More Baby Boomers are living alone. One reason why: ‘gray divorce’

The number of older Americans living alone is on the rise. Nearly 16 million people aged 65 and older in the US lived solo in 2022, three times as many who lived alone in that age group in the 1960s. And as Baby Boomers age, that number is expected to grow even more, raising big questions about the country’s future.

MicroWave,
@MicroWave@lemmy.world avatar

Some older people initiating divorces feel they’ve simply drifted too far apart from their spouses, while some have suffered abuse or discovered shocking transgressions, Myres says. All of them – including some clients in their 80s – feel like any years of life they have left are too precious to spend with the wrong person.

krische,

My completely baseless take: they were fine making the “I hate by husband/wife” jokes while working full time; but once retired and spending time together, they realize they actually really do not like each other.

deweydecibel, (edited )

No, it’s that in the 2020s divorce is far more acceptable and because women are more capable of supporting themselves now, so they’re not trapped in their marriages.

What you’re describing has always been happening. For every generation. It’s just that nowadays retired boomer women aren’t shackled to their husband for the rest of their life.

Yet another case of the old and conservative reaping the benefits of the progress others have been making.

captainlezbian,

Yeah but also they did that one. They legalized no fault divorce and normalized it. We were just the ones to whom it was normal

CobblerScholar,

This is the another consequence of the 1950’s version of the American dream. Single income family brought home by the husband where the wife stayed home to raise children. Husband needed someone to tend to the house and the wife needed someone to support her. Marriage was imperative for both sexes to participate within society even if you hated your spouse. Kids grow up and move out and then BOOM(er) divorce.

Now that a single income household for a family is almost unheard of people don’t get married just for the money so later divorce is much less likely

TheWoozy,

Oooooo, here comes the boomer hate!

o_oli,
@o_oli@lemmy.world avatar

Interesting that boomers are living alone and younger generations are being forced to stay together or at least cohabitate because they can’t afford not to. The financial situation is effecting the social one.

Turkey_Titty_city,

Your financial situation drives your social situation. Socializing costs money.

RichardBonham,
RichardBonham avatar

Interesting that there was a significant increase during and following the pandemic due to irreconcilable differences over masking and vaccines. Probably wasn't helped to be locked down together at that point, either.

monkeytennis,
@monkeytennis@lemmy.world avatar

Isn’t it amazing, how from a single photo you can deduce that her stand-up is pure dogshit

Potatos_are_not_friends,

Boomers sure love their “I hate my wife” jokes but now that they finding out that treating people like shit is biting them in the ass.

2ez,

“My kids don’t talk to me”

TheWoozy,

What the fuck?

P.S. The jokes you are referring to were predominantly a greayest/silent generation thing.

Kushan,
@Kushan@lemmy.world avatar

The jokes they’re referring to are very much a boomer thing as well. The ol’ ball and chain, that sort of stuff is prevalent. Just take a look at any of the “boomer humour” communities and you’ll see what I mean.

Not many of the silent generation posting shit memes to Facebook.

FlyingSquid,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

I can understand why they’re getting divorced. Would you want to live with a Boomer?

I_Has_A_Hat,

Just to add some fuel to the fire, did you know most universities offer extremely low-cost, and often free, tuition to senior citizens?

FlyingSquid,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

I wouldn’t mind going back to school, but I’m only in my 40s. Think I could pull off a Maeby Funke and put on a grey wig and glasses before going to the admissions office?

Coreidan,

Think I could pull off a Maeby Funke and put on a grey wig and glasses before going to the admissions office?

Absolutely I think you could pull it off. They might take issue with your birth date tho.

APassenger,

Jultober is totally a month, tho.

TheWoozy,

That’s only for auditing classes. Retirees tend to only take classes for the love of learning. They are good to have in classrooms and don’t whine and complain to professors during office hours.

jackpot,
@jackpot@lemmy.ml avatar

“Edith Heyck, 72, was thrilled to land an apartment in senior housing, where her rent is adjusted to match her income.” I fucking lost my shit, boomers get fucking everything. Rent that is matched to income? Are you fucking serious they protect their own I swear to god

cjthomp,

Section 8

Morcyphr,

Income adjusted rent is a thing all over, not just for boomers. The problem is there isn’t enough.

Ilikepornaddict,

They vote.

2ez,

They vote Republican, aren’t we talking about socialism?

