AARP Psychologists On How To Combat The Rising Trend Of Gray Divorce

Research has found positive correlations between being married and enjoying better health and greater longevity—as much as a ten-year extension in lifespan. Unfortunately, the baby boomer generation divorces more than any generation before or since. For many couples, the empty nest is a rude awakening. After years of close cooperation with raising children and juggling family schedules, it can come as a shock when spouses are finally alone together. Do the spouses still know each other as people, not just co-parents? Do they love each other as much as they once did?

AARP LOVE AND MEANING AFTER 50: The 10 Challenges to Great Relationships—and How to Overcome Them (on sale 8/4/20; Hachette Books, Paperback; $16.99; ISBN: tackles the most common challenges of sustaining loving relationships and emotional wellness in your 50s, 60s, and beyond. Authors Julia Mayer and Barry Jacobs, a husband-wife team of psychologists with more than 50 years of combined clinical experience helping individuals and couples, provide professional expertise paired with tried-and-true advice from those who’ve walked this walk before to help couples forge deeper meaning and greater closeness for the decades ahead—together.

Talking Points:

  • The empty nest: Learn how to shift from an intense focus on children and turn more toward your partner
  • Physically caring for your partner: Guidance on how to still feel well cared for and loved – even when you feel you’re giving more than you’re getting
  • Diminished wealth and cutbacks in spending: Ways to agree to live more modestly to stretch limited income and joint savings over longer than expected lifespans
  • Lost communication skills: The secret to a strong relationship for couples over 50 is good communication skills and perspective. Many spouses have lost these abilities through lack of use but they can be re-learned

Julia L. Mayer, PsyD is a clinical psychologist and has been doing individual and couples’ therapy for more than a quarter century in Media, PA. She is the author of the novel, A Fleeting State of Mind (2014) and has a weekly psychology and social justice podcast, Shrinks on Third (

Barry J. Jacobs, PsyD is a clinical psychologist, family therapist, long-time journalist, and the author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers (2006). He has held adjunct faculty positions with the Temple University School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and the Department of Psychology of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Julia and Barry are co-authors of AARP Meditations for Caregivers: Practical, Emotional and Spiritual Support for You and Your Family (2016).

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