Preventing Gray Divorce: Enlighten Your Relationship With The 5 Stages Of Love
Recent research shows that unless you’re over fifty, the divorce rate is at a 40-year low. “Younger couples are less likely to break up, but ‘gray’ divorces among older couples are on the rise,” said Jo Craven McGinty, columnist for the Wall Street Journal. According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for American adults aged 50 and over has roughly doubled since the 1990s. But the big question is Why? And the more important question is What can we do to prevent good marriages from ending?
I have been a marriage and family therapist for over 40 years. I also know the pain of divorce, which I went through twice myself. The reality of divorce is painful enough, but even more so when you’re a therapist who gets paid to help couples find real, lasting love. Before trying again, I decided to take a deep dive to find out what was stopping me from getting the love I so badly longed for. I found a good therapist, read everything I could find, and discovered what I was missing.
With the wisdom I found, the “third time” was definitely the attraction and Carlin and I have been married for 41 years. I wrote of what we learned in an article, “5 Secrets to Salvaging Your Midlife Marriage, Even If One of You Is Trying to Keep It Alive,” and then in a book, The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 transformative stages of relationships and why the best is yet to come, and finally in an online program, The 5 Stages of Love, for women and men who still believe in love but don’t have much time to lose.
Based on the results of the Pew Research Center, Stacey Francis, who writes in Kiplinger, names six possible reasons for a midlife divorce. In an article “Gray divorce rates” explode due to this perfect storm It describes these possible causes:
1) Change in divorce stigma
With a more general outlook on divorce, it becomes easier to break away from an unhappy marriage. This is especially true for women. “In today’s world, women are stronger and more educated,” says Francis, “and the reduced divorce stigma gives women more freedom to get out of less ideal or emotionally stressful situations.”
2) Longer life expectancy
With a longer life expectancy, more people are unwilling to stay in an unhappy marriage. They want more out of life. “For a 55-year-old woman, their marriage could last an additional 30 years or even longer,” says Francis. “This increases the commitment to people in unhappy marriages and can make them wonder if they can put up with their spouse for much longer.”
3) Repeat divorces
I’m not the only one who got divorced, remarried, and divorced again. Once we accept divorce as an option, it is easier to go in and out multiple times. “Some baby boomers are in their second, third, or even fourth marriage,” says Francis. “The divorce rate for people over 50 who have been married more than once is 2.5 times higher than for those who have been linked to the same person their entire lives.”
4) Financial headwinds for women
Women are often the hardest hit financially in divorce. They often earn less and many have taken time off from their careers to raise children. You often feel trapped in a bind. They may wish to remain in a marriage for financial reasons, but must leave the marriage so that in the event the marriage fails, they can focus their full attention on financial security for their later years.
5) Dissatisfactions That Occur During Covid
The global Covid pandemic is a unique trauma that will permeate culture for decades. Millions of families have lost loved ones infected with the virus and died. Millions more will lose their loved ones to “deaths of desperation,” which translates into increased alcohol and drug use, domestic violence, murders and suicides.
But the hidden losses will show up in families that fall apart years later, and children will grow up to have trauma-related problems in their adult relationships.
6) Deferred Divorce
Many of the people I counsel, especially women, admit that they stay in the marriage only for the sake of the children. When the children leave the nest, so do many women. Men often feel blind and confused. In the past, most of my clients who got divorced were women. Increasingly, it is the man who wants help to save the marriage.
Whatever the causes, there are a number of things that I know apply to men and women around the world:
- Love is the glue that holds our lives together. Loving relationships are more important than ever today.
- If you are in a relationship now you want it to be a good one, full of love, life and passion.
- The pain and suffering of Covid did not affect everyone equally. For some, the losses were greater and the effects will cause harm for many years to come.
- Those who were wounded in previous relationships and are now single are naturally gun-shy. You are starving for a good relationship but are afraid of getting hurt again.
- Many people need support to improve their relationship life and regain confidence that they can live fully and love deeply.
Here is a summary of my program based on what I have learned over the past fifty years. I call it “The 5 Levels of Love and Why Too Many Relationships Are Lost in Level 3.” There is one big problem that undermines most relationships. We grow up believing that a successful relationship is easy. We just have to find the right partner, build a life together and live happily ever after.
I’ve learned that things are much more complex in real life. In fact, a good marriage is the graduate school of life. But most of us are still in elementary school. Here is a quick recap of the program I am offering that thousands have found that has helped them find and keep the love of their lives.
As mentioned earlier, there are five phases:
Stage 1: Fall in love
Level 2: To become a couple
Level 3: disillusionment
Level 4: Create real, lasting, love
Level 5: Using the power of two to change the world
Here’s what I learned about the five phases.
- Falling in love has little to do with building a great life. It’s nature’s way of getting you to mate and have babies.
- When we choose a partner, we project our hopes and dreams onto them. We never see the real person, but rather the projection of our unmet needs.
- After being together for some time, we see the real person under the projections and become disillusioned. We think we picked the wrong partner instead of realizing the purpose of level 3 is disillusionment to become real and heal the inevitable wounds we got from the family we grew up in.
- Working in Level 3 enables us, for the first time, to find real, lasting love with someone we can truly spend a lifetime learning and loving to be who we really are.
- When we learn to be a real couple, who have healed our wounds and learned the true meaning of love, we can accept the call to bring greater love to humanity.
If you would like to join our community, I invite you to purchase my book that will guide you through the 5 stages of love. Having a good relationship is a gift at any age, whether you are middle of life, younger or older.
Another way to learn more about the transformative work we do in healing relationships is by participating in my upcoming podcasts with some of the world’s foremost experts who have come together to pool our expertise to bring you the To give information that you need for yourself. Your family and your community. It’s called the Costa Report and I’m one of the knowledgeable co-hosts. We have just started and you can learn more and subscribe here.
For more information on how to help with your relationship, send me a message at [email protected] and include “Relationship Help” in the subject line.
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