APassenger,

Socialism is what other people get.

That sounds glib, but I mean it. People forget the help they get is socialism.

My mom and sister live together. Mom gets social security, sister is a teacher. They are supported by government money.

They are deep red voters. I pointed out the home is a socialism home and it confused my mom until I explained. Still not sure she agrees. I was not being rude in pointing it out.

LaughingBuddha,

Tbf it’s possible to ‘help’ certain people even under a regime. In apartheid south Africa, white workers complained about a lack of jobs and blamed a few black professionals on it. So the apartheid regime initiated large construction works to provide jobs.

TheWoozy,

You have no idea what you are talking about.

kite,

I have never seen a senior housing facility that wasn’t a bleak, horrific nightmare. They may look nice on the outside, but they are usually the last place you want to live in your old age. Out of all of the things boomers get, this one isn’t a great one.

wim,

I remember senior housing when my grandparents were alive and moving to them. They all looked and felt like waiting rooms for the dead. Except for the rich people ones.

Kelsenellenelvial,

True, but depending how far back you’re talking about, that could mean people that came of age before things like cable/satellite TV, internet, etc… Now I feel like as long as I’ve got the capacity to play video games, watch TV shows/movies, and access the web things can’t be too bad.

30mag,

Nearly 16 million people aged 65 and older in the US lived solo in 2022, three times as many who lived alone in that age group in the 1960s.

How much of that is attributable to an increase in the number of people over the age of 65?

AThing4String,

This is honestly a good question - I’d be more interested to see it as a percentage of their age group than a count.

girlfreddy,
@girlfreddy@mastodon.social avatar

@AThing4String @30mag

In the Census link in the article it is represented as a percentage.

AThing4String,

Huh, I didn’t see the 65+ compared past-present as a percentage there though

pelicans_plight, (edited )

Well old age is a bitch, I’ve seen this scenario happen twice in my life, so I’m guessing this situation may happen a lot… but who knows. Anyway I had a friend… well not really a friend anymore, but he was a cheater, he was ugly as fuck, but this motherfucker (term used completely correctly) tried to sleep with every woman he could, including everyones girlfriends, the shocking part is that it worked, that ugly piece of shit sleep with more women then anyone I’ve ever known. Our friendship ended when one day we were just chillin smoking a joint and he casually says to me, you know what my fantasy is??? aaaah… sure, tell me, one day I hope to get aids so I can give to all the woman I sleep with… … … aahhhh… shit… I don’t think I’m friends with you anymore. But to get back to the topic, later in life he went after his best friends girlfriend, she was vary naive and trusting, and he got her, they got married, started a successful business together, had kids, he became loyal, he really loved her. One day decades into his fantasy he had an emergency, he had to go to the hospital, they ran every test they could think of to find the cause, some of the causes could be from STDs, and it was. When the wife found out it was over, fantasy now turned nightmare. He deserved what he got, but I’ll always be sad when I think of all that time that cheating narcissistic piece of shit took away from her.

Sorry if this is slightly off topic, but this reminded me of her and what she went through.

girlfreddy,
@girlfreddy@mastodon.social avatar

@pelicans_plight @MicroWave

Sounds like my dad. 5 wives, and never had sex with the last one cause he was too scared to tell her he had herpes and Hep C that he gave to wife 4 ... all cause he couldn't keep it in his pants.

deweydecibel, (edited )

Every single time the word Boomer is in the title, people rush to comments to make these insults.

The article isn’t describing a necessarily bad thing. It’s just noting a trend.

There are many reasons behind this shift in our society, including the economic gains women made when they entered the workforce and changing attitudes toward marriage.

Like…this article has absolutely nothing to do with boomers getting their comeuppance. It’s just about a shift in societal behavior. People are getting divorced later in life because it’s more acceptable to do so now and women can support themselves better on their own than when these people got married.

demvoter,
demvoter avatar

Well, the subheadline did say this “raising big questions about the country’s future” which is just bullshit.

missveeronica,

The circlejerk of Lemmy is real. It’s the same thing that was so visible on Reddit and the irony is that everyone on Lemmy, even the ones participating in the circlejerk are patting these on the back on how better they are than reddit.

SeedyOne,

This is just what the Internet has become, it’s not the specific protocol or hosted site. Years of people crying over how “reddit” behaves as an entity are already starting to complain here but they need to step back and realize it’s the nature of the beast.

