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Let's face it, long time relationships sometimes end.  And the simple truth is there isn't always a compelling reason or reasons why.  The separation of Al and Tipper Gore after 40 years of marriage is a good illustration of the "why" question – why did their love affair end after all these years?

The Gores are now officially separated.  Whether they ultimately end up getting a divorce is anybody's guess, even theirs!  But getting a divorce after 40 years defies the odds – it almost never happens!

So the question of the day is, "Why are Al and Tipper separating?"  The second most important question is, "Did anybody see it coming?"

After studying successfully married couples on six of the world's continents over the past three decades, we have learned a lot about why marriages succeed.  We bet we could have predicted their separation by simply interviewing them on our time-tested interview protocol. And given the rarity of divorce after 40 years of marriage, we believe there is more to this story than meets the eye.

In the end, we would conclude the following regarding why long-term marriages like the Gore's 40-year marriage fail:  

1.  If their long-term marriage was truly a successful marriage (long-term does NOT equal successful!), they would not be separating from each other.  The warning signs had to be there for a long time – perhaps, from the beginning.  But due to a variety of reasons (politics, children, well-known parents, etc.), the signs were probably ignored.  

2.  Over the years, the Gores had increasingly lead two separate lives – he the environmentalist and she the author and photographer.  They no longer shared much "common ground" in their marriage.  Instead of a marriage in which they were defined together, they became a marriage defined by their individual identities.  Sharing common ground is an essential ingredient of a successful marriage.  

3.  We bet the Gores no longer talk about anything and everything.  The best marriages we have studied over the years have no "sacred cows."   Our guess – the Gores left too many important issues un-discussed and un-addressed.  One of the tale-tail signs of a failing relationship is this – the couple finds things to NOT talk about.  

4.  The most successful marriages always report to us that the one they love the most – their spouse – is their best friend.  It is never enough to be in love!  A successful marriage requires being in love and being best friends!   Our guess, Al and Tipper have been in love, but are not best friends.

5.  And finally, Al and Tipper didn't make their relationship with each other come first.  They had too many diversions.  We are not saying that people in love should not maintain their interests and passions, but to do so at the expense of your spouse is to invite disaster in your marriage.  

The problems in Al and Tipper's marriage had to be obvious for a long time.  In the end, any marriage is what it is – for good or for bad.

Heed the tale tail warning signs.

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

**For [Link Removed]  .


Doctors, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Veggie wrote Jun 3, 2010
    • Any relationship ending is sad.

      Good for her!  She’s free to live a life of truth now.

      This guy is a weasel.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 3, 2010
    • @veggie LOL!

      Good article and definitely things to consider in one’s own relationships.

      I am sad tho for my own selfish reasons..... the fairy tale does actually have an endingheartbreak



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Jun 3, 2010
    • Political couples, in my opinion, separate when they no longer have to put up appearances in the public eye. Their political careers have come to and end, they didn’t have a great marriage to begin with and now it’s time to cut the losses and move on separately. Those are just my thoughts.

      I have long predicted that some day when Bill and Hillary are no long engaging in a life of politics they will separate or they will spend the remainder of their lives estranged from one another.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jun 3, 2010
    • Somehow that one wouldn’t surprise or upset me!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Maryann Rhodey wrote Jun 3, 2010
    • It is sad to see a couple that has been married for so long end a marriage.  I feel sad when any marriage ends.  It does appear that they may have stayed together for appearances and for the family.  Now that they no longer need to “put on a happy face” for the crowd, they can live their lives without the scrutiny of the public.  

      Your article gives us something to think about with our own marriages and relationships.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mzd3 wrote Jun 4, 2010
    • I agree with choclatier and greengirl...alot of couples stick together for alot of reasons, then when those reasons end, its time to go ...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Jun 6, 2010
    • Its funny there was an interesting article in the UK about this after the news broke and apparently it's quite prevalent now amongst the older generation and it sited amongst reasons.
      They have grown apart in some many ways including sleeping separately.

      No longer get on  

      Don't have a reason to be together like children having left the home.

      The biggest reason was how they see their retirement plans, so if one partner wants a full and active retirement and the other just to slow right down or one partner spending a lot of time on the golf course for instance and the other partner still at home especially if the wife has done that for years keeping the home fires burning while the husband was out working and being successful ...... that happened to friends of my parents 50 yrs she had been a housewife and wanted to spend retirement going on holidays and being together and he just hit the golf course the same hours as his office hours !

      The final reason was they had married young and had children and as they got older they just realised they had nothing in common other than the children.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Jun 7, 2010
    • Well no one will ever know why, only they do.

      I find it sad!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dana Cappelletti wrote Jun 9, 2010
    • This is the first I am hearing of this.  had no idea, but not super surprised.



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