"Gray divorce" is a term often used for marriage separations among the 50-and-older age group. According to national statistics, more and more Minnesotans are going through gray divorces. It's important to note that many older ex-spouses face added challenges such as health issues, social isolation and financial problems.
Divorce can cause anxiety and depression even among the more harmonious exes. In bad situations, one may also suffer from insomnia, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and a weakened immune system. Many health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, can worsen under chronic stress. Depression and other psychological disorders may also lead to a more sedentary lifestyle and risky behaviors, including drinking too much and overeating.
Social isolation often plays a major part in poor health after divorce. Men are more likely to lose their social ties than women. On the other hand, ex-wives, who may earn less and might have stayed home to raise children, are more likely to face financial struggles after divorce.
There are also positive divorce outcomes, particularly for people who have been in a toxic or abusive relationship. To combat the negative effects, ex-spouses may want to consider reaching out to friends or joining clubs. If things get bad, people should see a doctor or counselor.
It's important to remember that not all divorces are acrimonious. In a collaborative divorce, spouses may work together to reach a solution that they are both happy with. Mediation may help with conflict resolution. This approach might also cost less than going through litigation.