Merriam-Webster dictionary defines irreconcilable difference as the inability to agree on most things or important things.
In my case, as for many ‘Grey Divorces’, that was the reason cited for the reason to end our marriage; irreconcilable differences.
No fault, no blame, no list of shortcomings, broken promises, or unrealized dreams, no litany of annoying habits, no explanations, no defense - just two words; irreconcilable differences.
No long-drawn-out court battle and big legal bills.
No mudslinging or blame-gaming. We’d done enough of that in the preceding years and realized that accomplished nothing except deepening the rift in our relationship, and making others who loved us uncomfortable.
Once we accepted that our marriage was no longer providing each of us what we wanted for who we are now, we could move forward as people who still cared about each other.
We drew up our own settlement terms, consulted with CPAs and employed a mediation lawyer to file the court documents. We accomplished this in weeks, respectfully and co-operatively.
Divorce is on the rise in my generation.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks and months as I share from my experience of ‘conscious uncoupling’ and the many facets of change that lead into and through divorce.
"Gray divorce," also known as "silver splitter" or "diamond divorce," is a term used to refer to the increasing trend of late-in-life divorces. This term first became mainstream in 2004, when AARP published a study on divorce at "midlife and beyond," and is generally used to describe adults aged 50 or older who are going through a separation.
In 2015, every 10 out of 1,000 couples aged 50 and over got divorced, which was double what their divorce rate had been in 1990. And for those over 65, the increase was even higher — it had roughly tripled in 25 years. In fact, while the overall rate of divorce has continually declined since then, the divorce rate of people over 50 is increasing.
Statistically, gray divorce is and continues to be on the rise, and not just in the United States. Canada, Japan, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom have reported increases in the last decade as well.
Why are older people getting divorced? One soon-to-be-divorced woman told me that she sees her life in chapters. And although she thought her current husband would be part of her life through all of them, she now wants to do some of the writing on her own, and perhaps, one day, with another partner. She means no harm to her husband, and wants to free him up to find true happiness in his next chapters as well.
Couples aren't simply "drifting apart" over time anymore. One or both people in the marriage are making an overt choice to change course for the time they have left. And recognizing that life is short and precious, one or both partners choose what they feel is the most fulfilling path. They tend to believe that, if a marriage is not working for them, it really isn't working for their spouse either. So, they afford themselves the space to gain, or regain, happiness and fulfillment.
Isabel Banerjee - Your Next Business Strategist and Transformation Catalyst
Dynamic, a self-made entrepreneur who overcame obstacles with an unrelenting positive nature, a farm girl work ethic, and a conscious choice to thrive rather than survive, Isabel Alexander Banerjee cultivated an award-winning, $10 million+ global chemical business and grew it from dining room table to international boardrooms.
Isabel’s strengths include the ability to initiate and nurture strategic relationships, a love of lifelong learning and talents for helping others maximize their potential. An inspiring speaker within both industry and community, she is a driving force behind those with the courage to foll0ow her example of thriving against the odds.
With 50+ years of business experience across diverse industries, Isabel is respected as an advisor, a coach, a mentor, and a role model. She believes in sharing collective wisdom and empowering others to economic independence.
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LAYC41 - Irreconcilable Change
[00:00:52] Isabel: Hello again, my fellow travelers in this universe. Well, prepare yourself today for a very out of the box episode. I mean that very literally. If you've been following along on our theme about change, and you listened to episode 40. You will know that I revealed that I'm actually in the process of packing because of a big change in my life.
[00:02:15] Isabel: I was outed on social media by a friend... That I am deep in the process of ending a marriage. Packing up and moving on to... At least a, a stopping over place in my life... Until I sort out where and what, I want to do next. So here I am today, this will be the last episode I record before I disassemble my podcast equipment and put it in a box... Pack it up... Getting ready to put the boxes in a pod... You know, one of those shipping containers that goes by truck, or rail to your destination. Instead of a mover, it's kind of a do it yourself, mover process... Which I have used before on my move from Canada to the US, and now I get to do it again.
[00:03:16] Isabel: So, I'm my own packing crew... Except for a little help from one amazing friend, who has this spatial ability, that I do not have. She came and packed up my art collection. I am right now... Surrounded by partially filled boxes, and labels and inventory lists. I didn't want to miss an opportunity. I didn't want to misstep with you and not record an episode until I get settled in a new recording location.
