Although the overall divorce rate in the United States is falling to almost record lows, one demographic is divorcing more than ever. Over the past two decades, more and more seniors are choosing divorce after many years of marriage and after their children are grown.
There is perhaps no better example of the new trend of “gray divorce” than the recent split of long-time Hollywood couple Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, who announced that they were separating after 30 years of marriage.
The couple, who has starred in dozens of movies and television shows, was married in 1982 and have three children who are in their 20s. Devito, 67, and Perlman, 64, own a production company together and have appeared together in movies like Matilda. They met on the set of Taxi. While the details of the divorce are not yet clear, some sources say that the split is perhaps do to infidelity.
Why are more and more couples choosing to separate later in life? Psychologists and relationship experts say that there are multiple factors in play. Women are now more financially independent and often have their own careers, making it more possible for unhappy wives to leave their husbands even as seniors. At the same time, humans are living longer, giving many couples a second chance at starting over with many healthy years remaining, even in their 50s and 60s. Others may simply be waiting for their children to be grown and out of the house – a step that is taking longer and longer these days.
Another factor? Technology and social media are helping old flames connect over the Internet or allowing those who might be dissatisfied with their marriage to meet someone new.