Melinda and Bill Gates were married for 27 years and the couple has three children. Now they are getting a divorce – and some people are surprised. In Germany, too, more and more connections are divorced after many years of marriage.
The average duration of marriage in Germany is currently 14.8 years. Bill and Melinda Gates have almost twice as many years of marriage. But after 27 years they are now announcing that they will get a divorce. Why, many ask. And why now? Bill Gates is 65 and his future ex-wife is 56 years old. Couldn’t they just have stayed together now? After all this years?
Presumably they could, but apparently they didn’t want anymore. They are therefore part of a trend that the figures from Germany also confirm. According to this, most divorces in 2019 were made by couples who had been married to each other for more than 26 years. Experts already speak of “gray divorces” because the partners are gray with each other and then still want to go their separate ways. What many do not know: As each marriage lasts, so does the risk of divorce. This is shown by the figures from the Federal Institute for Population Research.
The reasons for this are conclusive for experts. Above all, the societal view of marriage has changed. It is no longer considered essential to stay married. In addition, the status of “divorced” hardly has any stigmatizing effect, as was still the case in the 1950s to 1970s. In addition, more and more women lived more self-determined during their marriage and were often employed, which significantly reduces the economic risks in the event of a separation.
Empty nest as a risk
Melinda and Bill Gates shouldn’t have any financial worries anyway. According to Forbes magazine, the 65-year-old is said to be worth more than $ 120 billion. He is currently number four on the global list of the super-rich. But money does not save anyone from the changes in life. And these often lead to long-term partnerships finally coming to an end. Just as the birth of children harbors a considerable risk of separation, so is the case when the offspring move out. The three Gates children Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe are of legal age. The youngest daughter Phoebe is in September last year Turned 18.
Once the children are out of the house, many partners realize that they don’t have that much to say to each other anymore. In everyday life with school decisions, sports, meals and family rituals, it went unnoticed that two people lead their lives next to each other, but no longer together. Now these structures fall away, and it becomes apparent what has survived the couple’s parenthood.
In particular, partners who have hardly invested any time in their common ground in the previous years are often left with quite empty hands. Many of these couples then try again very hard for each other. Older people are also getting in touch with couples therapists more and more frequently. However, these efforts are not always successful. Because although they have gone their way together over the past decades, each of the partners has also developed further for themselves. The partner to whom you said yes many years ago is by no means still the same, even if a glance at the family album seems to tell something different.
Just live alone
Studies show that the greater the difference in life satisfaction between the partners, the higher the probability of separation. Anyone who has been involved in everyday family life for years may now want to travel more and meet a partner who is happy that things are finally calmer at home. Then it is difficult for both of them to be satisfied. And these different expectations are not always compatible with one another. Especially because life expectancy is constantly increasing, the prospect of several years of a different life is quite tempting for many.
Because after many years in a partnership, living alone is also a real alternative from the point of view of many who are willing to separate. Then finally get up when it suits you. Finally cook what you like to eat yourself. Especially in long partnerships, people have lived together for decades. Without any blame or a guilty conscience, some people want to take themselves most seriously.
Melinda and Bill Gates are silent about which of the two no longer wanted to continue the marriage. In their joint statement, they simply write: “After careful consideration and a lot of work on our relationship, we have decided to end our marriage.” That sounds like two grown-up people who have made an effort and got to a point where there is more against a relationship than for.
After two people who would like to put an end to it without finding everything bad that they have created and experienced together in the years together. And otherwise no bad word is uttered. The work in the joint foundation is to be continued. So who knows: Maybe after all these years they just couldn’t see each other anymore, the way someone eats his pizza, the same joke or the socks lying around. Sometimes it’s the many, small things that finally put an end to a long relationship.