“It’s normal for love to go through phases and it’s also normal for love to leave a relationship”
While all eyes were on how the enormous wealth would be distributed or whether there is a scandal between the couple, a love affair, fights, etc., the Bill and Melinda divorce also shed the light on a phenomenon that has been present for a long time now but has always been under the covers. Yes, I am talking about the concept of grey divorce. India as a country has been seeing one of the lowest divorce rates as compared to other countries but countries like the USA which are far more progressed have been coining new terms for the divorce.
Grey divorce is not a technical term. It just refers to older couples splitting up after years of marriage and staying together. The term gray denotes gray hair which is common in middle-aged or old couples, so gray divorce indicates older couples getting a divorce. Divorce is not a taboo as it earlier used to be, even in countries like India divorce rates have gone significantly up as compared to a few years back. People consider that if a couple has been married for so long, are middle-aged, have children who are already themselves settled, what is the point of getting a divorce if all the moral and social implications of marriage have been fulfilled and also considering the age of the couple. What drives grey divorce is the fact that even though the couple is aged and has had children, not everything should revolve around the fact that what has to be done is laid down by society. It’s simply a fact that they cannot live together now, have grown apart and want different things from their lives. Bill and Melinda in a tweet announcing their divorce specifically said that they “cannot grow as a couple together”.
Psychologists opine that as times are changing, due to improved living standards, a large number of people above 50s remain healthy, financially strong, and can manage themselves independently now. The factor of codependency has decreased drastically. As a result, they do not want to compromise with their partners beyond a certain point. If a divorce is inevitable, they are open to the idea. Other theories insist that when the couples are younger they spend more and more time together in the upbringing of their children, a process which brings the couple together. However, as the children grow up and become independent, there is a greater level of emptiness created between the couple.
When you ask a couple why they have opted for divorce, you will usually hear answers such as “it was just not working out” or “we just grew apart.” Couples in grey divorce may have realized later in their lives that they lost the spark they had when they first married. Considering that the stigma around divorce is diminishing, they decide that divorce would be the best course of action. Divorce can be easier later in life rather than when you’re right in the ‘thick of it and you have young kids”. “Your parents might be more judgmental, your kids might be more judgmental, and in many ways, you’re just stuck when you’re in your 30s and 40s. But by the time you’re in your later 50s, 60s, and beyond, you don’t have to apologize to anyone for any of your decisions, and most people can accept that. But this thing needs to be brought down at any level of age, people should be made aware that if a marriage has failed no matter at what point of time it should be ended and not dragged.
Although the children are completely grown up during this time, still it does not mean that the whole process is easy for them. Children can face difficulties adjusting to the new family dynamics and the separation of their parents. What needs to be understood is the fact that society, as well as the children, have got to stop seeing married couples as a single entity only and have to start recognizing that are also different individuals who have interests outside of their marriage as well. They can be a completely different person altogether who can not find a way to cooperate anymore.
The stigma needs to end now and so does the thought that old age or that after so many years of marriage it is difficult or impossible to start a new life. What needs to be understood is the fact that once out of the marriage, individuals start to feel free and more independent. It is not necessary that a marriage has to be abusive in order to feel like trapped, individuals can grow apart, thoughts can change, motivations can differ, ideas do not match, life can be stuck in an endless cycle. All this can also lead to the feeling of being trapped. What’s important is the fact that if the couple feels happy splitting up than nothing else should matter. It’s completely the choice of the couple and the also the age and time they decide is at their discretion and nobody should be sitting judge on it. It’s high time that people stop holding these things as barriers and start recognizing people who are also individuals with their own aspirations and needs and they can follow them at any time.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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