Gray divorce: More boomers are choosing to go it alone, study says

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    April 30, 2012 10:52 a.m.


    Your assessment doesn't reflect the reality of the majority of "babyboomers". You are falling for the media portrayal of the Boomers. I see the younger generations as self-centered and selfish since they certainly seem to have much more than us boomers had (such as a nice new house and car) at a much earlier age as well as disposable income for many more luxuries that they seem to consider to be needs rather than wants. Those generations seem to be the "I want, I want, I want it now" generation, but with that being said...generalizations about generations are often foolish. The indictment against Boomers is way oversimplified and only partly fair. Americans born in the '80s and '90s are more selfish and greedy than the baby boomers and Generation Xers who came before them, new research suggests. So....perhaps you should present some evidence for your statement rather than assuming all Boomers fall under your description. There are many in your generation who could be described the same as you describe the Boomers. People need to quit playing the blame game!

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    April 29, 2012 5:56 p.m.

    The Boomer Generation is the most self centered selfish generation this planet has ever had.It has always been me me me! Want want want! their parents who survived WWII and the depression spoiled the boomer generation with everything never saying no. So it is no wonder why they have the highest divorce rate.

  • baddog Cedar Rapids, IA
    April 28, 2012 2:56 p.m.

    After 42 years married to the same woman, I'm in no position to make any judgements on divorce.

    But, I do know as an observer of society for those 42 years, none of us is in a position to judge another's situation, intent of the heart and all those thoughts and actions that go into decisions about marital status including divorce and remarriage.

    I only hope my dear wife puts up with me another 20 years. And I hope everyone in his or her situation finds happiness.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    April 27, 2012 1:45 p.m.

    Divorce can leave a bitter taste in your mouth that many prefer to not repeat. Remaining single doesn't mean you are selfish; it means you are cautious about repeating history. Surely, there are many baby-boomers who are unmarried who might consider marriage if they met the right person, but for whatever reason, don't seem to be finding him or her. Why would anybody simply settle for just anybody? We must also accept that in our world, increasing prosperity has made lifelong or longtime singleness more feasible than ever. That makes the case for marriage less and less compelling or appealing especially for women who are often not treated as an equal partner in marriage. I suspect that men are more likely to remarry because the distribution of household labor tends to often favor them. In a world where women are still doing the second shift of housework on top of their jobs, it would make sense that a newly divorced woman would be extremely reluctant to walk right back into the same sort of situation from which she just extricated herself.

  • Stephen Kent Ehat Lindon, UT
    April 26, 2012 3:09 p.m.

    Just a friendly note to eddiethekid of Chicago, Illinois. Your post brought a smile. You may be right about how men are treated in divorce court; you may be wrong. I have nothing to say about that part of your post. Obviously you do not speak on that topic from personal experience (having never married).

    But I do have a happy thought to share with you about the other part of your post (the part that makes me happy). You state "if I do get married." That allows for the possibility.

    I can tell you after 37 years of happiness in one marriage, I have a sneaky suspicion that, if you do marry, and if you enter into that marriage out of unmitigated, selfless love for the woman you choose, you just might have completely different thoughts about how she would be cared for in a divorce. You'd possibly want her to get everything she could get to make sure she's cared for.

    I love her so much that I'd want her to have everything. I'd gladly try to start over with nothing. That's what love is. Get your prenup. But keep a match nearby.

  • eddiethekid Chicago, IL
    April 26, 2012 1:08 a.m.

    As a single, 66 year old guy who's never been married, I can tell you the first thing I would do if I ever got married. I would have a lawyer draw up the best pre-nuptial agreement in world history to make sure that the little woman I married would never get a dime from me if I ever divorced her, and then I would still put my money in some type of irrevocable trust so that some divorce court judge couldn't give her anything if he decided that my fool proof pre-nuptial agreement was unacceptable to him. A man has no friends in divorce court.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    April 25, 2012 5:50 p.m.

    I don't think that one template fits all and all of us have limited experiences.

