broken heart
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This week's news that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver have separated after 25 years of marriage may just be the latest tremor in a far bigger seismic event that's rocking baby boomers' world. Or at least, that's the story line that a lot of news media and blogosphere commentators are pushing these days.

For example, CNN's Amy Wilson notes in this blog post that the Schwarzenegger-Shriver split comes in the wake of another high-profile breakup of a seemingly solid midlife couple, former Vice President and environmental activist-icon Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, and other failed marriages for prominent boomers. Wilson evokes a 2010 Pew Research Center survey that shows that boomers are more inclined than younger adults to bail from a failing relationship. In the poll, 65 percent said that divorce is preferable to staying in an unhappy marriage, compared to 54 percent of younger adults. (Both boomers and younger adults also are much more inclined than over-65 Americans, by a 70 to 50 percent margin, to believe that the main purpose of marriage is happiness, the study showed.)

Wilson derides a generation of "Howzabouta Second Chancers" inclined to recklessly ditch our longtime mates. "There is a national predilection of boomers to demand midlife happiness, even if it means they chuck a good portion of the first part of their sort-of eternally vowed adulthood," she writes.

Boomers' inclination to divorce -- about 35 percent have split from spouses, and boomers make up the majority of divorced Americans -- has been media fodder for a while. But in the wake of the Arnold-Maria cataclysm, expect to see more wrist-wringing TV news stories like this one. We may also be seeing the first rumblings of a pro-divorce backlash, as evidenced by this Huffington Post piece by author Leo Averbach, with the upbeat headline of "Divorce Can Transform You." And in perfect sync to the Zeitgeist, Alicia (Julianna Margulies) seems to finally be moving toward dumping her philandering hubby (portrayed by Chris Noth) in the hit CBS series The Good Wife.