voices in the family

Silver Splitters: The “Other Shade of Gray”


A growing number of people are divorcing as they near retirement age. In the last 20 years, the divorce rate has more than doubled for men and women ages 50 and older. It’s a trend with taxing ripple effects that can be felt emotionally, socially, financially, and in other ways.

Dr. Dan Gottlieb and his guests Rita DeMaria and Scott Haltzman discuss “Silver Splitters”– older adults who face divorce.

Rita DeMaria is a distinguished professor, marriage and family therapist, author, researcher, and relationship educator. She is the founder of The Relationship Center.

Scott Haltzman is a geriatric psychiatrist and Distinguished Fellow with the American Psychiatric Association. He’s the author of many books including The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity and The Secrets of Happy Families: Eight Keys to Building a Lifetime of Connection and Contentment.

Photo by Marcel Oosterwijk on Flickr


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  • http://None Alex Weidman

    I don’t believe in closed relationships, even though when I am in a relationship I primarily ACT in a monogamous manner. The idea that I would not want my partner to act on a positive feeling, especially if I am not actively available in the moment, always seemed to be a compulsion motivated by a sense of JEALOUSY, which has always been an emotion I have been highly aware and critical of.

    The criteria that I hold a partner to in a relationship is HONESTY. I’d rather you ASK me before you engage in a physical encounter outside the partnership, and if you don’t ask before, then I’d want to be TOLD after. If you can ask / tell me, than I have nothing to worry about. It’s only when a partner feels the need to keep their other in “the dark” that red flags need be raised.

    Also, I think gay relationships tend to have a leg up on relationship structures because they are more inclined to have a conversation to establish SHARED EXPECTATIONS. From what I’ve seen, this is one of the BIGGEST PIT FALLS straight relationships have to overcome, because they proceed in relationships without any conversations as to what either person expects because it’s assumed to be “obvious.” There is a motif, narrative, & trope which is already established for straight relationships, while gay relationships must negotiate their roles in a much more nuanced manner.

  • Tom Payne

    After hearing the show I realized that the feelings I have been having are rather normal. We have been married for 38 years, and I did ask for a divorce a couple of years ago, after some counseling we decided to stay together. But now I am back to the old feeling that there must be something better. Although I am paralyzed with fear. I am not sure another marriage is the answer, but what if another relationship is bad? I feel like there should be more but after listening I am not sure there is more. Anyway, thank you for a thought provoking program, I wish I could have called in at the time.




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