[00:03:53] Isabel: Today's episode is entitled Irreconcilable Change. And of course, you can tell I like to have fun and play with some words... The grounds for the divorce petition that we have just filed... Are irreconcilable differences. For anybody that has puzzled about what that means... Merriam-Webster dictionary defines irreconcilable difference, as the... Inability to agree on most things or important things... That sums up what's become of my relationship, our relationship together. When we came together about 13 years ago, it seemed like we had so much in common. At that time and place in our lives, we were both doing similar things. Very busy careers, actively consulting, and really feeling vibrant and enthusiastic about the possibility. He in his 60s, me in my 50s... About the value and our purpose in the world. Over time, that started to change and it continued to change... As we were both growing, but growing differently. I was growing... I feel like I've just got started... Figuring out who I am and what I'm capable of doing. And he was in a more wanna, you know... Relax, slow down, and just really... Enjoy the memories and the experiences that I've already lived.
[00:05:37] Isabel: What hasn't changed is the core values of what brought us together. The key ones were our mutual value of... Love of family and loyalty of friends. So that we still share. It's the other things, that we have come to grow apart upon. Couples as famous as Bill and Melinda Gates... In the beginning... You have so much that ties you together. A relationship just continues to flow, and to exist, and be enough. But then you reach a point, whether it's because your children are grown and gone... Or your business, or careers, have gone a different direction, which is personal interests and appetites. That's why the phenomena today known as gray divorce, makes sense to me. You may have people that have been together for decades, or just a few years... Start out thinking they have enough connection and reason to be interesting to each other, and have enough to enjoy and share and bond each other... To last a lifetime.
[00:06:59] Isabel: Do I think it's possible? Yes, I do think so, because I am a romantic at heart. But it does mean a very special effort, and it means a very special combination of people in my mind... That continue to stay closely enough linked in their own personal and professional development... That you share enough common interests to get you through the bumps and humps. In episode 29 of this podcast, I interviewed Ashton Applewhite. The podcast episode is called Rock Your Age. And if you don't know her... She has become a very, very well respected, well quoted, activist against age-ism. She talks about how gray divorce is happening because women in particular are the ones who are most frequently initiating a divorce in their 50s, 60s, and 70s... Because they feel they have... Long enough, put everybody else first, and fulfill their roles or the expectations society, family, friends have put on them, and they are now ready to devote more time and energy to themselves. As I say... Explore what they're really capable of.
[00:08:29] Isabel: I also talked about... In previous episodes talking about change... That what I have learned is that to be able to be open and receive and prepare to receive new things... To grow, to learn, to challenge myself... That I could only do so, by letting go, and making room... And that meant letting go of some of the things in my life that no longer served me... That were taking that energy from me... That I wanted to reallocate, and refocus, on the future that I pictured for myself.
[00:09:08] Isabel: As I finish packing in the next couple of days, I wanted to leave you with some thoughts about... Is divorce a failure? Is it a personal failing? Or is it a recognition that you have lived the best of a relationship? And that... Not always, is it intended to be a forever relationship. Just like in the episode Best Friends Forever... We discussed that... Not all friendships are meant to last forever.
[00:09:44] Isabel: I understand, that this flies in the face of what we were told as little girls... find your prince charming, and live happily ever after. But let's be honest.... You are no longer that little girl, and you have different aspirations, and different expectations, and different beliefs. Come on... Is it realistic, to expect any individual to fulfill all of our expectations and needs throughout our lifetime? If we don't feel like we can give that to ourselves?
[00:10:23] Isabel: I'm in pursuit now, of figuring out who I am... What I need... Getting to know me, today at 67. Getting to know what are the things that help me, to be the best of me, to be more of me. Equally important, getting to understand and know how to let go of the things that do not contribute to me being the best me ever.
[00:10:53] Isabel: So as I continue on my epic journey of packing up all of this stuff... As I discussed in Unpacking Change, the episode last week. Realizing that I'm packing some things I shouldn't... And that I'm going to have to do some work around letting go of some things that I shouldn't have packed and brought on into the next part of my life.
[00:11:17] Isabel: I'd like to leave you with a quote. I found among some papers, as I was sorting my office... And it reminded me of a message I needed to hear again. The quote begins... " As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health - food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is love of oneself."
[00:11:58] Isabel: This beautiful sentiment, is from Charlie Chaplin, on his 70th birthday, in 1959. And it's so perfect for me... Now, on my 67th birthday!
Dynamic, self-made entrepreneur who overcame obstacles with an unrelenting positive nature, a farm girl work ethic and a conscious choice to thrive rather than survive, Isabel Alexander Banerjee cultivated an award winning, $10 million+ global chemical wholesale business and grew it from dining room table to international boardrooms.
Isabel’s strengths include the ability to initiate & nurture strategic relationships, a love of lifelong learning and talents for helping others maximize their potential. An inspiring speaker within both industry and community, she is a driving force behind those with the courage to follow her example of thriving against the odds.
With 50+ years of business experience across diverse industries, Isabel is respected as an advisor, a coach, a mentor and a role model. She believes in sharing collective wisdom and empowering others to economic independence.
Your Next Business Strategist and Transformation Catalyst