Even though national divorce rates have declined since peaking in the 1980s, divorce rates for those ages 40-69 have dramatically increased. In 1990, only 1-in-10 of those who went through divorce was age 50 or older; by 2009, the number was 1-in-4. More than 600,000 age 50+ got divorced in 2009.
For those ages 40-69, it was the woman who initiated the divorce 66% of the time. The same AARP shows that 27% of the time, the reason for the divorce was infidelity.
For baby boomers, 53% of those 50+ seeking a divorce were married once before. Having been previously married doubles the risk of divorce for those ages 50-64; for those ages 65+, the risk factor quadruples.
Another AARP study shows that 80% of those ages 40-79 who are divorced, rate themselves in the top half of the country when it comes to happiness; over half see themselves in the top 20%. According to divorce author John Gottman, the behavioral precursors to late-life or empty nest divorce are no different from those for younger couples: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. The top fear among older men and women who got divorced was “being alone.”