Bill and Melinda Gates Divorce Highlights Rise of Older-Age Splits

May 6, 2021

Before Covid, empty-nesters or new retirees had other activities to distract them from an unfulfilling relationship, says Susan Brown, a professor of sociology at Bowling Green State University who studies marriages and divorce. “The pandemic made them think differently about their own mortality and goals in life, what they are willing to accept and not accept,” says Dr. Brown. “People are less willing to stay in these empty-shell marriages that are not conflictual, but also not happy.”

Longer, healthier lifespans are also playing a role, says Jocelyn Elise Crowley, professor of public policy at Rutgers University and author of a book on gray divorce. “We have better access to medical care, the quality of lives in terms of overall health is improving,” she says. The sense of duty to marriage prevalent in previous generations is less pervasive now, she adds.

Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2021

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