Coping With Divorce After 50
I’ve never really liked the sound of that phrase…”coping with divorce”… like it’s some new disease that I’ll never get rid of or something. Right off the bat I want to recognize, divorce sucks and it’s probably going to be painful for longer than you want. When I divorced in my fifties it took me longer than I care to admit to get through it. But I want to be the first to tell you, even a divorce after 50, can be just the upheaval you need to create an amazing next act in your life.
Yes, there are definitely some unique challenges as your start to get into this age range and there are key areas you’re gonna have to cope with.
Here are some of the major thoughts that ran through my head as I dealt with my divorce in my fifties.
- “What kind of life is there for me now? I’m already fifty years old!”
- “Who will want to be with me?”
- “How am I going to survive financially?”
- “This wasn’t supposed to happen to us…what happened to the perfect marriage I had dreamed of?”
On top of that, you have to deal with all the normal things that happen to all women in their fifties.
So where to start – coping with divorce after 50 usually means simply surviving at first.
You have to deal with the difficult grief period that many people don’t even recognize as “real” grief. Early on it’s a victory if you can survive from morning ‘til night without falling apart completely.
Depression And Divorce After 50
Depression usually shows up somewhere on this trip regardless of how the divorce happens. I had never taken an antidepressant in my life until my divorce when I was 53. I took one pill prescribed by my physician, and I became so physically sick that I thought to myself, “If I don’t pull myself together, he might make me take another one of those pills, and I might die!” I never took another one.
So what can you do? How do you navigate the sadness and devastation caused by this divorce.
Your first job is to take care of yourself. You must do the basics of simple self-care.
Try to get enough sleep (hard, almost impossible I know!) – My best advice, move to step 2!
Exercise! Yes even 50 year olds need to exercise. I rode my bicycle like crazy when I got divorced. I would get way out into rural areas and scream and cry as I rode. Find anything you can do to get your heart rate up and keep it up. This single handedly can improve your depression.
Eat something healthy – I personally couldn’t stomach a big meal early on, and found the best thing for me was to graze on healthy snacks all day long. A handful of nuts here, an apple there, a slice of cheese, a can of soup, or fiber-rich, high protein cereal.
Drink plenty of clear, healthy liquids. I found myself drinking a lot of fruit juices, but would dilute them by at least half with water to cut down on the sugar.
Also, make sure you’re getting out in the sun a bit every day, and doing something that gets your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes, too.
Finally, GET HELP! Do not isolate yourself even though all you want to do, early on, is get in bed and cover your head until the pain stops. We can connect you with women from all over the country and internationally who know how you’re feeling and are feeling those same things too.
Surviving Divorce After 50: Feeling Alone
Loneliness is another big issue in divorce after 50. Many women in their fifties went to college, got married early, had children, and then just when things ease up a bit at home, our husband leaves. It was the first time I had actually ever lived alone after my husband left, and soon after, our last child left for college.
After 50, divorce makes us wonder where we fit in, and if surviving divorce after 50 is possible. Often our friends don’t want to take sides. They don’t want to interfere. We become “complicated.” We are the fifth wheel in groups of couples. And no one really gets how hard this is after most of our adult life, we were part of a couple.
That’s why one of the first things I recommend you do is connect with other women on this road. Once I found a group of women I could talk to, women who were going through the same thing…which again was much farther into the divorce than I care to admit… but once I did that I felt my recovery make turn in the right direction.
I wasn’t the only one out there. Women in their fifties and lots of them were doing things they had only dreamed of doing in their marriages. I finally felt a bit of hope!