Reasons for "Late in Life Divorces"
After 40 years of marriage, those close to Al and Tipper Gore say that the couple simply grew apart. And experts say that late-marriage splits are more common than we think.
"We tend to mistakenly believe that once people reach a certain point in marriage, they just stop splitting up," says Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School who studies family trends. "But that's simply not true. In fact, Stevenson says, while marriages are more likely to fail in the first 10 years, once you get past that, "the percentage of those divorcing each year is very similar throughout the years of marriage."
Perhaps the most obvious reason for late in life separations is that the children are grown and no longer create a distraction from the marriage itself. In spite of many years together, it is possible for couples to grow apart when the children go to college, marry and start families of their own. The copule then begins pursuing more personal interests rather than those that involve the entire family.
Of course, there's no getting around the shock factor surrounding the separation announcement by the Gores, which came in an e-mail Tuesday to friends. Unlike many political couples, they'd spoken openly of their feelings for each other and seemed to share an easy affection, not to mention four children and three grandchildren.
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