Divorced And Over 50 – Is It The Worst Thing? The Secret To Redefine Your Image As A Midlife Single
Divorced for less than a year, 56 year old Darlene says, “It’s worse than if Mack had died. At least, if my ex-husband had died, I’d get sympathy from everyone. I wouldn’t feel like I’m to blame for him leaving me, what was wrong with me as a wife that I couldn’t hold on to him or satisfy him. I wouldn’t feel guilty.”
Her best friend Carlotta laughingly adds, “You’d get his life insurance and all the money, not just the less than half you got in the divorce.
“As much as the money is an issue, even worse is that, except for you, most of my friends have disappeared. I’m more alone now than I felt while married to Howard. At least then I had my friends. Now, though, they treat me like I’m contagious – or non-existent.”
When you are older and your marriage breaks up, married friends often slide with one of you or they quickly run away. It is hard to see your long time friends turn their backs. Yet, it’s friends that are most helpful in getting through this period – and in adjusting to your life as a divorced woman. And, at this age, it is hard to make new friends.
Darlene has a job she likes, so she’s luckier than some women who have never worked outside the home. Either way, though, divorce mandates change. And, change at mid-life is challenging. Many women prefer to stay in their comfort zone, living with minimal changes – keeping their lives as before only without the husband. When you have young children, that makes sense, but at this point in your life, it may be the worse thing you can do.
When you are younger and your marriage ends, you have more time to start a new life, to change your life style. Yet, loss after 50 offers opportunities for opening new doors. You have freedom from family responsibility; you can now think about you and what you want. You have freedom to rediscover your lost dreams, dreams you put on hold when you got married and had children. You can now choose friends who suit the single woman you want to become.
There is a secret to redefining your image at this disruptive time in your life. Do you remember the cartoon of the woman clawing to get out of a cage, but never looking behind her to notice the cage has no back? It’s wide open. You are not hindered by a marriage that might have had trouble letting you stretch your wings.
So, here’s the secret: look around you more carefully; find the open back to your cage, take a deep breathe, and step out of your comfort zone. Stepping out is scary, but not stepping out is even more scary.
While it might not feel it, this is the best of times for you now. You have the best of both worlds: you are older and wiser with fewer restrictions. Take a deep breathe and feel your freedom, discover your passions.
Darlene and Carlotta are accurate about the awful parts of being divorced, but these women aren’t ready yet to benefit from the positives of being an older and wiser single woman. Making new friends is hard and does require leaving your comfort zone, branching out to something new. This is also true about work, home, your whole environment.
Once you move past the anger and hurt about your ex, you will see all kinds of options can open up for you. Being over 50 can actually be an exciting adventure for women who are divorced.
If you have questions or comments or want more information, contact me at:
Dr. Karen Gail Lewis
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