Divorcees Are Getting Older as Marriage Age Rises

  • By Kwak Chang-yeol

    September 04, 2021 08:18

    Women who are thinking about divorce are getting older as the age of marriage rises. The Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations said that 3,260 women came to the center to ask about divorce last year, and one-third were in their 40s, a quarter in their 50s and 22 percent over 60.

    The picture was quite different 20 years ago, when 37.9 percent of the women seeking advice on divorce were in their 30s, but their proportion has now dropped to around 15 percent.

    Park So-hyun at the center said, "Women usually overlook their dissatisfaction over their husbands during the early phase of marriage, but a crisis occurs 10 years later when their kids grow. Since women are getting married later these days, the crisis year has shifted as well."

    Men seem to be more stoic. Among the 979 men who sought advice on divorce, 43 percent were in their 60s. They accounted for only five percent 20 years ago, but now men live longer and are healthier, so some may be hoping for a second shot at life.

    Lee Woong-jin at matchmaker Sunwoo said, "The average life span is increasing and more and more couples divorce in their twilight years, which has led to increasing confidence among men."

    Many men start thinking about living alone around 20 years after marriage, and as divorce becomes more socially acceptable they increasingly feel they have a chance at a better life without their wife. Few men in their 30s consider divorce for the same reason as women in that age group.

    If women have enough of their husbands it is often because of domestic violence. In the past, most cited irreconcilable personality differences, but domestic violence has spiked in lockdown as couples who hate each other spend all their time cooped up together.

    If men seek divorce, it is more likely because they already moved out or their wife has left them. "As abuse increases, more and more women walk out of their marriage. Social attitudes are changing and women are no longer willing to put up with abuse and opting to live their own lives."

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