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"Unmarried siblings pick up the slack," Gerstel says.
A boost in happiness associated with marriage returns to pre-marriage levels over time, found psychology professor Richard Lucas of Michigan State University.
"I had a great job, a good circle of friends, a lot of interests, and I thought I just wasn't going to settle for something in pants."But love at midlife is full of surprises. The 77,702,865 Americans born between 19 came of age in the era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
And while the last two may have lost some appeal over the years, sex and relationships remain front and center as the oldest boomers turn 60 this year.
The study found that singles age 45 show a higher satisfaction rate and have more sex than married couples in the same age group.
However, they are not necessarily practicing what they preach to younger generations, with results showing a low use of protection among sexually active dating singles with only one in five reporting use of condoms regularly.
Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project, says it is important to de-stigmatize singlehood because people don't have to marry to have fulfilling lives.
That's largely because more boomers are single than any previous cohort of forty to sixtysomethings.
According to the Census Bureau, 28.6 percent of adults age 45 to 59 were unattached in 2003, compared with only 18.8 percent in 1980.
Finkel, a social psychology professor interviewed for the “Wall Street Journal” article, “When Romance Is a Click Away.” Many couples who are facing midlife divorce realize that they are about to take a big financial hit, according to the “USA Today” article, “Boomer Divorce: A Costly Retirement Roadblock.” That retirement account you worked on all these years must be split, and you might not have enough time to make up the difference before your target retirement age, which means that you might have to delay retirement or live on less.
Wives who stayed home to raise kids may fear trying a find a job to meet their financial needs.
"Dating was the last thing on my mind." When Barna's longtime partner died last year, she, too, thought her romantic life was over.