A recent New York Times article online "The 40-Year Itch", finds that for many going through divorce after 20 to 40 years of marriage often view their circumstances not as a tragedy but rather an opportunity.
In doing research for her recent book, the author interviewed 126 men and 184 women who were divorcing their spouses after 20 years or more of marriage. She found that interviewees used words like 'freedom' when talking about their separation. Others related that they and their partner had simply grown and changed in different ways over the years. Sometimes their differences are as simple as one person wanting to retire while the other wishes to continue working.
Many factors have contributed to the relative ease with which older couples are able to handle divorce. For one, the stigma attached to divorce has faded considerably. Also, couples at that stage of their lives have usually long since had children grow up and move out.