Monday, April 1, 2013


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Yesterday's Sunday Star carried this article "Going separate ways...after 50". Divorces among baby boomers are the fastest growing of all divorces recorded in the US, according to a Wall Street Journal report. While we do not have statistics available for gray divorces in Malaysia, it is evident from the high profile cases reported in the local papers, and also from within our circle of friends that older women here no longer fear the 'D' word.

It's happening in Korea too. Click here to read.
Unlike their mothers many of whom went through arranged marriages and doggedly clung to the social norms of their time, the older women of today have no qualms about filing for divorce if they want to get out of their marriage, if they feel it beyond saving.

But why now at this late stage in life, and not earlier? Here are some reasons often cited to explain why some women see no hope in saving a marriage that may have started off in heaven with the exchange of vows to love each other through thick and thin, but that has since quickly descended into marital hell.

  • Children always come first. When the children are young, most women would patiently put up with any spousal incompatibility or infidelity, bidding their time till all the children have grown up and are independent.
  • With education and professional qualifications, women are no longer solely dependent on their husband for financial support. They have their own source of income. Many have enough savings put aside for the future while others may enjoy a regular allowance from their adult children.
  • Asian societies have generally become more open to divorces. Divorcees and single mothers are no longer stigmatized by family and friends. Children have become more accepting of their parents' divorce.
  • Older women now see divorce as a release from years of long-suffering in an unhappy marriage. Some are prepared to walk away from a divorce empty-handed rather than enter their golden years battling marital woes, or worse, domestic violence.
  • If it's the man who initiates the divorce, it's usually because of another woman who has re-kindled the spark of passion in him. Few men would want to divorce their wives who have brought up the children and provided them with all the comforts of home. Even if these men have lost physical and emotional interest in their wives over the years, they would still want to remain married. 

Suzanne, 88, and Tony, 90 - an inspiration
to married couples everywhere. Click here
to visit their very interesting blog.
However, having said that, I also know of couples who have enjoyed marital bliss from their wedding day till the present day. These are truly marriages made in heaven, that no one and nothing can break asunder. These are rock solid marriages, not marriages on the rocks. These happily married couples would be the first to tell you that it takes a lot of 'give-and-take' to make a marriage work. 

It is a milestone, an enviable achievement for couples to be able to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary together. 

One word of caution though, while many may see divorce as breaking free from an unhappy marriage, they must guard against potential loneliness. It can be equally depressing having to face the sunset years all alone without a partner. It can also be scary to face old age alone with all its accompanying aches and pains. Unless you are still in good health, no one relishes the thought of growing old alone and lonely. Don't count on your adult children to look after you or share their home with you. Filial piety cannot be taken for granted these days.

So, divorcees, maintain your social connections and widen your circle of friends. And be open to the possibility of a new person in your life. You never know!

Blessed are couples who have each other "to have and to hold till death do us part".

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