Separation after 60 years of marriage is no longer taboo

a woman on a sailboat

May 17, 2021

Separation after 60 years of marriage is no longer taboo as the number of divorced couples over 60 has doubled in the last 20 years. Social attitudes have changed a lot in these 20 years, separation’s no longer frowned upon as it once was. We have to take into account that our lives change drastically after retirement. Suddenly we have a lot of free time and have to act accordingly, which can be tough after many years of habits we’ve built up. Studies have shown, however, that the majority of separated couples, regardless of age, find a new partner quickly.

If you want to learn more, keep reading the article!

“We have decided to separate.”

The sentence sounds almost banal… But it sounds less banal when the two halves of the couple are 60, 70, or in the case of Mark and Michaela, 80 years old. When they announced their separation to the family, everyone was in shock. Of course, everyone knew that the couple had been through difficult times and there had been tension for a number of years.

Actually, since retirement had forced them to spend 24 hours a day with each other. Mark was having trouble adjusting to his new status: the former director was turning into a house tyrant. Slowly, his wife’s space was reduced. There were daily arguments and bad moods, neither of them got anything out of their day. At the same time, Michaela had health problems, but they did not prevent her from going out and cultivating her interests. Her husband kept his good form through years of the sporting activity, but closed himself off, limited social intercourse to the strict minimum, and avoided leaving the house. And it was finally his birthplace that led to their separation. Many stairs and lack of comfort made it unsuitable for someone with Michaela’s health problems. She wanted to move – he refused. One day Michaela found a residence with services. Until the last minute, her husband and family believed she would change her mind. But she moved into her new flat two months later, while her husband stayed in the old house.

Another life is possible

For some years now, the number of senior divorces has increased dramatically, in Switzerland as in other countries. The number of over-60s getting divorced has doubled compared to divorces in this age group 20 years ago. Age is no longer an obstacle to separation, especially since social attitudes have changed fundamentally. The higher life expectancy shows new perspectives.

Today it is no longer rare to separate after 20, 30, 40, or more years of life together. Often it is retirement and the associated upheavals that lead to the final break-up of the already strained relationship. Suddenly finding oneself in togetherness creates problems especially when weariness and bitterness have crept in beforehand or when the spouses no longer share interests and feel no desire to do things together. Continuing on the same path and finding one’s way in a new life becomes a challenge. As is the case for younger couples, sometimes there is no other solution than separation, which is very upsetting for both the parties involved and the family.

Although this all sounds very hopeless, there are also positive aspects. Studies show that the majority of divorced seniors, both men, and women, find a new partner quite quickly!

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