Why are couples married for decades calling it quits?

Rebecca Crockett
September 11, 2019 - 4:00 am

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Kansas City, MO - The kids are grown, you're secure in your job, and retirement is on the horizon. It's the moment many couples dream of, so why are so many calling it quits when they get there?  Couples coach Timmy Gibson says one factor has to do with the mid-life crisis. 

"In the first half of your life everything is new, everything's fresh, and it's all awesome. Then the second half of life you go through more grief, more pain, and more heartache," explains Gibson. He says for anyone who's experienced loss, whether it's a job or the loss of a parent, counseling should be a priority. 

Gibson says one of the biggest mistakes in marriages is when an individual stops caring for themselves. He says you're not doing anybody any favors and it often leads to bitterness. He says marriage is often about sacrifice, but there should be balance. 

"But if all you do is sacrifice, like, you know what, I got married so I got rid of the motorcycle, I got rid of the boat, and then I quit going fishing and I stopped doing this..., That to me, that's a red flag. I'm like, oh my gosh, they're destined, this isn't going to work," says Gibson. 

He says it usually happens in two types of relationships: The distant couple, and the ones who lose their individual identities. Gibson says you shouldn't lose yourself in a relationship, you should find yourself. The problem, according to Gibson, is often when years go by, you lose yourself by doing things you don't like to do, and you're living in a way you don't like to live. 

As for the distant couple, he says the key is to never stop dating your spouse, no matter how long you've been together. He also advises couple to seek counseling even if your relationship is healthy. Doing maintenance once a year can go a long way. 

Gibson says a symptom of a troubled marriage is often an affair, "That's usually a symptom of some kind of brokenness, either in the person that did it or in the relationship." He says some couple see an affair as a wake-up call and a turning point in their relationship. 

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