    For general trends I seem to see that:

    Each generation has a higher divorce rate than the one before, looking at the last three of four generations.

    Selfishness and rapidly changing societal expectations about marriage and gender roles cause a lot of problems. Previous marriages, especially where children are concerned, put further stresses on second marriages and reconstituted families etc.

    I would like to point out that not everyone was a "hippy" in the late Sixties; I think most weren't and that selfishness has been continuously growing, but again not for everyone by any means.

    I would like to commend everyone who is making a success of their marriage, to emulate those who manage to be happy and put their mate first, whether husband or wife, and express my best wishes for those still romantic and moral enough to marry despite all the real or potential stress factors.

    "Their husbands love their wives, their wives love their husbands, and their husbands and wives love their children". May this be our pattern.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    April 25, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    My advice to women out there is be careful who you marry. I can understand why so many women are deciding to remain single after divorce. Too many men have been caught up in the cycle of divorce, marry a much younger woman, have more children, get divorced yet again, marry another younger woman, start a new family, get divorced again. After 2-3 divorces these men are now looking for a woman as a financial partner because the men are so far in debt due to the multiple families they have due to their poor choices that they can't afford to live any more. Women .. you are better off staying single than marrying into a mess like that.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    April 25, 2012 8:28 a.m.

    To understand the effect of divorce on children, read Judith Wallerstein's work: "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce." It is the conclusion of a 25-year study of the effect of divorce on the lives of the children involved. The author reports that some of the divorces were angry and bitter, others were almost friendly; some of the children were young, some had already grown and left the nest. Some kids were abused, others were cherished and loved long after the divorce. But no matter the situation, common feelings and thoughts rose to the surface time after time after time.

    It is especially useful to read it if you were a child of divorce. Those to whom I have recommended the book reported that it was eerily accurate when it described the effects of divorce on the life of children.

    Get it. Read it. You can easily find it on eBay for just a few bucks. It contains truth and if you embrace it, the truth will set you free.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    April 24, 2012 10:33 p.m.

    @Barbara ... Seems like the relative you mentioned needs to learn the 3 most important words a man can say to his wife ... "I was wrong." :-) Good luck to him!

  • material_awake Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2012 1:03 p.m.

    JWB this is probably TMI but from time to time my wife of 7 years and I simultaneously enjoy all of your top 3 no-nos. I wonder if the problem is simply personal selfishness? Perhaps we are just still young and there are problems ahead, but finding someone I feel one with allows us to be "selfish" sometimes but as a couple, not on our own. Please don't try to make more laws about your perceived social problems, there is a great diversity of social situations in Utah!

  • Just an Observer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2012 10:13 a.m.

    I agree that, in general, Baby Boomers are more selfish, et cetera than previous generations. However, I think it really needs to be pointed out that good children usually come from good parents. In other words, where does much of the blame lie? In the previous generation that was supposed to be so great. Even as difficult as the world is now, parents who are determined to help their kids be the best they can be will likely see positive results. That says to me that the efforts of the parents of the Baby Boomers were insufficient to deal with changing societal attitudes.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    April 24, 2012 8:34 a.m.

    what is sad is my parents would tell you the have to talk or deal with each other more now than when they were married because of having children together. It doesn't end when the children turn 18 there will always be family events that bring you together. At least they have learned to be civil and not to bad mouth each other for us kids sake.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    April 23, 2012 9:09 p.m.

    There seems to be a lot of judgment from a lot of posters, on this subject. I would never be so "all knowing" to automatically assume that much of the subtext behind these "selfish" accusations might be---"I'm miserable. Why shouldn't you be too?" But some of them sure seem quick to protest and protest too much, methinks.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2012 3:21 p.m.

    Snide comments without sound data are nothing more than buffoonery. Even then they are not insightful.

  • akaddh Snowville, UT
    April 16, 2012 3:46 p.m.

