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Why do couples break up after decades together?

If you heard that someone had been married for 20 years, would you assume they were in that relationship for life? They made it through the infamous seven-year-itch, after all. Odds are, they won't get divorced. Right?

Not so fast. Studies have actually shown that gray divorce -- the informal term for these divorces happening later in life -- is becoming more and more common. Why is it that couples who lasted for decades decide to call things off?

One potential reason is that they grow apart. It takes time, but they just do not feel like the same people they were when they got married.

Another reason is that an imperfect marriage can sometimes wear on the couples over time. For instance, one person may feel unappreciated, like he or she has to do all of the giving in the marriage. That's not the type of monumental event that leads to an instant divorce, but it can make someone feel weary with the relationship. Eventually, things just end.

Experts also note that some people crave their younger years as they grow older. It's often called a mid-life crisis. Someone who got married at 20 may suddenly feel like he or she is missing out at 40. These people often want to "reboot" their lives, and some of them do it by ending their marriages and seeking out a new, younger partner.

No matter the reason for the divorce, stats do show that this is happening more. It is clear that people of any age need to know all about their legal rights.

Source: Huffington Post, "The 5 Big Reasons Why Couples Divorce After Decades Of Marriage," Linda Melone, accessed May 31, 2018

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