Divorce and separation in later years.
Recently there have been articles and discussions highlighting a new issue arising in families which happens more frequently than in previous generations. This could be due to increased levels of energy in later years gained from better diets and attention to health and well being. It could also be due to wider discussion bringing issues into the open, which were hitherto either taboo or only mentioned behind closed doors.

It will take years of research, discussion and theory to know why this is but we are beginning to see older couples separating and divorcing. In previous years they might have battled on and stuck together for fear of social disapproval and exclusion if they took a different route.

Psychologically, the families of the older generation making this choice also bear the brunt of the split. Middle generation couples today take on stresses and lives, which fill their existence to the brim and the added responsibility of visiting and caring for parents who now live apart becomes yet another strain and anxiety.

The decision to part and go their separate ways often only suits one member of the couple. This leaves the other one with loss, failure and abandonment issues, sometimes with a sense of ‘what is the point’? This in turn causes worry and concern for the adult children and when older, the grandchildren.

There are so many difficult issues, which will arise from this new pattern, and it would be helpful to have more input from people with experience of this family dynamic.

Clare Ireland