By: M. Katherine Lickteig, MA, LPC Associate
Supervised by Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S
What is a “Gray Divorce?”
While the term is not widely known, a “gray divorce” is far more common than people realize. In 2012, researchers at Bowling Green State University coined the phrase after the phenomenon of people that were married for a long time that divorced. The researchers found that the divorce rate in the United States had doubled in the past two decades and has more than doubled for couples over 65. They dubbed this phenomenon the “gray divorce revolution”. The phenomenon of gray divorce is not isolated to the United States. That is to say, it is affecting all nationalities and cultures.
Factors That Attribute to the Phenomenon:
There are many factors that contribute to the rise of late-life divorce. Women are considered to be better suited to live independently because of increased job opportunities. Secondly, due to the increasing availability of the internet, there is ample opportunity to explore other options. Whatever the reasons for the increase among boomers, there is an unintentional consequence in how it affects adult children.
Emotional Issues of Adult Children of Gray Divorce
The primary question is do these divorces cause emotional issues for their children? The parents of gray divorces have done their job, so what is the big deal when a divorce happens? Many couples feel they have earned the right to live life on their terms, and they are correct to a certain degree. However, as is familiar with any action, there are unintentional consequences.
Grief is a common emotion, and some (adult) children will suffer psychological issues. As a result, they develop trust and relational issues with others. It skews personal identity and changes the parent-child relationship dynamic. When adult children learn of their parent’s divorce, they may go through the same stages of grief as if they’d lost a loved one.
Divorce Makes Them Question the Reality of Their Lives
Adult children of divorce tend to question everything in their lives. Therefore, they often doubt themselves and their relationships. Additionally, they may suffer from trust issues within their relationships. If an affair has happened, they often ask themselves “will happen to me?”, or “is it possible that I can treat another individual in this manner?”. If they have had a happy childhood they may question whether or not they can trust the reality of their upbringing, especially if one spouse has rewritten the history of the marriage.
Change in the Dynamics of Family Relationships After Divorce
Ultimately, we have to deal with the change of dynamics in the family relationships. No longer is the choice of Thanksgiving as easy as it had been in the past. Now, there may be other people to consider. Relationships may become strained to the point of disrepair. Oftentimes, men of “Gray Divorce” choose not to be involved with their children after the divorce.
Divorce is sometimes an inevitable part of life. However, it can be made more bearable with a trusted therapist by your side.
Begin Personal Healing from Divorce with Help from the Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch in Katy, TX.
If you would like to talk more about personal therapy and divorce, one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide counseling and mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to learn more about divorce therapy.
- Meet with one of our divorce-focused therapists.
- Find ways to overcome your struggles today.
Other Therapy Services We Offer:
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!