Gray Divorce, Divorce Over 50

I went back to my home in Idaho after being gone for 1-1/2 years.  The first evening that I was home, I went to a bar & restaurant that overlooks a river, to see a friend of mine who manages the bar & restaurant Monday through Thursday.  He has been managing this place for twenty years.

I was shocked to not see him there, he no longer works there, I couldn’t believe it.  One of the few remaining employees that I know, told me that his wife had divorced him.

I was very upset about this.  I knew him very well.  I would have never expected his wife to divorce him.  I will tell a little bit about him, to explain how I feel about this.

His father was an architect from this town, who had five sons and one daughter.  They lived in a big house downtown across the street from a city park.  All the kids played every sport there was, throughout the year.  The boys particularly liked football and hockey.

The kids were popular in High School, partied a lot, it was the 1970s.  My friend joined the Marines after High School.  After getting out of the Marine Corps, my friend was a police officer in California.  He later got a college degree and his teaching certificate.  In his late 20s, he became head of security for a very large computer technology company, with his own office, company vehicle, expense account, and high salary.

His brothers became teachers and coaches in their home town.  Visiting his home town, he met a women who was a teacher and coach at the same school his brother coached at.  He and this teacher started dating.  He left his high paying, high level corporate job to return to his home town to marry this teacher.

There were not a lot of job openings in this town, but he wanted to support his family, so he took a job as a bartender and bar manager, which is not what he had been doing.  He became good at this job, and he was well liked by the customers and the restaurant owner.  This is why he worked there for twenty years.

He was funny, entertaining, and he had a good personality.  Women that he had gone to High School with, women who were regular customers, women who were just in town overnight, and women employees, would see if he was interested in going home with them, but he would politely refuse.

He was the most proud of his wife and two daughters of anyone I have ever met.  The one fault that he had, was always talking about how well his wife and daughters were doing.  His wife had won several state awards as a teacher, several state awards as a coach, and more than several state championships.

He spent all of his time and energy focusing on his family.  He made sure that his daughters were doing well with their school work, practicing and training effectively for sports, and giving a complete effort in everything that they did.  His daughters did very well in school, and did very well in sports.  They both got athletic scholarships to college.  His two daughters never got into any trouble at all.

When he got home from work at 2:00 a.m., he would begin cooking things like homemade meatballs.  His daughters would wake up from the smell of cooking early in the morning and come into the kitchen to eat whatever it was.  It didn’t hurt them, they burned so many calories.  His wife on the other hand, was about fifty pounds overweight, and he may have been partly to blame, because he was a good cook.

He loved his wife and was so proud of his wife, though she was quite overweight and no longer attractive.  One of the reasons why his wife had let her own appearance go, was because she put so much effort and energy into teaching and coaching, she didn’t spend any time taking care of herself.

My friend and his wife each made the same amount of money.  My friend would seek additional ways to make money, like painting houses, in order have more money for his family.  I once let him borrow a very nice stainless steel .357 Smith & Wesson revolver, which he said he wanted because it was what he used when he was a police officer.  I offered to sell it to him for a low price, but he said he couldn’t buy it because his family needed the money at that time.

He would use his vacation time when his wife had state championship games out of town, in order to support his wife and her team.  He would spend his money on purchasing team shirts for all the girls on the team, and taking all the girls on the team out for dinner at a nice restaurant.  (Not all the girls would have had money for team shirts, or to go out to dinner, so that is why he paid for everyone.)

After both his daughters were in college with athletic scholarships, his wife was ready to move on.  I read a local newspaper article about her retirement from the local school system, and her moving away to become an athletic director.  There was elaboration on all of her accomplishments, and the success of her daughters, but not one mention of her husband.  I could see from the photograph, that she had lost about 50 pounds now, and she was down to a normal size.

I have my thoughts about all of this, but I wanted to read other articles about why this might have happened.  Several authors that I read, stated that divorce over 5o is the fastest growing category of divorce.  One female author that I read, stated that the AARP research showed that 66% of divorces over 50 were initiated by women.  This female author did her own research, and stated that the number one reason for divorce by women over 50 was emotional abuse.

I think that a valid reason for women to initiate divorce from their husband would be: cheating, gambling away money, alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography addiction, physical abuse, child abuse, mental illness, criminal activity, refusal to work, not helping with household work, not taking care of their physical health, and emotional abuse.

In the case of my friend, I don’t think that anything on the above list occurred.  I think that his wife was just interested in beginning a new life without him, a more promising life, a more exciting life, a more adventurous life.  And, keeping her retirement pension all to herself.  He would not have an employer paid retirement pension.

If my friend had wanted to, he could have been having a more exciting and adventurous life, all along, I saw many women offer this to him.  But he was devoted to his wife and his two daughters.  If he had wanted to, he could have planned some scheme five years ago, that when his daughters left home to go to college, he could have had a new career all set and ready to go.  But he did not plan on leaving his wife.

It is all over now.  The harm has already been done, and it will never be undone.  Twenty-five years of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter together with each other and their children, will never happen again, it has all been ruined.  I don’t think that his wife will ever find anyone that was so interested in her, cared about her so much, and was willing to support her so much, and proved this over twenty-five years.  I don’t know what she was thinking.

There may have been another man that no one knows about, or she may find another man.  Although another man may seem more exciting and appealing, he may need to borrow money from her,  he may be deeply in debt, he may be physically abusive, he may be emotionally abusive, he may have a crazy ex-wife that won’t go away, he may have a psychotic ex-girlfriend that keeps showing up, horrible children, a drug addiction, alcoholism, Hepatitis C, Herpes…

People now, are trying to get a better deal.  It is not that their marriage is bad or that their spouse is bad, they are just trying to see if they can have more fun, more excitement, and trade up for a better life.

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