    My name is Dee Dee and I was profiled in this article. It was with a little trepidation that I agreed to be interviewed for this article. What has been suprising is the comments about divorce, not about remaining single after the divorce. My divorce occured prior to moving to Utah and had nothing to do with a career. I was the step-mother to three wonderful children who I remain in close contact with still after 15 years. So Tiger5 and Old Jake my selfish life style has allowed me to put my niece through law school with out any debt, send my stepkids money so they can afford a few luxuries that they otherwise couldn't afford. Placing stereotypes on anyone is an ill-conceived idea. Aggielove, if you would like to send money for a face lift, tummy tuck and personal trainer all the things I could afford if did live the "selfish lifestyle" I would take you up on the offer.

  • Jeanie b. Orem, UT
    April 16, 2012 3:09 p.m.

    LDS Liberal - what are they symptoms of?

    ....whilst typing on the internet, sipping my kefir yogurt fruit smoothie, and crunching on my homemade, hand ground- fresh from my food storage - whole wheat toast.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 16, 2012 2:14 p.m.

    Kaysville, UT
    He/She says,
    Whilst typing on the internet, popping a “Word of Wisdom” approved anti-depressant, and washing it all down with a diet Coke….

    FYI – Divorce is not caused by any of those things. Those things are a symptom of something else.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    April 16, 2012 12:25 p.m.

    I believe that illegal and legal drugs and pornography has helped bring down more of the family integrity. Both of those items may not have started with selfishness but with addiction caused by those influences selfishness does become an issue that the individual may not have thought about when first tempted to partake of those marriage breakers. The press and media along with internet availability accelerated the access to both pornography and drugs that can be in everyone's home through a click of the button. That wasn't that way as it is today very many years ago. The Internet can be a blessing for families for their individual family history and it can also tear down the family history through divorce. Drugs and violence and pornography and violence can and will tear down the family. Divorce comes when the conflict of money issues surface from those addictions, which will cause a financial and morality crisis in the family. No person can serve two masters, a wife or husband and their relationship with their family. Utah is not immune to that problem, not matter what family and religious background an individual has. It crosses all familial lines, everyone impacted

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    April 16, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    This generation is likely to be the highest in terms of divorce perhaps because they are the first that could actually divorce without societal ostracism. Many probably grew up in unhappy or abusive households, and so swore it off or began following in their parents' footsteps before realizing there was a way out.

    A married household is not the same as a stable household. I believe in marriage as a life-long commitment. Many of the unmarried baby boomers probably do too, so they haven't settled down with someone they couldn't make that commitment to. You also have to realize, that many who are the product of divorce are not to blame...just because you make the commitment, doesn't mean your spouse will.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    April 16, 2012 10:10 a.m.

    People should not categorize people from a certain generation as all bad. There have been plenty of people irresponsible over generations. Many have caused wars that killed plenty of people during the Civil War, World War I and World War II, Korean War and other happenings, not just war. Some of these things, such as slavery, last for centuries and still happens in other countries. There are plenty of good people in the Baby Boomer group that have done great things in public and private service. We are a country of volunteers in so many areas of life, from birth to death providing comfort and guidance to those in need. The Baby Boomers have some issues in some of their people but you have to look beyond what the media and press would like you to think about a generation of people. We give to charity more than any nation and that won't decrease even through troubled times, people give. People have to look beyond what the publicity is with movie actors and sports personnel getting all the attention. Thousands are behind the scenes doing more in their spare time to help others. It is not about media attention

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2012 9:58 a.m.

    Baby boomers are among the most irresponsible generation in our nation's history. They gave us the insanity of the hippie era and now the divorce boom. They can't handle life for whatever reason. I see it over and over and over.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    April 16, 2012 9:48 a.m.

    I would like to see Linda and Richard Eyre's take on this. There are a lot of good Boomers out there and we have done a lot of good things for society. There were a lot of challenges also, in that mix of good and we have agency to choose. Unfortunately, some choose for the wrong reason and end up with results they hadn't desired or even thought of. We have rules and commandments that offer freedom whether religiously or politically. We may not have the ability to know of ourself, but there are good books and obeying the rules that can help us. The inner self or conscience knows and sometimes we push that out of our way and that brings in selfishness. Then service to others is stopped and we think of ourselves and not others. It is hard for me to be outside of my own realm and we have to sometimes fight that desire from within to serve others. There are many ways to do that as we can do family history and indexing without people knowing we are serving as that is a blessing to know I am helping others.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    April 16, 2012 9:16 a.m.

