If you’re divorcing after 60, there are specific names for our situation. Silver divorce. Gray divorce. Late-life divorce. Boomer divorce. We are women who have chosen divorce or have had divorce forced on us in our 50s and 60s. Whatever the reasons, after-60 divorce is becoming more common.
There are several reasons for this growing trend of divorce after 60 years of age:
- We are healthier and living longer.
- We are less willing to “settle” and stay in a bad marriage.
- We are more likely to be in second marriages in which divorce happens at a higher rate.
- There is less stigma to ending a marriage.
- Women are more independent and self-sufficient than women in earlier generations.
- It’s more acceptable for men to leave a long marriage for something new.
See also: Divorce After 50
Should I Divorce After 60?
Even though men in long marriages may be dissatisfied with the relationship, women are more likely to actually file for divorce. Sometimes, men are having affairs, abusing drugs or alcohol, or maybe even emotionally or physically abusing us. Sixty-plus men are often hopeful they can have a loving, faithful family and still do things that are destroying that relationship. Viagra is giving them a new lease on life, too.
We should definitely take our time when asking ourselves, “Should I file for divorce if I’m over 60 years old?” Seeing a marriage counselor can sometimes help, but if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already tried that, or your ex gave you no choice. Getting your own counselor is helpful in making this decision.
There are many factors that affect a serious decision to divorce after 60. Your financial situation may be the deciding factor. Women tend to be worse off financially five years after divorce. And since we live longer, we need more of a nest egg to support that longer life span.
If you are thinking about divorce after 60, you have to decide if staying in the marriage is worth what you would be giving up. If you feel like you can’t be the woman you were created to be and stay in the marriage, you should seek trusted advice or get help making the next step – talking with a divorce attorney.
Coping with Divorce After 60
There are several ways women cope with divorce after age 60. Much of it depends on whether we made the choice to divorce, or if our husband simply left the relationship. We are more likely to have intense feelings of loss if our husband simply says “I’m done.”
In many cases of late-life divorce, including mine, he simply would not give up his girlfriend. I decided I couldn’t live in a threesome, so I made the hardest decision of my life and filed myself.
After months of being in my “sobbing and screaming” stage, I finally came to the realization that I was in charge of my future. I saw an unpredictable, scary future before me, but I realized my future was up to me. Surviving divorce after 60, or anytime, is always our choice.
The biggest step forward I made was deciding that I was not going to let this destroy me. I was not going to let one person who didn’t “get” me define my life. He could live his pitiful, selfish life. I decided that I was going to use every day of my one wild, precious after-60 life in the best way possible.
But I’ll admit, it was a day-by-day decision to decide to survive and heal after divorce. It was a moment-by-moment choice to get better after that heartbreaking decision.
Depression After Divorce
After a late life divorce; we are usually thrown into a wild roller-coaster of emotions. We go from wanting him back, to wanting him dead. We have intense levels of emotions we’ve never felt before. Depression. Rage. Fear. Loneliness. Sadness.
These emotions are unbelievably hard to handle, especially when we are exhausted and overwhelmed by the whole devastating ordeal. We actually wonder how we can even survive divorce after 60.
Here are some things you can do to deal with the depression during and after divorce after 60:
- See your physician, and tell him or her what’s going on.
- Stay active. It’s vital to warding off depression.
- Do the grief work you need to do.
- Simplify your life for now.
- Revisit your own life goals and dreams.
- Be around safe people who help you move forward.
- Get help. Find a program that supports you and gives you a plan.
- Realize that choices today create your life tomorrow.
Picture a little tiny boat with you alone in it on a huge, endless ocean. That’s how most 60+ women going through divorce feel.
I had never felt the gut-wrenching loneliness I felt after divorce. I tried staying upbeat. I put on a good face, but deep down I wondered if I would ever get over my divorce.
It’s not just that you’re alone, but that no one realizes how hard this late life divorce journey is. Friends and family just want us to feel better, but they don’t understand how our heart is hurting. The dread of starting over after divorce at 60 is overwhelming. (Learn how to talk to a friend going through divorce).
Divorce after 60 usually means we are experiencing lots of other losses, too. Children have busy lives of their own. Our parents are either gone or needing more help. Friends are busy. Our body is changing. The world is flying forward, and we often feel left behind.
