When two people come together to marry, their intentions are almost always to form an invisible bond that will last “til death do us part”. It’s a lifelong contract, if you will.

Unfortunately, marriage doesn’t often work out in the long-run. In fact, statistics show that in Singapore alone, 38 to 43% of married couples end up splitting up (source: tnp.sg). More often than not, these divorces aren’t happening two or three years into the marriage, but 15 or 20 years down the line.

Why do people divorce after such a long time of being together? you may ask. The answer is: it’s complicated. There are a number of reasons why a couple may choose to split after decades of marriage, and each situation is personal and unique.

That said, there are a few reasons that can explain why break-ups are generally common after this period of time.

Why Do People Divorce After Decades of Marriage?

The Spark Has Died

You hear it all the time: “Oh, the spark died between them.” What this actually means, though, is debatable. When a relationship starts out, of course the spark is there – everything is new, there’s the sexual attraction, the lust, the excitement… This naturally declines as a couple becomes more familiar with one another, which many people mistake for the “spark dying”.

Actually, it is perfectly normal to feel less physically attracted or excited by your partner than when your relationship first started out. But if you’ve lost interest to the point that you would actually rather not see your significant other, and you’re maybe even lusting over other people, you might need to think about divorce. 

The Married Pair Has Grown Apart

Look back five years into the past, and think about how much you have changed in that short space of time. You may have physically and mentally matured, your interests may have evolved, and most likely, you don’t want the things you wanted back then.

Now try to picture 20 years into the future. That’s four lots of five. You can suddenly see why it’s perfectly feasible for a couple that once had plenty in common to no longer share any similar interests. Sometimes, you can work to build up your mutual interests. But if you no longer see things in the same way, divorce might be the only answer.

Hormonal Changes

We often forget that despite how evolved we are, humans are animals, with animal impulses and instincts. Hormonal changes happen with age, and are, for the most part, completely out of our control. These may lead to a massive difference in sex drive that causes huge issues in a relationship.

It’s fine to a slightly varying sex drive from your partner – to expect to be completely compatible in the bedroom is unrealistic. That said, if one of you develops desires that become more pronounced with age, while the other has a far lower sex drive, this may cause a certain pressure that eventually leads to the breakdown of your relationship.

Financial Issues

We know, we know. If only we lived in a world where financial issues weren’t a thing. Unfortunately, money plays a huge part in our lives, and when two people’s spending and saving habits don’t match up, big problems can be had.

It’s fairly common for a person’s financial habits to change with age. It might be that building debt or the pressure to contribute to a pension leads to obsessive saving, or a person has adopted a “YOLO” attitude now they are into the later stages of their life. If your partner’s spending habits are no longer in line with yours, divorce may be the only way to save yourself financially.

If you are seeking help or advice regarding your own relationship, your best bet it to call a lawyer and discuss your issues sooner rather than later.

To learn more: How long does it take to get over divorce after decades of marriage?