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Baby boomers lead new wave of 'gray divorce'

As she and her husband drove home after celebrating their 25th anniversary on the coast, Tracy Bryan realized with a shock that being married to him was not how she wanted to grow old.

"We had grown and changed," said Bryan, now 53, whose divorce from her college sweetheart was final in 2008. "I changed what I wanted out of life."

As baby boomers approach retirement age looking forward to many more long, healthy years of life, the number of couples calling it quits after decades of marriage is on the rise.

Born between 1946 and 1964, boomers already have a divorce rate triple that of their parents. And now they're pioneering a new trend in splitting up: the so-called "gray divorce" phenomenon of couples going their separate ways after 20 or more years together.

Their parents were labeled the "Greatest Generation." Now some experts are calling baby boomers "the greatest divorcing generation."

As AARP California's Christina Clem says, the baby boom remains at the center of a huge cultural shift.

"Older people grew up in a time when they had no choice but to stick together to make it through life," said psychologist Becky Shook, president of Fairway Divorce Solutions' local office. "Baby boomers come from a very independent, 'make my own way in the world' point of view."

Or to put it uncharitably, it's still all about them.

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