Divorce Over 50: Women Learning to Grow Beyond Divorce
Life has certainly provided you with many memories, lessons, joys and losses and now there is one more life-altering experience to add – going through a divorce after the age of 50. Your life-plan was probably to reach a point of reaping the benefits of years of hard work; the children would leave the nest and there would be time to relax and focus a bit on yourself and husband. However divorce interrupted those plans and that vision.
I have been a divorce mediator and divorce coach for fourteen years now and I certainly have seen the shift in the ages of the people seeking divorce. For years I heard people share thoughts on how hard it is to divorce with small children. No doubt, it is very difficult to be single parents and for children to have to go through a divorce. However, I have to say there is NO good age to go through a divorce. This isn’t an area where we can compare the battleground and pick a time to divorce that will have the least casualties. Divorce is life changing, very painful and the fears of the unknown are huge and this is true for all ages and stages of life. Now, not every woman experiences the same emotions or fears, but there are recognizable threads amongst almost all.
Terms used to define women going through divorce after 50. Something I think is important to mention here are many of the terms being used to define “going through divorce over 50” so you can choose which term you wish to use in describing your own divorce:
- Mid-life divorce
- Late-life divorce
- Divorce over 50
- Mature divorce
- Gray hair divorce
I personally think they all work well for the most part except for one – “the gray hair divorce.” That one doesn’t sit well – maybe because I have been routinely paying my hairdresser to keep my gray hairs covered since I was 25!
Why would people choose to divorce after so many years of marriage? The perplexing question posed to many scholars, counselors and women (in general) is why do people divorce later in life? They ask, “Hasn’t the couple weathered so many trials in life, and don’t they know one another’s flaws by this point – so why?” The following are some of the most common reasons for mid-life divorces and you may recognize your own:
- Became strangers
- Fell out of love
- Age difference
- Financial strain/issues
- Lack of intimacy
- Empty nest syndrome – nothing in common after kids are gone
- Years of toxicity in the marriage – belittling, anger, hurts
As you read this list you will be reminded you are not alone. Women sometimes internalize that the reasons for their divorce is their fault. You should absolutely take a good, hard look at the role you played in the ending of your marriage, but not curl up and become best friends with guilt, shame and fault. Learn what you can from those choices and learn from them and let go of all the other messages.
Message of encouragement to you my dear sisters. Hold on, have faith and borrow other’s strength until you find yours again. God knows the number of days we have each been assigned between our birth and death certificates. Do not let divorce or your ex-husband rob you of the precious time you have for living and investing in those you love. Your life story has changed and will certainly read differently because of divorce, but it is only the end of that chapter. You are now beginning to author the rest of the story and leave the legacy with your children, grandchildren and people you care about. Put one hand in God’s and take a step forward into your new day that is dawning.
In future blogs I will be writing about these related topics:
- Unique fears and challenges faced by women who experience a late-life divorce
- Some steps for helping women to take to rebuild their life as they start over later in life
- The role faith plays for women when walking through divorce