Acknowledge, adapt and move on.

VediusPollio,

It’s exhausting, and far worse than Reddit.

kobra,

Humans doing shitty groupthink things with other humans? I for one am shocked.

MagicShel,

I spent like an hour typing out a counterpoint to “SFH bad. Cars bad. Owning things bad.” Then I just deleted it. Nothing good could possibly come from it. It doesn’t give anyone anything to think about, it just labels me a bad guy. Fuck it. Their opinion doesn’t hurt me - it’ll take decades if not longer to make a shift like that. I don’t care where y’all live after I die. So silence it is.

riskable,
@riskable@programming.dev avatar

I agree, fellow lemming! Let us follow this path together in solidarity.

AThing4String,

To be fair, Baby Boomers are actually statistically the reason divorce rates are so high, and also why they’ve been going down recently.

Not trying to be insulting, just wanting to speak about the statistics I’ve read, so I’ll try to use the full generation title to distinguish.

Speaking about the generation as a general group, Baby Boomers had many marriages and many divorces per capita. Your stereotypical “on my fifth wife” dudes were Baby Boomers and were a disproportionate percentage of marriages that ended in divorce - basically “Divorce Georg”.

From a statistics perspective, a large part of the reason divorce rates are going down these days are because as people get older, they tend to settle down and have less energy for those kind of antics basically, and the rate of Baby Boomers marriages and divorces was slowing down in response - with other generations being pretty much stable.

So on that level I’m not particularly surprised that those attitudes towards divorce are still affecting them in old age. It does pose interesting questions for our elder care infrastructure (or lack thereof) though.

Potatos_are_not_friends,

This reminded me.

As a kid, I was so used to meeting adults who were on their 2nd or 3rd marriage. It felt super common.

But now im hitting 40 and only a small fraction of my friends are divorced.

SheeEttin,

Fewer people getting married. A lot of my friends are long-term common-law partners, but never do the actual marriage.

Kelsenellenelvial,

Maybe it’s just the people I know personally, but it seems like very few have gone through multiple marriages. Most seem to just skip the formal marriage thing the second time around, even if those relationships last much longer than the ones that lead to divorce.

scorpious,

Living longer (and in better shape) means choosing quality of life over tradition and expectations of others.

FinallyDebunked, (edited )
@FinallyDebunked@slrpnk.net avatar

No one in their right mind would pick loneliness over relationships

dragonflyteaparty,

Not everyone living alone is lonely or not in a relationship. My grandmother-in-law lives alone and had a male “friend” who she was very close with. Living alone didn’t make her lonely. She was just very Catholic and only got married once.

FinallyDebunked,
@FinallyDebunked@slrpnk.net avatar

LOL what? She probably just wants some dick on the side while keeping up appearances as a good little Catholic housewife.

boogetyboo,
@boogetyboo@aussie.zone avatar

You ok, mate?

captainlezbian,

Yeah you’re absolutely right. So consider how bad those relationships must be

rynzcycle,

I always knew my father was an asshole to my mom. Nothing abusive, just an insensitive typical boomer man. But it wasn't until years after they divorced, in their late 50s, that I saw him change for the better, and realized her far more passive aggressive attacks towards him.

They made each other miserable, and while I don't think either of them is really happy still, they are definitely better off than before.

TheWoozy,

“Typical boomer man”? That’s a pretty broad statement.

Metaright,
Metaright avatar

Heyck says she got divorced in her 50s after her son turned 18.

“It was really more of a working relationship than a full marriage,” she says, and Heyck was emotionally ready to be on her own.

But the financial transition, she says, wasn’t easy. For years, she struggled to make ends meet, living with roommates and couch-surfing as she waited for a spot to open in income-adjusted senior housing.

“I was an artist. I lived on the edge financially. I didn’t have a 401(k) … I always thought that I would be married. That was the big surprise,” she says.

How was it a "big surprise" when it's implied that she wanted the divorce to happen? You have an unstable job, divorce your spouse, and then go all surprised Pikachu when it occurs to you that your finances are unstable?

average650,
@average650@lemmy.world avatar

There are a lot of divorced people who like it play the victim when it was painfully obvious what they were giving up to everyone but them. Divorce is horrible.

There are of course many who have escaped abused through divorce, so I don’t want to act like they are all the same, but man can people be selfish.

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