Perhaps its years of putting up and shutting up ‘for the sake of the children,’ the realization that it might be quite nice to travel the world, have a relationship with another man (in Madonnas case, a man 20 years younger!) or simply a case of no longer having anything in common with a long time partner after the children have left home.
Whatever the reason, the UK has one of Europe’s highest divorce rates, and 50 something women are leading the way.
It seems there is a rising trend for break ups in marriages that have lasted 30 or 40 years and last year 54,148 people aged 50 or more got divorced – a 65 per cent increase from the 32,767 total of 1981.
The Female Brain written by American psychologist Louann Brizendine maps the key changes in women’s minds and emotions at different life stages. Apparently women undergo a seismic hormonal shift between the ages of 45 and 55. Lower levels of oestrogen mean they’re no longer so concerned about mothering issues, such as keeping the peace and looking after other people, while an increase in testosterone makes their anger and irritability responses more like a man’s. Brizendine points out that 65 per cent of divorces after 50 are now initiated by women.
Many women (and men) see divorce as a second chance, yet feel daunted by the prospect of whats ahead. Rescourcful divorced business women Suzy Miller spotted a business opportunity and created the Starting over show which debuted in Brighton last weekend. The show was designed to help people who have experienced a relationship break up, life crisis or significant change to their circumstances and want to turn their life around. It brought together a wide range of services, products and organisations designed to help visitors move forward in their lives. The website also offers SOS village, a rescource centre and has a facebook group and blog.
Relate psychotherapist Paula Hall, author of How to Have a Healthy Divorce, says events such as SOS may help to reduce isolation and hopelessness, and that divorce ” is a turning point and it can feel important to mark this as a significant milestone,”
The divorce industry seems to be growing, there are now Divorce Party Planners who offer ‘divorce showers, ‘Survivor’ themed BBQ’s ‘and ‘split up’ gifts such as a ‘Just divorced’ sash and a ‘Wedding ring coffin!’
While we are sure a positive approach to divorce is vital to move on from what is surely a traumatic and emotional experience, we cant help feeling a little uneasy about it being seen as a business opportunity!