Monday, July 28, 2014

Baby Boomer Blues

     Nearly 30% of the U.S. population is from the Baby Boom era. There are many of us between the ages of 55 – 65, so what do we baby boomers want? According to a variety of articles, this group of older Americans does not feel their age and continue to work, travel, spend, and thrive. They are trying new things and calling it their “bucket list” of things to do. They jump out of planes, go bungee jumping, experience zip lining, white water rafting, scuba diving, and much much more.

     The one unsettling bit of news that I learned about Baby Boomers is that more and more of them are getting divorces! I was both surprised and saddened. But, here’s what I learned. An article in the New York Times declares that in 1990 only 10% of divorces were from those over 60. By 2009, the percentage tripled. Women across the globe, in Europe as well as in the good old U.S.A., are initiating divorce proceedings. Why? Most women claim they are not ready to hang up their dancing shoes to sit home and watch TV.  AARP states that the majority of reasons behind this escalating divorce rate are: lack of communication, lack of interest, lack of passion, and lack of love. I believe there is also the factor that many of those old habits that one put up with when the children were growing up are now no longer tolerable. It's the old adage, enough is enough.Women over 60 are beginning to realize they not only don’t want to put up with a bad marriage but also realize they don’t have to. Most women over 60 are financially able to take care of themselves, so they are not held back for financial reasons; whereas, the majority were dependant on their spouse when in their 30's.

     I think what happens in a long lived marriage say from 25 – 45+ years is that the couple falls into a rut of predictable and mundane routine. This is so very easy to do. Sometimes, the rut happens without even knowing it is happening. At a certain time in the marriage, the husband knows his role just as the wife knows her's. They chit chat about little things, nothing life shattering, and when they do go out, there is no longer the interest to make the evening a memorable one. Little by little love fizzles and before one knows it, they have separate bedrooms and meet each other in passing and talk only about what’s for dinner. This may seem drastic, yet this is actually quite common. In some baby boomer marriages there is more yelling going on than talking, and each person suffers with high blood pressure from stress and unhappiness.

     The good news is that one can save a drowning marriage, but it takes work, and both have to be willing to put forth some effort. Of course as with any post, I did a little bit of introspection and came up with a few of my own ideas on how to improve my marriage. More to follow.

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