Monday, March 15, 2010

Divorce at 50 Plus


Are you one of a growing number of people who are getting divorced after 50 ? You are in an altogether different category. More than likely your children are old enough to choose who they want to live with, or are living on their own. You may even have grandchildren.

Since your situation is entirely different, you need different help, support and advice. You don't have child support, custody or visitation issues to think about.
The things you are most likely to be concerned with are the following:

*Religious Issues:
If you stayed married until this point in your life, it's possible that religious beliefs have been a part of that decision. If so, you are likely to have some
shame and guilt about divorcing after being married so long. Give yourself a break on that issue. You have nothing to feel ashamed or guilty about.
You gave your marriage the best years of your life; You raised children, you built a life together, you acquired assets together.You did all the right things.

*Starting Over Financially:
Since you have shared expenses with your spouse all these years, you are likely to feel insecure and doubtful about your ability to make it on your own. You have options about that. Consult an attorney to get some idea of how much of a settlement you will get. Then see a financial planner for advice about how to best utilize what your part of the assets will be.

*Social Adjustment:
After many years of marriage, your social contacts are likely to be connected with your former spouse. Or your social contacts may be from a religious organization. In either case, you have no obligation to explain your circumstances to anyone. You can continue going the same as you always have.If someone asks about your divorce, you can decide what or how much you want to share with them.

*Family Members:
Family members from both sides are likely to have comments and questions. Again, you don't owe them explanations if you don't feel comfortable doing so. You can just tell them briefly that you made the decision after careful thought, and felt it was the right thing for you.

Adult Children may feel angry or betrayed, or may take the side of one parent over the other. They may lash out and attempt to blame you. However, it is also a high probability that they understand the problem from seeing the way the marriage functioned. The most important thing is to avoid telling them the details of your choice to divorce. Even though they are young adults, they still want to love both parents.Avoid the temptation of turning them against the other parent, no matter how justified you may feel.

*Developing New Friends and Social Activities:
Find new social outlets such as singles groups or divorce support groups. You might be surprised to learn that there are other people who share your circumstances.

*Developing New Interests:
Investigate taking adult education classes. This is a good way to cultivate new interests and meet new people. This can be a fulfilling activity for you since a big part of your identity has been tied to your spouse. Developing new interests and potentials can raise your self esteem, and anything that can help you feel better about yourself will facilitate your adjustment.

Even though this may be a difficult time for you, it can also be a good time. Consider the Chinese Yin-Yang symbol: it involves both dark and light sides, symbolizing both difficulty and opportunity. This is a time for re-inventing yourself, for developing a new lifestyle. You are a unique human being, and this is your time to shine!

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