Expert Reveals Why Bill And Melinda Gates Calling It Quits Isn't A Surprise

When the news came out that Bill and Melinda Gates were filing for divorce, it sent shock waves through social media and beyond. But after some consideration, did this really come as a huge surprise to anybody? After all, they had been married for 28 years, which is over three times the length of the average marriage (eight years, according to Credit Donkey). As Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, told The List, "[Bill and Melinda Gates] have been married for a long time, and like most divorces, I am sure this didn't come out of thin air."

Trombetti shared with us several theories she has about why Bill and Melinda have finally called it quits after all these years. Not surprisingly, money pressures did not make the list for these mega-billionaires, nor does Trombetti suspect that either of them was having an affair. "I think that will come out if that was the case," she told us, but added, "I doubt it, though, as these things have a way of hitting the media fast." Instead, she revealed that several less tabloid-worthy reasons may be contributing to what seems to be playing out as a fairly low-drama divorce.

Bill and Melinda Gates may have lost their romantic connection

Susan Trombetti told us that Bill and Melinda Gates made a great team, but to her mind, that's not always such a good thing. "Lots of times," she said, "if there is too much business discussed, that's what the relationship turns into: a business relationship." The fact that Bill and Melinda work so well together involves a great degree of respect and mutual appreciation, but not much romance.

Oddly enough, Trombetti also pointed to the couple's friendship as a factor that may eventually have torn them apart. As a matchmaker, she said that she advises people not to marry their best friends, citing it as what she sees in her business as the second "biggest reason for divorce." In her opinion, she noted that two people "need to be lovers first and have that spark" before they can pursue a relationship. 

Bill and Melinda Gates' empty nest may have contributed to divorce

One way in which Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce is a typical one is that both are over the age of 50, putting them into the ever-increasing category of "gray divorcées." According to a 2019 Los Angeles Times article, baby boomers have been divorcing at a rapidly rising rate over the past few decades, and age doesn't seem to be slowing them down one bit. One of the reasons why older couples including Bill and Melinda (even if Melinda, at 56, is technically a Gen X-er) often split up after so many years is down to empty nest syndrome. 

As Susan Trombetti told us, "The kids are grown, and they are suddenly empty nesters with the realization that all that's kept them together was the kids." She noted that a lot of unhappy couples stay together for the sake of the kids, but once those kids are grown and flown, it's time to call in the divorce attorneys. Trombetti told us that she doesn't think this is necessarily such a bad thing, saying, "It's a good time to reassess and move on from your current relationship" — at least, should you have the funds to do so, as Bill and Melinda most certainly do. If your empty nest is less well-feathered, however, the Los Angeles Times noted that your finances are likely to take a hit they won't soon (or ever) recover from.

COVID might have played a part in Bill and Melinda Gates' separation

While Susan Trombetti speculated that Bill and Melinda Gates may just "have grown apart after raising three kids along with running their foundation," and specifically put more of the onus on "workaholic" Bill for possibly "los[ing] sight of his life with [Melinda] and forg[etting] to put in the time and commitment that sustains two people," she revealed that the pandemic may have served to exacerbate these problems. 

"Think of how many couples that suddenly were together and realized their relationship didn't work anymore," she said. "When all the background noise stopped, the traveling for business, and the friends and family retreated to their own pods, what was left?"

It's possible, Trombetti said, that without all of the distractions provided by all of the other people in their lives, when Bill and Melinda were forced to rely on each other alone for companionship, they may have succumbed to the same pressures that tanked many another quarantine relationship. Yet another side effect of the pandemic — as with many other life and death scenarios — was that, as Trombetti puts it, "People tend to reassess their lives and figure out where they want to be." Well, with both Bill and Melinda, they are entering this next phase of their lives with plenty of money and other assets and apparently very little acrimony, so they are well situated to live happily (separately) ever after.