The narratives of six Israeli men and nine Israeli women who divorced at ages above 45 were analyzed by qualitative methods to explore the process of marital deterioration in this age group, in marriages of fifteen years and more. Narrators' ratings of their marriages ranged from “excellent” to “disastrous.” The major causes of marital failure described were lack of emotional mutuality and communication, physical and emotional abuse, and alternative adulterous relationships. Health and other crises were significant for some couples. Half the couples had been in marital therapy and half in individual therapy. Severe problems went on for many years, as did the contemplation of divorce. Some reported great suffering yet did not find the strength to initiate a divorce. Often a personal growth experience or development of inner strength helped one side to take the initiative to divorce after years of mutual suffering. The narrators emphasized suffering within the marriage more heavily than outside attractions; but half of the initiators had alternative relationships at the time of the initiation. Divorce in this group was a process that developed over a long time, not a spontaneous or impulsive response to any immediate acute trigger.
- Divorce after 45 years of age
- Staying in a marriage
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