After decades of marriage, you can’t blame some couples for settling into not-so-constructive patterns. According to recent University of Maryland divorce research, you’ve got about a 50/50 chance of growing old with your spouse. While that stat may not surprise you, the reasons many couples decide to separate may. The number of people divorcing after 50 has doubled since 1990, according to the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau.There’s even a term for it now: gray divorce.
Here are five common—yet totally overlooked marriage problems—that may be threatening your relationship.
Are you asking too much?
A person of 50 or 60 who is experiencing an unhappy marriage has no problem letting go of that turmoil in search of a happier more authentic life. Many of the biggest problems in a relationship stem from wanting your partner to be your be-all and end-all, to fill all the holes in you, and to keep you feeling loved and appreciated at all times. That’s often a lot to ask of one person. Instead of waiting for them to complete you, work on completing yourself. When you come into a marriage as a person who can stand on their own two feet and have a positive sense of self, you’ll realize you don’t need your partner to complete you. Then you will be able to feel truly loved and secure.
Are you drifting apart?
When some people retire, they want to do things and go places they’ve always dreamed of, while their spouse may prefer to maintain the status quo. The resulting disagreement of wills can lead to an unexpected divorce. Try to compromise. It’s normal for couples to have different ideas about retirement. If you’ve always dreamed of moving to Italy to retire and your husband would rather stay in Florida, see if he’d be willing to compromise and live abroad for a few months of the year. We’ve all heard the expression: “We have our problems, but we solve them.” Good. Problem-solving stems from good communication. And communication encompasses everything in a relationship: sex, money, family planning, et al. If you are comfortable talking to your partner, and if you have a history of moving past issues and hurdles and not getting bogged down in looking back – then there is a good chance you have a happy, stable relationship ahead of you.
Sex always matter
Sex can become predictable and boring after many years with the same person, and, for some couples, it is easy to move into a comfortable feeling of being best friends and lose their sexual passion for one another. The answer is to address it as fast as possible. Make a plan to initiate sex on a regular basis. When intimacy becomes stale or lacking in a marriage, one spouse may look outside the marriage for the opportunity to rediscover the pleasures of something that has been missing…their sexuality. Infidelity may be the cause of divorce for a long-term marriage, but, in reality, infidelity is only a symptom of a problem in the marriage.
Spending too much?
There is no way around it: money is a common reason for divorce. This is especially true in retirement when cash flow is limited. When money is a factor in divorce – and it often is – the reason is incompatibility.A spendthrift and a frugal penny-pincher are going to argue even if there is more than enough money coming into the household. Make sure you and your potential spouse have similar financial goals and are on the same page when it comes to spending.
On Facebook too much?
Social media can be a growing factor in divorce. In some cases, it’s the time-sucking element—constantly giving into notifications from friends eats into the time you could be doing something with your spouse. Social media also gives a distorted view of marriage. With so many posts showing “perfect” couples, people can set unrealistic expectations for their own relationships. And perhaps the most dangerous: Facebook makes it easier to connect with past flings. If you feel like Social Media is taking away from your time with your spouse, tell him how you feel and see if he’d agree to delete the apps from his phone if you do the same. This way, you can each still log on when the mood strikes, but you’ll be far less likely to mindlessly scroll the second there’s a lull in the conversation.