Dealing with the Pile of Rubble After Midlife Divorce


A divorce, especially a divorce at midlife, is like a huge wrecking ball that comes out of nowhere and leaves you sitting in a pile of rubble that used to be your life.  It’s a huge life-altering disaster.  At least that’s how it feels.  And it is life-altering.  It does not have to be, however, an unrepairable disaster.  What CAN be a disaster is if you refuse to let go of making your ex-husband responsible for the rest of your life.  You absolutely cannot ignore his bad behavior.  You can hold him accountable for his lack of integrity.  You can be angry that he has made such ridiculously bad choices and has hurt, not only you, but your children, your extended family, your friends, not to mention the damage he’s done on other fronts.

But here’s the deal:  He is not responsible for your happiness.  You are.  He is not responsible for how the rest of your life takes shape.  You are.  Forget about making him pay.  Forget about making him understand.  Forget about thinking he will feel badly about what he’s done.  At the beginning of my divorce, I thought I could do all those things, but I couldn’t.  You can’t either.  God will do all that stuff.  God will take care of that.  You can’t.  You have no control over your wasband or the choices he makes.

Here’s a great statement from Richard Carlson in his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff:  “Blaming makes you feel powerless over your own life because your happiness is contingent on the actions and behavior of others, which you can’t control.  So blame him for his bad choices and destructive actions, but stop blaming him for your life.  Your life is your life, and you are responsible for how it turns out.  When you realize that, you’ll be amazed at how truly incredible life can be because you can take actions every day to make it that way.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath.  For it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”  Romans 12:17-19

P.S.  The picture above is a real-life RADiCAL woman from Kansas City!

About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.


  1. Mary krywick October 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    I am divorced after 20 years. I am 52. I had 2 children who I stood with while he ignored them for 2 years. Now he is all happy and bid, bus, buys. I recently took my 16 year Olds phone as discipline for her pour school work, 9 weeks behind. The 14 year old didn’t like having to do the dishes, do this weekend they and leave. Their father was never the parent, he was the playmate and never supported any discipline that was needed whether for lying, pour grades, disrespect to me in front of him. He said he was too tired. Now they are all gone. My heart is dead. I have a nursing license, but since being a homeschooling mom, which now he days I was just lazy, my job interviews have nothing to offer, nothing recent. He divorced me because I want living enough. I went through a complete hysterectomy with 4 years of complications and he will admit openly “yep I abandoned you”, but nothing. I don’t hear God, I certainly don’t see z him. I just want to run. I went to the bus stop to see my 14 year old and my 26 year old contacted her dad and they both told her to get off at another stop and run to his house fat, that I was after her. Then she was so cruel and Hateful. I don’t know where I will go from here. Press into God, all the church family says, but if I can’t even feel him at all, I feel though he has left to. I know the Word Doesn’t day that, and feelings are like the wind. I am frightened and alone. My oldest daughter is Germany, my son thinks because of the divorce I must have done something horrible and my 26 year old girl just wants me to pay for everything, do her laundry, clean up after her. I can’t find a clear path anywhere, and He isn’t showing me. Do please pray that I can find forgiveness and not hate and resentment. Pray I can hear Him. Otherwise, I have no purpose in being here. I want a place to lay my head and cry for a month, but that isn’t possible either. I want to leave this town. I want to leave this way of life. Mary

  2. Patricia A. Devine November 16, 2014 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    What I thought was a good marriage, turned out to be a disaster in the end. My Wasband, age 50, suddenly, out of the blue, announces he does not want to be married anymore. He says he hates that I am retired, even though it was discussed, and he has to work 15 more years! He is bothered by the age difference and says, “I just don’t see you in my future.!” He fears he will be, “Alone.”. I am assuming that means he sees me dead, before his retirement. Nice guy! He is more worried about being alone then my death??? He thinks by divorcing me, and dating this other women, his same age, is somehow justifiable.. Somewhere on this site, the author mentions, or implies, that women should not go after their husbands financially. However, I was a huge financial contributor for most of our 20 years. I can not make the money I use to, I am 62, retired with medical issues. I have no choice, but to make certain, I am not left to poverty, I just don’t deserve it.. Frankly, this was a unilateral decision on his part, and he never let me know he was unhappy, until the day he left. I was under the impression, our marriage was solid, and he would be there until the end..3 months ago, he said..”I will love grandma, until the day I die, ” so he told the grandkids. Guess not….

  3. Ansley November 22, 2014 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    What a great pic, she looks so happy. My friend had a midlife divorce and thought she is rather lonely, she is much happier and more successful now. Her son is more stable and she is selling the marital home to move back to her hometown. He was a drag on her happiness over the years and ultimately, though it was difficult, she is doing better. She is even going back to school. I am really proud of how she is moving forward.

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