Earlier this week, Quickie Divorce reported on the growing number of over-60s that are filing for divorce in the UK. This emerging trend has, since it first came to the public’s attention, been discussed far and wide, with several commentators having chosen to subject these elderly divorcees to severe criticism, not least Daily Mail columnist Bel Mooney who has claimed that any individual seeking a divorce in their later years is both stupid and selfish – an assessment that is not only churlish, but worryingly glib.
In fact, Mooney’s column is replete with superficial conclusion, claiming that later-life divorce results in familial estrangement, abolishes social lives and condemns at least one of the parties to a life of virtual solitude. Worse yet is the fact that Mooney seems content to assert that divorce in later life is nigh on always instigated by a husband who has found a new partner.
It is both bizarre and a shame that, in this day and age, someone can view divorce as a solely negative occurrence. It may be true that no divorce is every without stress or heartbreak irrespective of context, but it also true that, in many instances, a divorce is in the best interest of both spouses, regardless of their age.
Mooney argues that it is selfish for one spouse to request a divorce when their husband or wife is happy in the marriage and blissfully unaware of their partner’s desire to leave. This conclusion, like the majority of the article in question, is imprudent.
If one spouse is dissatisfied with their marriage, have unsuccessfully attempted to resolve matters and concluded that they would be happier apart, they would be doing not only themselves but also their partner a disservice if they chose to remain in an unhappy relationship. As much as their partner may be left heartbroken by the divorce, time is a great healer and provided that the departing spouse treats their partner with compassion and respect, then however reprehensible their actions may appear to be, they are doing the right thing.