It was recently reported in the news that Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman are calling it quits after 30 years of marriage. Is it the drama of another celebrity marriage breaking up or the length of their marriage that has us mesmerized? When we hear of a long-term marriage that is ending in divorce we often wonder… why do couples split up after being together for so long?
As adults we realize that no marriage is perfect. However, we want to believe that, after so many years, spouses can feel secure and comfortable in their marriage. The reality is that a long-term marriage that is in trouble has probably been in decline for some time, possibly even decades. Warning signs within the marriage most likely existed and over time the issues intensified until the couple saw no recourse but to divorce.
Divorce Is Often the Result of Spouses Failure to Adapt to Changes and “Growing Apart”
When we talk about long-term marriages that collapse after 20 or 30 years, we don’t suspect it to be an easy mutual decision for the couple to divorce. The cliché “growing apart” seems to be the reason why marriages dissolve after so many years. What does growing apart really mean? When discussing divorce, most would agree that it means people change and move on. Growing apart actually happens over a long period of time and involves a complex web of many contributing factors.
Individuals don’t change as much as their perspectives or expectations change. When people get married they have personal and marital goals that continuously change as life experiences shape them as they grow older. Commonly, long term marriages fail when those changes are not acknowledged and adapted into the marriage as the year’s pass. The relationship becomes unsuccessful if the partners do not mutually evolve and do not adapt to each other as they grow.
Couples can grow apart after many years of marriage because one or both partners did not continue to keep the relationship a priority. Often times, one or both spouses maintain personal interests and passions but at the expense of the other spouse or the marriage. The lack of common activities, hobbies or friends, can be obvious signs of a couple “growing apart”, especially when the spouses fail to carve out time devoted specifically to each other.
Lack of Communication Can Lead to Divorce
Lack of good communication can undermine the best of efforts to stay together. Even the challenges of changing expectations and circumstances, and the lack of common interests, can be overcome with good communication. Some married people will shut down and not discuss their differences. Others do not know how to fight fairly and may have belligerent outbursts which inhibit effective communication. Marriages will dissolve when communication ends because the issues build up; they become major problems and create large gaps in the relationship.
In long term marriages, the partners find themselves drifting further apart from their common ground until there isn’t any left between them and the couple divorces. The marriage relationship is dependent on two people, and if only one person is adapting or communicating, or staying connected, that person can feel as though they are carrying the load and become resentful. While short-term marriages may “combust” for reasons of distrust or incompatibility, many long-term marriages end as a result of a “slow-burning” resentment building over years and years of pain and loneliness.
New Jersey Divorce Lawyers and Chairman of Cooper Levenson’s Family Law Practice Group, Have Experience in Long Term Marriages Ending in Divorce
Dealing with an impending divorce of a long-term marriage is a painful experience that often causes feelings of anxiety and depression. If you are considering divorce after many years of marriage, Attorney and his team of New Jersey divorce attorneys can help you reach an amicable and respectful dissolution of your marriage. Our family law attorneys maintain offices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and represent clients throughout South Jersey, including the communities of Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, and Atlantic County. Contact Attorney at 856-857-5526 to schedule a confidential appointment or contact us online.