Feeling Inadequate or Unattractive
Especially if our husband found a new, younger woman, we lose our confidence. We feel like we’re not enough. Our ex-husband feels like his life has taken a big step forward. That reality is devastating. We’ve been traded in for a newer, shinier, faster, sexier new model. We may be 63. The new woman may be 36.
All those things made me doubt myself. I felt old and ugly and fat.
To pull myself out of that pit, I made sure I got dressed every morning. Even though you may want to stay in your sweats all day, don’t do it! Dress up to feel up!
Our emotions follow our actions. The simple acts of putting a smile on your face and standing up straight make a difference. Walk with power. Those small actions get the endorphins moving around, giving you more enthusiasm and optimism. The phrase, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” has a scientific basis.
When you are facing divorce after 60, as soon as you can, get help! One of the first things I did was meet with the guy who had done our taxes for years.
You must face your financial issues head on. Find out exactly where you stand. What you have (or will have) coming in and what your expenses will be. Regardless of how much or how little you have, knowing where you stand is empowering. It gives you a place to start.
If you’re facing divorce after sixty. Get professional help to navigate the complicated world of Social Security and retirement. Finding a part-time job can help make ends meet, and it’s good for you socially and emotionally. You get back into the world of the living where you can contribute and be a productive part of society.
Get the word around that you’re looking for a job. Volunteer at an organization you care about. One of the women we helped hadn’t had a job in 25 years. She was unprepared to get back into the working world, so she volunteered in the neonatal ward of the local hospital.
She loved it, and someone noticed her dedication and recommended her for a part-time paying job in the hospital. That led to some training so she could take another job up the pay scale.
Another woman’s employer sent her back to school so she could qualify for a higher-paying job. Do something. Even if it’s scary, start somewhere.
Divorce after 60 often means a change in our living arrangements. Almost all women must move to a smaller, less expensive space.
I went from a big house to a much, much smaller house after my divorce. That helped me take strides forward in my new after-divorce life. I went to sales and thrift shops, and made the house warm and welcoming. Best of all, I could afford it!
As Colin Powell said, “Home is where you are.” Friends and family will enjoy being there – or not – by how you feel about it and how they feel when they are there. Wherever you end up, whether it’s a little apartment, a retirement village or a small house, you get to choose how to deal with that new part of your life. You can choose to make it wonderful!
Recovery & Transformation
Starting over after divorce at 60, is a huge adjustment, regardless of how it happens. The fact is: You can make your future as wonderful or as miserable as you want.
You need to make the choice every day to get better. Sometimes you have to make that choice several times a day.
Getting help making those good choices every day makes all the difference in the world. Find other women on this same road. Find resources and tools to keep you moving forward. You have to do the work, but don’t try to go through this alone.
What you want after the dust of your divorce settles is a beautifully transformed life – a life where you can’t wait to get up every morning!
You have the chance to make your after-60 life into a more beautiful, adventurous, fun life than you ever expected. It’s happening to me. It’s happened to many women I’ve helped. It can happen for you.
Dating After Divorce at 60
After divorce, many women feel like they have to hurry up and find someone else. My advice is that before you even think about dating again, you need to grieve and heal and then get strong and confident again yourself. I can’t emphasize this enough!
Many second or third marriages fail because people are lonely and want someone else to make them feel worthy again. You are worthy already! I know the loneliness is worse than awful! I’ve spent those sleepless nights and agonizing days. But getting comfortable with your new single self is so, so, so important before you start dating after 60.
Use this time to re-discover your best self and what you really want. When you are moving to your new, transformed life is when you are most likely to find someone who appreciates your confident happy self no matter what your age!
Remember, your life after your divorce, yes, even divorce after 60, can be good again. Not just sort-of good. It can be a life better than you ever expected! Make it happen!
I am facing a lot of what you all have been talking about, Not to be a smart ass cause I know this is real and will be awful to deal with. But why don’t woman our age (63) rent houses together 2 or 3 of us share expenses? Of course, only women who can support themselves and have a life so to speak. For me moving wouldn’t be a problem I don’t have to work my kids are all grown. I have a golden retriever I love and will not give up. What I am saying is there has to be people with our troubles in every state, why can’t we get together and help each other. I know easier said than done. I wish all of you the best of everything and stay strong cause that’s all we got!
