Though it’s always quoted as hovering around 50%, the divorce rate in America is now closer to 40% than 50%. This is true for almost every demographic except the baby boomer, those born between 1945 and 1964. For them the rate has grown to 50% in two decades. So why do baby boomers divorce the most? Some experts have posited that since baby boomers came up in an age of great prosperity and challenged every aspect of conventional society from gender inequality to civil rights, they are now challenging what it means to be middle-aged and redefining marriage and relationships too. Others say that they are looking for a relationship that is unattainable, perfection. Still others believe that they want the most out of life, including attraction and sexual satisfaction in their partners. As baby boomers age their peculiarities will be of much study to psychologists, demographers, sociologists and many others. The question will be how marriage and relationships change in this important demographic as they continue to age and what unique qualities will there be when they are seniors.
Baby boomers were the first generation to reject traditional gender roles outright. With the advent of the birth control pill came the sexual revolution as well as great strides in feminism. Of course this was also the generation that challenged the traditional notion of marriage and enacted a record number of divorces through the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. It may be their propensity toward divorce that causes their children, the Gen X, Gen Y and Millennial generations to wait longer to get married and start a family. It may also be the reason that the younger generations are cohabitating more. Of course financial considerations also come into play, and perhaps are more of a cause. But the baby boomers paved the way to make it possible. The mistakes of the baby boomers and their propensity toward divorce may have also made marriages much more stable, decreasing the divorce rate among later generations. This is because people are much more serious when entering into a marriage. They take it very seriously, do not want to be divorced and so they wait and make sure the person is the right one before going ahead and getting married. If you are looking for a relationship as a divorcee from the baby boomer generation, read the book, Boomers Guide to Dating (Again) by Laurie A. Helgoe, Ph.D.