There has been a lot of speculation as to why Al and Tipper Gore called it quits. There were whispers by those who love scandal that it was cheating, but those were quickly hushed. Family friend Sally Quinn told CBS News that the couple simply never recovered from losing the 2000 election, thus blaming one more problem on George Bush. Perhaps they caught empty-nest syndrome after the kids moved out? Most likely, as they grew older, they simply grew apart, which isn’t so uncommon.
Divorce attorneys and relationship counselors around the country have been seeing more “late-stage” divorces among Baby Boomers. The factors have nothing to do with not having the kids around to create a common purpose. Instead, this phenomenon has been attributed to:
1) Longer life spans. In 1955, life expectancy was around 70. Now, a man can live to around 83, while a women can live until 85.
2) The couple has different generational expectations about marriage, and feelings about divorce, personal fulfillment and happiness, divorce and marriage.
“It’s the whole phenomenon of living longer, of having sex longer, of being healthier, often times of being wealthier and feeling that they can easily pursue a no-fault divorce,” divorce lawyer John Mayoue of Atlanta tells USA Today. “I think we’re seeing persons in long marriages questioning whether in fact there’s a better life out there. Baby Boomers are part of the ‘Me Generation’ — what’s better for ‘me.’ I think we’re going to see more late-stage divorce in this country.”
I find this frightening because the opposite would seem true. You would think that after so many years together, you would feel so comfortable that life without each other would seem impossible. The 30-40 year itch puts the 7 year one to shame. If Baby Boomers are the Me Generation, can you imagine the divorce rate for today’s children who grow up in a Facebook/YouTube world that revolves solely around themselves?
The Gores said in an email to friends that they “grew apart.” Psychiatrist Dennis Lin of the Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan weighs in that this may have to do with the fact that since Al is no longer trying for President, “They’re no longer invested in a singular life like they were before. Their relationship was probably having troubles over time, and they were less and less invested in each other and less invested in making this relationship work. They have their separate lives and they were both relatively happy being without the other person.”
The split seems mutual and on good terms. If it’s what they both wanted, then good for them.