I am miserably unhappy in my 2nd marriage of 11 years. I had to give up my career when we married, and stupidly put all my $$ in a joint account which was gone within months. I stayed the first 8 years out of Christian guilt and obligation to commitment. I haven’t worked in over 5 years, soI have no money. ,He moved us far away from any remaining family and friends, so I am isolated. Here in rural SW Missouri. While I have one small utility in my name, everything else is in his name only. The depression has led to weight gain of 30 lbs.
At 60 and 2 years into the COVID-caused inflation, I feel there are no options for me. It’s just stay or die at this point.
My Husband after nearly 35 years of marriage decided (planned out to the t) that two days after Christmas to inform me he filed for a divorce, we had a very comfortable life and I always felt secure about our so called golden years.. he cut me off from all income and said I could have the house, he quit/sold the lawn and landscaping business that I helped him build and worked hard at he never wanted my name on or wanted me to show a paycheck from it because he said it would be more taxes involved, then in 2010 I was diagnosed with a stage three cancer, I was given bleak odds of surviving for two years. So I fought hard and after Chemo that was shutting down my organs and surgery after surgey, I survived but not without serious side effects and damaged organs all which left me totally drained and right arm pretty much useless. Scans and blood work ever six months which cause what I call scanxiety.. so here I am 64, stage three cancer, no income, will be losing my insurance, my car, my home and the comfortable safe life I knew. I cannot collect disability or any type of social security due to not working (which I did in our business) and having credits to show. I am scared, lost, hurt, angry all the emotions that I know can cause my immune system to be compromised even more and opening the door for cancer to come back.. I don’t know where to turn or what to do. I have a lawyer which took me on .. but doesn’t sound to optimistic about what I can do to survive.
Hi, so sad to see others in my position , but makes me feel less isolated. It was my decision to leave after 30 years and I still think I made the right decision. But the loneliness even with a full time job , 3 grown up children and my dog and cat
I am just wondering how the ladies who have survived divorce and gone on to date, indulge in relationships, physically, feel about themselves. I have been on my own for four years now, aged 60 plus, interested in dating but have this major mental block of feeling ‘cheap’ if I go into a date or relationship physically . Is this because of the mental verbal abuse I experienced, does anyone else have this problem
“#7. Get help. Find a program that supports you and gives you a plan.”
I wish you had included some links, or at least some examples of what to type into the search engine. I live in a rural area and have been a housewife since 1988. We are not well off financially. After he buys me out of half of our home, I will have 50k to my name. No job, no friends, no where to go, no idea how to stand on my own two feet. I’m seriously considering suicide. I don’t expect any replies since no one else has got one one.
Hello, I decided to file for divorce after 30 years of marriage. I am very scared of the uncertainty but I’d rather face the uncertainty than live in a marriage that makes me feel alone, unloved, disrespected, etc.
Hello, makes me sad to read some of these and to see how desperate some people are. One of them refers to the husband not giving any money & just giving them the house but marital funds are 50-50 in a divorce if you’ve been married over 10 years. That should not have happened. As far as Social Security goes if you have not worked you can get half of what your husband would get if he’s retirement age and you are retirement age even if he’s not collecting his yet. There are answers out there, you need to Google what the laws are in your state as far as marital funds go. I am 66 and walked away two years ago. I thought I would never be able to smile again, it was everything I did not want to do but it was so unhappy there was no way to stay. I am so much better now, living by myself for the first time in 30 years was extremely difficult, they were a lot of things to have to overcome and I did not think I’d ever be able to do it. But with the help of friends and family who carried me through and talking to a therapist, I feel very happy and peaceful. I pray that anyone going through this can get to this point toO..If I can anyone can.. Be kind to yourself how much is extremely difficult and you will get through it
how, how, and how can i possibly leave this loveless marriage?? I screwed myself by working pt so I can raise my children. now im 60 and on ssdi of only 900. a month. he is on SS. we don’t even talk anymore or do anything together. i want out so bad but i and dependent on him for support. i wont give up my 2 dogs either. they are all i have!!
This was so good!