Here we go again. We are endlessly fascinated when high profile marriages crash and burn. It offers us opportunities to speculate, criticize, engulf ourselves in smugness, or in humbler moments, recognize the humanity in all of us. But most of all, just like the outrageously popular show, American Idol, it gives us something to talk about and weigh in on.
So, today's flavor of the month is the Gore marriage. Inquiring minds want to know, "How is it possible that college sweethearts who appeared to be such a loving, connected and supportive duo, could actually be calling it quits? We're just dying to know what is really going on behind closed doors. America postulates. "It must be infidelity." Others suggest that accumulated personal stressors have finally taken their toll. Some say the unavoidable pressure of political life and of being in the public eye for so many years has driven a wedge between them. Still others hypothesize that they've just grown apart. Perhaps AT&T should create a text number where we could vote on what we think are the real reasons the couple is headed for divorce. Dialing for divorce, anyone?
Call me unruffled, but I'm not at all surprised by the announcement of the Gore's divorce. It's not that I saw signs of dissatisfaction brewing on television - my only contact with the Gores- it's just that I know the facts. Back in the 80's, when I started my work as the "Divorce Buster," I was acutely aware of the national divorce statistics. Divorce started to skyrocket in the 60's and the 70's. In the 80's, after two decades of rampant divorce and disposable marriages, things finally leveled off. Since then, the National Center for Health Statistic has indicated that the divorce rate, contrary to popular belief, has actually dropped a bit. However, there is one group in which the divorce rate continues to climb, and that's the veteran marrieds - people in long-term marriages. Empty nesters are flying the coop.
There are varied theories about this phenomenon including the thought that couples who have stayed together for the sake of the children can't wait to part ways as soon as the kids leave home. Others assume that many of these couples haven't nurtured their relationships; they've made careers and children their top priorities. When kids leave home and careers lose appeal, there is no glue holding these couples together. They feel estranged from each other, and yearn to have new experiences, meet new partners, and develop new passions. With life's hour glass running out, they shun the obligatory and pursue personal bliss, which often means leaving marriage behind.
No analysis of the reasons for the Gore's pending divorce would be complete without mention of the obvious- that political office and matrimony make strange bedfellows. But the truth is, at the end of the day, Tipper and Al, are just people. And when it comes to successfully navigating the trials and tribulations of marriage and the inevitable conflict that goes with the territory, even winning a Nobel Peace Prize doesn't always do the trick.
Michele Weiner Davis is the creator of the Divorce Busting Centers, learn more on how you can solve marriage problems and stop divorce. Follow me on Twitter @divorcebusting, add my Divorce Busting Facebook Page, and subscribe to the Divorce Busting YouTube Videos for more advice and upcoming marriage saving events.