Goreing their separate ways as empty-nesters
Like them, older couples in the US, well-off economically with new
careers, have shown a tendency to embrace the lonesome empty-nesters’
conflict-ridden frame of mind: there were no known hints of any romantic
alignments by Al and Tipper reported. It is paradoxical why those deemed
to have achieved a lasting legacy in life were still trying to outdo
themselves or leave grander impressions for posterity at the expense of
a union that had given them their place under the sun.
Gore debacle had opened a hornet’s nest as that countered a slight
reduction rate in divorce cases among all age groups, according to a
It had shown that over 90 percent of both women and men were desirous
of creating a shared destiny with a partner.
Indeed, the rise of “financial individualism” meant that neither
women nor men among most age groups feel compelled to stay in a
relationship for purely economic reasons in the 21st Century.
We see the new generation drawn toward equality, and sharing in their
partnerships, with a credo of take me on my worth alone than to settle
for less. The gene “forsaking all, not until death do us part” has
As their lives unfold after marriage, they are likely to seek higher
standards of accomplishment when the demands and needs of children fade.
Many of them may search new rationales for staying together as a
couple. Al Gore had diverted his attention almost full time since 2000
to environmental advocacy winning the Nobel Prize in the process. Tipper
Gore took a different and rewarding path with her skilled professional
photography: she published “Picture This: A Visual Diary,” in 1996 which
she called “a personal photographic representation of life as wife of
the Vice President.”
Their separate paths may have exhausted that bond of
joint-achievement they pursued for a long time being in politics. The
end was so abrupt and shocking because they had recently bought a new
multi-million dollar luxury home in California.
Challenges for older marriages
The surprising news about the break-up brought to surface the new
challenges facing 21st Century families. As people strive to live longer
and fuller lives, a whole host of improbables comes into the marriage
It is imperative that the quest for fuller lifestyles must entail the
fostering of the conditions that will help people create more equal,
satisfying and robust relationships.
Late life divorces generally have lesser impacts on children. However
the question as to who will look after the separated parents rises. Even
if financial hardships were to be mitigated by greater resources at
their disposal, the psychological scars are still formidable.
In the US, many older couples face the harsh reality of spending
years and years together after their children move out. Studies of
widowhood show husbands and wives suffer equally bad once the
partnership ends. This might also be the case of older couples
divorcing, unlike in mid-life divorces, where husbands often move out of
the house and leave the major burden of caring for their young kids to
In late life divorces, however, the issue is who will care for the
divorcing older parent when he or she needs it, and here older women
seemed to have a slight advantage. Invariably older divorced dads may
find that their children are too busy with their families and hence
unable or not so eager to take care of them.
Older divorced mothers in need of care generally may draw upon the
closer relationship they often have developed with their now-adult
children, especially their daughters, as a result of having been the
primary caregiver when they were growing up. The number of men
struggling after being widowed or divorced seemed higher. It is no easy
matter for both spouses. They need all the luck in the world to survive.
Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days are becoming sacrosanct for older couples.
Research on marriage scanty
Studies available are inadequate to assess the exact situation faced
by divorced older couples. Research on the nature of broader economic
and social consequences of long-term marriages going bust is scanty. The
complex range of motivations, emotions and conflicts of those
susceptible to separation needs further probing, according to most
Are older couples less insulated from the adverse effects of broken
marriages even with the availability of more legal and financial
resources than in the past (or do they survive somehow)? Which groups
are affected most? We have no answers. Marriage in the 21st Century may
require a greater sense of nourishment.
According to Hollywood jargon ‘love and marriage often carry too much
baggage.” Does it?
Al and Tipper have parted quietly with no rancour. They were high
school sweethearts and passionately romantic with a stable marriage
amidst scandals and sleazy affairs in the political world they inherited
for decades. How that went sour is hard to fathom.