Did you know that more than 50% of marriages fail when couples reach their 50s and 60s? That is a staggering number and is on the rise!

Why are we seeing more divorce now? First of all, we are living longer. Women are asking themselves if their marriage in its current state is worth spending their next 25–30 years with their spouse.

When a woman has just enough emotional space to do a life review, she begins to ask serious questions about what is important to her. Life events can trigger questions of staying or leaving. Perhaps the children have left home or there’s been an affair.

Lack of Emotional Connection

A critical reason for women wanting out of their marriage is they’re no longer feeling an emotional connection to their spouse. They may have developed routine patterns of relating and behaving. They get up to go to work, come home and do it all again.

On weekends, they have been active in their children’s lives or they have separate interests. Instead of spouses now turning toward each other, they turn away. This is a real crisis point for a marriage.

Poor Communication

Communication is the key to feeling connected. Through their years of extensive research, marriage experts John and Julie Gottman have discovered that success in a marriage is not found in what interests you share but in how you communicate with each other.

For example, if one of you plays golf and the other is new to the game, criticism always turns the newbie away. It creates a wedge between couples.

Feelings Expressed from a Distance

Over time, unhealthy patterns of relating close down people’s hearts. Most conversations are reports and little feeling is communicated. Couples go silent, fight fiercely or knit-pick each other. When you lock into patterns of automatic conversation, you are doing the “dance of distance.”

The important point is how feelings are expressed. Sometimes, you are too afraid to speak your true feelings for fear of rejection or judgment.

Do you ever really felt listened to? How well do you listen to your partner? Are you already thinking of what you will say in response before your spouse has finished? Do you just totally block him out?

It can be really frightening to be vulnerable, authentic and come from your heart. Relationships require you to take risks for closeness. To be successful in this regard, it requires that you go inward to reflect what you really feel.

The Relationship Not Meeting Your Needs

The bottom line in any relationship is that you must meet your needs. Only you are responsible for your happiness in life.

You have to be accountable to yourself. You must define who you are whether you decide to stay or leave. This is a life transition which involves risk, including how you are going to show up.

Here are some questions for your reflection regarding your space in the marriage:

  • Where do you hide in your relationship?
  • What are your fears?
  • What risks do you feel about speaking openly?
  • What does your inner knower tell you?
  • What would you like to see differently in your relationship?
  • What is your commitment to action?

The bottom line is, never compromise the spirit of who you are. Your life is your journey and one you must honor.

Have you experienced this divorce journey and what have you learned? If you could go back, what would you do differently? Please share your thoughts and observations below.

Ellen BachmeyerEllen Bachmeyer, LCSW, is the founder of Aging With Heart. A practicing psychotherapist and Life Coach, she has supported women in their 50’s, 60’s, and beyond through many life transitions from divorce to caretaking and grieving, to remarriage, grand parenting and encore careers. She is passionate about helping women face cultural barriers to finding and expressing their wisdom and voice on their way to thriving in every season of their lives. Ellen offers assistance in recapturing your life’s vitality, rebalancing, satisfying your needs and renewing your power to take meaningful action in your life. For more information you can visit her website Aging with Heart.

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