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Marriage: Been There, Done That, Don’t Want To Do It Again

Marriage: Been There, Done That, Don’t Want To Do It Again

By Susan Williams

There was an interesting article published in the Globe and Mail entitled The new reality of dating over 65: Men want to live together; women don’t. The article shared some recent data on the differences between men and women and their dating objectives and ultimate relationships goals.

Interestingly, the number of divorced or separated seniors living alone has tripled from 1981 to 2016. But what is even more intriguing is the increase in the number of women choosing to live alone and their reasons;

“Increasingly it is personal choice – not death – that sees senior-age women going it alone, with 72 per cent reporting they were highly satisfied living on their own…”

The article went further on to describe how older men actually favoured the traditional relationships of co-habitation through either marriage or common-law and are having some difficulties accepting this new reality. They explained that many older men had depended on their spouses because they met “…many of their social, emotional, health and domestic needs.“.

Depending on how you view this situation, this could be seen as a small victory.

Many older women had careers that may have now granted them some level of financial independence. As a result, they may be in a position to no longer be dependent on men for their financial stability or needing to remain in relationships that were not necessarily serving them well.

This situation also highlights the role that women want to play as they age.

Women have been (and continue to be) primary caregivers. Now that many have finished with their days of caring for others (their husband, their children, their parents) and all the associated domestic responsibilities this included, they are now appreciating their independence and not looking to jump into another traditional relationship that might find them falling back into previous domestic responsibilities.

Women tend to also have strong social networks. These relationships along with the free time to dedicate to personal interests leaves many women not necessarily pining for the traditional roles that a marriage or common law marriage may have offered.

This is certainly an interesting situation and one that many men might find confusing. 

For many older baby boomers, it was fully expected that a woman would move from her father’s home to her husband’s home. As a result, the expectations of a proposal for marriage from a man were very high at that time.

However, in today’s situation, this could be seen as a sort of role reversal. The old line, “can’t we just be friends“, has shifted from one gender to the other.

So along with so many other things, baby boomers continue to break previous societal expectations and this time it’s the ladies turn. So if there are men are out there looking for a wife to take care of them, they may have to rethink that.

The ladies now have some other plans.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.