Highlights » Lifestyle » Vol. 54

The Gray Divorce: Divorcing after 50

You are in your 50s or 60s. You may be thinking that people your age are not supposed to be getting divorced.

Somehow, you feel stuck in a marriage that feels like it was over years ago. You are thinking to yourself, “Is it still possible to find happiness?” Everyone wants his or her marriage to work. This is where the struggle begins.

I have met many people through the years that are older than 60 who have found happiness within themselves. Over time, they have met the right person to grow older with and remarry again. Don’t ever think that you are too old to be happy and discover all the many things you feel you may have missed.

The very thought of separating, living alone or starting over can be terrifying. Most people will stay together because living alone can be scary. More so for a woman who may have been the caretaker of the home and children.

Feeling that you are stuck in a bad marriage is not just for older couples. It happens to people of all ages. Everyone struggles with the same things. What makes couples in their 50s and 60s different is that they feel they have limited money, time and energy. No matter what age you are, all divorces have one thing in common: They are all different.

This is what many people don’t understand. Divorce happens to individuals – couples – there isn’t a one-size-fits-all divorce.

Older divorcing couples, who may have been married since their 20s, may have grown apart through the years. They raised their children and think to themselves, “Now what? We have nothing in common anymore.” Some couples have been miserable for years. A spouse may have had an affair or an addiction. Some couples are well off and some are not.

Three things to think about:

1. Don’t judge yourself.

2. You are human; a divorce does not have to define you. A divorce is a circumstance that you will get through.

3. Divorce sucks.

There is no other way to describe it. You are going to be sad, angry, lonely and hurt. Everyone feels these emotions at one time or another throughout their divorce. A divorce is sad for anyone at any age. This is the start of the healing process.

Reevaluate your life

Because you are older, you are going to look at your finances. You may have to get a job, simplify your life by downsizing or put your retirement off for now.

Remember, no matter what kind of a divorce you are going through, it’s all about you, and you have the power in how you choose to handle it all.

You can continuously complain about your ex to everyone and be miserable the rest of your life. Or you can choose to heal and make the most out of the whole situation. Learn from your mistakes and better yourself, so you can be happy and stronger and enjoy whatever will come next.

Divorce over 50 can make you reevaluate and become the person you have always wanted to be. Pursue those dreams you were told not to pursue. You are never too old to do it.

Divorce is like a death; you have to mourn it – whether you want to or not. You feel hurt, lonely and angry. You have to feel all these emotions in order to heal and come out on the other side. Don’t mask them by pushing them away or turning to other vices to numb the pain. These feelings do suck. Over time, they do go away. You will forgive your spouse and yourself, and it will help you to move on into a better, happier life.

Take time to reflect on this journey before you jump into another relationship. Don’t fill the void of loneliness by getting into another relationship. Don’t reach for someone else and think he or she will make you happy. Only you can make you happy!

When you feel you are ready to date again, take the time to research dating over 50. It is a whole new world of dating, with everything being online now. Be careful and cautious when meeting new people. Let a friend or family member know where you are going and call or text them to let them know you are safe.

The best advice I ever received through my divorce was: “Your best revenge is to lead a happy life.”

So go and do it!

For more information, visit paulinerobertson.com.

Pauline Robertson is a Worcester native, a certified divorce coach, and author of I Have Worn Both Pairs of Shoes. Find her on Facebook at facebook.com/AuthorLifeCoach.

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