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The Label “Gray Divorce” Needs To Go!

A simple Google search will show you that the books, articles and support groups focused on divorce usually refer to long-term relationship endings as “Gray Divorce.” They all speak of us as gray-haired people breaking up and trying to start over at “this age.”

When I first heard this term, I immediately bristled. I was incensed, insulted, and inconsolable!

It is an understatement that “gray” does not have a very positive connotation in our society. While the COVID isolation created a renewed acceptance of “graying naturally” (only as long as the salons were closed!), it is still considered a negative, and refers to a stage of life that is…limited. But, those of us who have reached this stage—and hair color—know better!

Not that there is anything wrong with gray hair – but we are so much more than our hair—now more than ever!

The issues and emotions of ending a long-term marriage are unique. Often, the spouses are “empty-nesters”, or retired, or grandparents, or—all of the above. It is normal that the couple met in their 20’s or 30’s and grew up together—literally—into the people they are today.

So, added to that, society wants to call this “Gray Divorce?” I say emphatically “No!”

If society needs to label us, come up with a better one. The descriptive “Empty-Nest Divorce?” The timely “Mid-Life Divorce?” The alliterative “Silver Separation”?

Or, I have a better idea. It is the ending of a long-term marriage, with endless possibilities for the future.

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