report today. You'll get free advice, and a little encouragement, from the women who've gone before you.

“Many of us have survived this, and you will too,” says VN member Paula Ellen. “Have faith. Little by little, you will pick up the pieces of your life, and even use some of them to build a new one. There truly is light at the end of the tunnel.”


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