Divorce after 31 years of marriage

United States
April 30, 2008 4:02pm CST
My dad told me today that our good family friends are getting a divorce after being married for 31 years. We're all really in shock. This is really sad to me because they always seemed to have a great relationship. They'd been together since the 6th grade - childhood sweethearts. It's almost like a rock in my mind's eye is breaking apart. They were our neighbors growing up, and their kids are around my age. We were very close - doing everything together. They were at my wedding just two years ago, and they really seemed just fine. She said she just missed living and being REALLY happy. He said she's never been the same since the kids left the house. Are these reasons to divorce? Will these things not pass? Or is it that after 31 years, you KNOW they won't pass?
2 people like this
11 responses
@gemini_rose (16208)
30 Apr 08
I think that once the kids leave home and go their own ways, it is kind of like the bond that was between you goes, sometimes people do not have a lot left in common, I have known of a few marriage breakdowns because of this. Plus some women feel like they have done their bit for all those years and now they want to have a taste of life for themselves, want to rediscover who they really are. I am like this at the moment and my kids are still young, but I am already feeling that once they all reach school age, I want to find out who I am and get something out of my life now. It is sad that this couple are splitting, but maybe she knows that she just needs to do this now.
2 people like this
• United States
1 May 08
My husband and I have been married for 2 years now, and it's hard to watch a couple who's been together for so long just separate. Are having kids to blame? Would the couple have split years ago if they hadn't had children? OR would they still be together if they hadn't had kids since the focus wouldn't have left just the couple????
1 person likes this
@gemini_rose (16208)
1 May 08
It is hard, I think that once kids come along in a marriage, you focus all your attention on to them, there is not always time or energy to spend on each other. You become mum and dad and not who you were when you first met, and sometimes by the time you get to go back to being who you used to be, you do not know who they are anymore, you do not know each other, or seem to have nothing in common anymore. It is all about trying to stay in touch with how you were as a couple before kids and then as the kids get older getting to know each other all over again. Marriage and children is very very hard, I have been married for nearly 7 years.
1 person likes this
@goergineo (1498)
• Jordan
30 Apr 08
well, It is really strange after all of these years together, they wanna leave each other. there must be a missing piece they do not tell or at least they do not wanna tell. It could be that the sons are the reason for hiding it for a long time and now it is the time to break up. anyway, If they feel happier now, it is okay. why not to break up, if they feel better without each other. Happiness got nothing to do with numbers.
2 people like this
• United States
30 Apr 08
My husbands parents divorced after 37 years. I had a friend, an old man in his 90's and he too divorced after 50 years of marriage and when I asked him why bother you're in your 90s he said "If I only get 10 minutes of true happiness it will be worth it." The happiness in a long marriage comes and goes and yes it's entirely possible that their shared happiness might return, but you reach a certain age and you don't want to risk missing out. Maybe they both decided to give someone else a chance to share their lives. Maybe the familiar was not what they wanted to end their life with. Ending sare sad, but beginnings are not.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Apr 08
Thanks for the reminder. Change and endings are difficult. I hope they both find the new beginning they're looking for.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 08
I do too. They sound like good people or the next door neighbors kid wouldn't be so worried about them both. You seem like a nice person yourself. :0)
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 08
Thanks lambchoper. They kind of filled in when my parents were gone and my parents filled in with their kids when they were gone. I guess they filled in as extra parents when we were young, so it just kind of shook me to the core when I heard they were splitting.
2 people like this
• Philippines
30 Apr 08
I am not yet married but I have heard a lot of similar stories to somehow understand what married people are going through. I am truly sorry for what is going on with your good family friends. Married people go through so much over the years. What matters here is how they handle the issues they are confronted with. My uncle (dad's brother) and aunt have been married for more than 30 years when they decided to go their separate ways. They have five children, three of whom are married. Two are abroad, both single. We were also surprised that after all those years, they just decided to leave each other's arms. Sometimes, it's really just something that the couple know and understand. With regards to your friends' situation, I do hope that whatever decision they would come up with, it would be for the best.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 08
I keep hoping it's for the best too. I haven't talked with their kids who are my age yet. I bet they're having a hard time, but I guess it's important to think about your personal happiness at some point and not so much the happiness of your kids or others....
1 person likes this
@busta1baby (1239)
• United States
1 May 08
wow thats a long time to be together then get divorced....
• United States
1 May 08
No kidding! It kind of shook my belief in couples being able to stay together through thick and thin.
@carolscash (9506)
• United States
1 May 08
This is a sad story but it seems that it is happening quite often anymore. People just seem to grow apart and not be able to fix it. My husband and I have been married 13 years and I know at times I think about how things would be without him. I love him and I know he loves me but we just seem so different now. I know everyone changes as they get older and sometimes I think you just realize that you aren't the person that you were when you got married and you don't feel the connection to the other person now as you did. It could be that you have stayed together as the family unit was what held the two of you together. I hope that both of these people dear to you will find happiness. Be there if the kids need a friend!
@aswinbio (174)
• India
1 May 08
thats too bad...i f a person cant understand each other even after living of more than three decades then wat is the use in it
• United States
1 May 08
There are many reasons why people get divorced after such a long marriage. Mine lasted for 27 yrs and who knows what the real reasons are for him.
@wayz12 (2060)
• United States
1 May 08
Relationships are interesting. It reveals so much about yourself, and we pick our partners because there are lessons we need to learn. After having been together for 31 one years, this couple decided that it would be best for them to be apart. I totally agree that would be a wise decision if that is how they feel for each other. A lot of people would stay in a marriage for all the wrong reasons, or even simply, because they have gotten so used to each other, that the idea of being apart scared them. I think this couple is brave enough to face their issues and acknowledge that being together for now is not the best for them. Divorces don't have to be bitter, if handled properly, and who knows when they have gone out and re-discovered themselves beyond the identity of mother/wife or father/husband, they might realized that they want to be together again.
• United States
1 May 08
I don't know if i've ever heard of this happening in a couple, its definately an interesting case. If you aren't happy you shouldn't stay together, it will only cause more problems in the future. I think that if you are going to be together and work things out both parties have to be willing to go that far, and obviously they aren't. I know that it does seem upsetting, but just remember its they're choice and they will have to live with it. Just try and be there for them, and basically be a shoulder to cry on if they need you. I think that its sad they've been married for so long, and are separating for what seem to be redundant reasons. However that happenes sometimes, and there's nothing you can do about it. I wish the best of luck to your neighboors, hope they can work things out.
@williamjisir (22913)
• China
1 May 08
It really makes one feels sad when you do not see them get divorced for any special reason, expecially after thirty one years of marriage, who know each other so well and have already got used to each other. I hope that they will think about it carefully before making the decision of getting divorced. Life itself is not easy, but I do hope that everyone enjoys the way of life they have and respect it. Thank you for your discussion, dear wnh. Take care.