No matter what you do, or who you are, getting a divorce after 50 is going to impact you emotionally, financially, socially, and legally. A new life doesn’t just magically appear for you once the old one has been shattered. Recovery and moving on can be a long, slow and painful process. Decades of memories can be a daily tripwire, throwing you off balance. You will run the gamut of emotions, from hurt and anger to resentment and fear. But, if you are emotionally honest, you will recover and move on. Divorce can be a catalyst for change but you have to be willing to do the work to get there.
In working through the conflict, hurt and other negative emotions that come with divorce, you sever what binds you to the past, and create fertile ground in which the seeds for your future can grow.
Set new goals
With the end of your marriage comes the death of any future dreams you and your spouse may have had together. You may have pictured retirement, happy times together with grandchildren etc. The sooner you can create new goals for yourself the better. This is because it’s easier to move forward if you have a destination in mind. Picture clearly what you want for your future and make it as detailed as possible. This can be like a guiding light through the heavy fog. Any small step in the right direction is good. Even if it’s hundreds of tiny steps with a few steps in the wrong direction at times, you will eventually reach your destination.
As you work towards your new goals and creating a happy and fulfilling life for yourself, don’t beat yourself up when you fall short. It’s inevitable that you will make a few mistakes along the way. Even a few steps in the wrong direction can simply make you more determined to get back on track and reach your goals.
Make good decisions
If you have to make any major decisions in the initial phases of your divorce when you’re still traumatized and emotional, it’s best to consult with professionals who can offer sound advice. Involve those who love and support you too. However, you will eventually have to start making some decisions yourself. When you are feeling more stable emotionally, and you have clarity of vision for your future, decision-making becomes easier.
Don’t settle for a ‘lesser’ life
Facing a late-life divorce is a challenge. For me, it left me lying in a heap as my world fell apart. But it has also strengthened me and forced me to grow as a person. I still believe in marriage and that you should try everything in your power to make it work. But, if that is not possible, you do not have to settle for a ‘lesser’ life. Even though divorce results in much stress and rips out the foundations of your former life, in the long run I believe it can be a catalyst for change. You can rise to the challenge and use the circumstances to create a fulfilling life for yourself.
Find strength in your single status
Your new status as a single person usually makes every aspect of life more challenging. But it is possible to carve out a good life for yourself as a single person, even if it takes a while to settle into your new circumstances. You may even find you grow to love being single as you begin to understand more about yourself. Your self-confidence grows stronger as you realize you don’t need someone else to lean on or to be happy.
Your adult children will adjust
Your children, even if they are adults, feel the repercussions of your divorce. However, they do adjust, especially if they see that you are happy. When you co-operate with your ex, they realize that you are still able to work together. They don’t feel that they are caught between the two of you and have to take sides. The happier you are and the less you cling to them for emotional support, the happier they will be.
It’s funny how when one of your deepest fears come to pass, you become more fearless. Perhaps you were terrified of being on your own – now that you are, you realize that you have managed to survive. In a strange way, when the worst happens, you become less afraid of uncertainties and of possible outcomes. You have faced the fire and come through it. You are able to start taking the risks that lead to personal growth.
A new life
You no longer have to deal with infidelity or any of the other issues that brought an end to your marriage. This can be a great relief, giving you more energy and a chance to focus on building a new life for yourself. Of course, there will always be times when your divorce still hurts. But you have passed the point of fighting the change and trying to hold on out of fear of letting go. You have discovered more about the person you want to be and what makes you happy. You are moving forward instead of looking behind you all the time. And what you see ahead may be pretty amazing!