    I look at my siblings and their families and see a strong trend: The children of divorce are way more messed up than those that came from stable homes. Even if a divorce happens after the kids have left the nest, the effects on the children can be devastating. Almost all divorce happens because one or both of the partners is selfish. The short and long term economic effects of divorce will be a heavy social cost to our society. Message is: When you get married, it’s time to grow up and stay grown up.

  • barbara Carlsbad, CA
    April 16, 2012 8:12 a.m.

    We learned a response that works well. "Maybe you are right." when having a disagreement. Of course, then we both think silently, "And maybe you are not." Staying in any relationship requires balance and there are many ways to be out of balance. I have a relative who is always praising my abilities, even to total strangers and it makes me uncomfortable. Our relationship is out of balance because she is entering territory without permission. I wish she would just lay off. It doesn't get any easier when you are older; you just have to overlook a lot of stuff. Another relative is on a fifth marriage and can't figure out why four women left and the fifth one wants to. Something has definitely been out of balance there. Give and take, folks, is the answer. None of us is God.

  • cval Hyde Park, UT
    April 16, 2012 7:59 a.m.

    While we can find anecdotal stories of people who are happier divorced, the statistics show that for the vast majority divorce leads to less happiness, more poverty, and is not a long term solution for either couples or their children.

    Using the individual stories to make a different point is misleading, and damages those who use stories like this to justify their selfishness.

    We have people who research this stuff. We should pay attention to what they learn.

  • sixpacktr Lancaster, NY
    April 16, 2012 7:55 a.m.

    The boomers (of which,sadly, I am one) continue to be the most destructive, selfish generation to have ever been born...

  • Stephen Kent Ehat Lindon, UT
    April 16, 2012 7:00 a.m.

    Quoting from the article, "'maybe the person who was a good spouse 20 years ago doesn't fit' the individual's current needs or wants."

    That is a polite way of saying, "Oops; selfishness alert."

    We all are selfish. And we all have the capacity to forgive a selfish act committed or lifestyle lived by another. But there are limits.

    It is sad in all cases when divorce occurs. The institution itself is what always suffers.

    While individuals may benefit from the divorce and in some rare instances few or no others are affected, that by no means is the rule; it is the rare exception. Adult children are greatly affected by parents' divorces. An article about that would be a good follow-up; it is mentioned here but no elaboration is given.

    "I'd be honored" is a wonderful response by one spouse to the other who asked, "Would you take out the trash."

    Think of it: "I'd be honored!"

    Soft invitation: "Honey, let's go on a date and talk." Response: "I'd be honored."

    Soft invitation: "Can you turn off the TV and help?" "I'd be honored."

  • jenkers Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    Interesting story. Like others, I wonder if the first few commenters would be so mean if they had to use their names. anonymous sniping doesn't add much to the world.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2012 10:13 p.m.

    Just a question

    What resources for supporting marriage does the LDS Church offer in comparison to other religions locally?

  • tigger AMERICAN FORK, UT
    April 15, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    Wow, I am also very surprised by the comments. And I am about as "traditional" as one can be. Tiger and Aggie sound (they may not be, but they sure sound) horribly oppressive and Jake sounds judgmental. Perhaps your comments are directed toward generalizations of society and not individuals. Still...

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    April 15, 2012 9:18 p.m.

    You people are sure judgemental. Maybe you should go look in the mirror before telling others how to live.

  • Old Jake Salt Lake City, UT
    April 15, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    Career over family and I bet most of their kids are having issues as well. All so they can have a few extra bucks. I don't think it was worth it.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    April 15, 2012 4:39 p.m.

    Or no looks

  • Tiger5 Cache county, USA
    April 15, 2012 4:39 p.m.

    It's called selfish lifestyle.