Your Wedding Day: Full of happiness
Your wedding day is a happy and joyous occasion celebrated before family and friends as you and your spouse pledge to love and cherish each other for the rest of your lives. The future looks bright as you celebrate your marriage and toast to your future together.
Dark thoughts of divorce are not on your minds that day as you begin your life together as a married couple.
The Harsh Reality of Divorce as a Marriage Breaks Down
The sad truth is that many marriages don’t succeed, and not all couples will live happily ever after. Divorce is a reality for many couples who are unable to navigate the ups and downs and demands of married life, no matter what the circumstances.
The circumstances surrounding a divorce are different and unique to each couple’s relationship and marriage. Whether it is an amicable divorce or a nasty battle between the partners, the result is the same. The marriage is broken and the 2 partners go their separate ways.
My purpose in writing about Life After Divorce for Women Over 50 is to provide some ideas to help you heal and move forward after the breakup of your marriage and to give you reason for hope that life can be good and fulfilling once again.
The Initial Phase and Having the difficult Conversation
Divorce is painful, and divorce is sad. It’s difficult to talk about and it still carries the hint of stigma. It implies failure at the deepest level, and feelings of anger, hurt, betrayal, loss and sadness are common and to be expected.
Life after divorce for women over 50 who have been married for many years and devoted themselves to the relationship with their spouse and raising their children find it an especially difficult transition.
You and your spouse might blame each other for the breakup. You might blame yourself and feel like a failure. You might feel judged by others. You might feel lost and alone.
One of the hardest parts is telling family and friends and dealing with their reactions, which can range from shock, surprise, sadness, and disappointment. Family members, especially adult children, may take sides. Everyone wants to know the details of the breakup. Many offer help and support in the beginning.
Practical Issues and Working out the Details of the Divorce
Before you can begin to heal and move forward in your newly single life, you must work out the practical details of your divorce with your soon to be ex-spouse.
This is possibly the most difficult part of the process, while trying to come to agreement on finances, division of property, including real estate and other assets, spousal support, living arrangements and other issues unique to your situation.
This might involve working with lawyers, financial advisors, and a divorce mediator. In more traditional marriages which are more common for women over 50, there is often a need for some type of spousal support.
If you are still employed you might have a position that does not pay a living wage. If you are retired you may not have enough savings to live comfortably. The result is that both you and your soon to be ex-spouse have to work out the financial arrangements that provide both of you with an acceptable solution, a difficult but necessary part of the final process.
In spite of the hurt and anger that are still churning around in your heart, once the papers are signed and the divorce is final, it is now time to move on and begin your new life after divorce.
Starting a New Life After Divorce for Women Over 50
Anticipate that you will have difficulty adjusting to your new normal: Initially you will feel scared and unsure of how to manage your new life as a single woman in middle or late middle age.
You might have difficulty making decisions. You will feel lonely and sad at times. You might still feel like a failure. You might still feel angry and bitter. All are normal feelings under such circumstances. Things will become easier in time.
Seeking the support of family and friends is helpful during this time of adjustment. Reach out to them when you feel the need.
You’re emotionally fragile, so practice good self care. Focus on you and allow yourself to do the things that promote your well being: Rest, good food, naps, long baths, a good book. Whatever makes you feel more at peace.
Practice forgiveness: Forgive yourself for the ways in which you contributed to the breakdown of your marriage. Forgive your ex-spouse for his/her part in the breakup. Look at your past mistakes and own them. Don’t be the victim and don’t stay bitter.
Forgiveness does not mean excusing past behavior and hurts. Forgiveness means letting go of the bitterness that you hold in your heart that keeps you stuck in your anger and prevents you from moving forward with hope.
Begin to figure out the person you want to become in this painful process and discover a new you!
Accept that some friends will leave you: Yes, the sad truth is that some friends, even close ones, will find your divorce too uncomfortable for them and will walk away.
Not because you did anything wrong, but because they cannot deal with the emotions that your divorce brings up for them. Or because they feel threatened about their own marriages, or perhaps they don’t trust you as a single divorced woman to be around their husbands.
And you will also find that you have less in common with your married friends now that your life circumstances have changed. Your best response is to let them go! even though it is hurtful, because there are new friends out there waiting to meet you!
Find a Therapist or Life Coach to help you see your past clearly and help you create your new life. What do you need to change? What kind of person do you want to be going forward?
Finding the Gifts of Your New Life After Divorce
The freedom to make your own decisions: You are now in charge of your own life, which can feel a little overwhelming at first. You can decide where and how to live and enjoy the freedom to structure the life that is the most satisfying for you.
The possibilities for creating a whole new way of living are numerous: You now have the opportunity to try new things, learn new skills, and discover what excites you and makes you come alive. Seek out new experiences to replace old memories of your marriage. Recognize the GIFT in your ability to start a new life of your own choosing.
Find a new LIFE PURPOSE that fills your days with meaning, something your are passionate about and gives you a reason to greet each day with enthusiasm.
Do you want to travel? Learn a foreign language? Volunteer for a charity? Move to another city or state? Make a whole new set of friends? Start a business? Create Art? Write a book? Become healthier and more active? You can add your own ideas to this list . . . Your life is now in your hands! Take control of it and make the most of it!
Make a list of your goals and begin to turn them into actions. This requires work on your part but is an important part of the process of reclaiming your life, the life you want to create for yourself.
Learn to set boundaries in all your relationships. This means knowing what you will and will not do and what you will and will not accept in the behavior of others. Most women have difficulty setting boundaries because we have been taught to please others and put our wants and needs aside when others place demands on us. So now is the time to learn to say “NO” when you choose to put yourself first. This is an important skill to have in your arsenal and will lead to healthier relationships in all areas of your life.
I firmly believe that every challenge we face during our lifetime offers a “Life Lesson.” That certainly includes the trauma of going through a divorce and coming out of it a more resilient person.
What Lesson did you learn from your divorce experience? It’s up to you to discover that lesson and then apply what you learned in your life. My belief, based on my own experience, is that if we don’t learn the Life Lesson the first time, then it will keep coming back around until we learn it. So take the time to really look for that lesson in your divorce and use it to become the best version of yourself and be thankful for the experience!
If you find yourself struggling with some of the issues you face as a newly divorced woman over 50 I’ll be happy to schedule a phone consultation to discuss the benefits of Life Coaching and how we might work together to assist you in discovering your very best new life!