The divorce statistics for couples over 50 is steadily rising and it seems that it is often the woman that initiates the divorce in this age group. It has been speculated that the triggers for this are children leaving home or retirement and the sudden realisation that the couple have nothing in common any more. Perhaps it is also because women have realised that there are so many opportunities to learn new things, try new hobbies and meet new people that they no longer feel that they have to stay in a loveless marriage.
Retired women have steadily been gaining independence over the last few years. No longer do women stay at home cooking and knitting as my grandmother did but now they join clubs, meet new people and try new things. My mother, who is now 72, is always out – her social life is better than mine! She belongs to a gardening club, a reading club, a wine club, a sewing club, the WI and her local National Trust group. In addition to this she attends a weekly City & Guilds embroidery class and has, together with a group of friends, formed a ‘social’ club with who she regularly goes to the theatre, museums, historic houses and lunch. Their most recent escapade was a boat trip with lunch included.
So women are no longer stuck at home cooking and cleaning and men are having to learn to look after themselves more. Fortunately my father has always been happy to make himself some lunch and do a bit of housework, which is just as well with my mother being out so often. Unfortunately not all men are so capable and perhaps it is these men whose wives are walking out after 30+ years of marriage.
The message seems to be ‘sisters are doing it for themselves’ and I say that’s great.