Gray Divorce: The Top 7 Worries When Divorcing In Your 50s
Recent studies show that 1 in 4 divorces involve people 50 and over. If you’re considering divorce in your 50s, your concerns are different from people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Below are the top 7 worries for those considering gray divorce…and how to address them.
- Worry: I’ll Die Alone! Reality: if your current spouse predeceases you, you could still die “alone.” And while you might not technically be alone now, remaining in a miserable marriage because you’re afraid to leave later in life can make you feel awfully alone. It just takes one glance through the “Vows” column of the Sunday New York Times Style section to see that many couples meet and re-marry after gray divorce.
- Worry: I’ll Go Broke! Reality: divorce is one of the biggest financial decisions of anyone’s life, and it’s important to seek guidance from attorneys, accountants, and money managers to help you understand how gray divorce will affect your assets. Budgeting properly and adjusting to a simpler lifestyle can keep you from going broke. And the peace of mind you’ll have from getting out of a bad marriage is priceless.
- I’m Too Old To Start Over. Reality: remaining in a toxic relationship is bad for your mental, physical, and emotional health; it can make you old before your time. And here’s a Gray Divorce plus: if your children are over 18, you won’t face the co-parenting struggles that couples do when they divorce earlier in life. The truth is that change is part of life at every age. The people who are the happiest know this and hone the skills necessary to adjust to new circumstances.
- I’m Too Old To Start A New Career. Reality: whether by necessity or desire, plenty of mid-lifers are re-inventing themselves. You may decide to go back to school to make yourself more marketable, or figure out a way to profit by the knowledge and skills you already possess. The wisdom that comes with experience is always valuable. If your identity has come primarily through being a spouse and a parent, having a career will give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
- I’ll Disappoint My Children. Reality: disappointment is part of life, and you can’t control how your kids feel or interpret events. They may be disappointed by your divorce, but they may be more disappointed knowing you stayed trapped in an unhappy marriage. Your job as a parent is not to give your children the illusion of a perfect life; it’s to be a role model for managing adversity and change with dignity.
- I’m Too Old For That Kind Of Stress. Reality: you’re too “old” for the stress of a toxic relationship! Yes, dismantling a marriage is a major stressor, but remaining in a relationship that robs you of your self-esteem, personal growth, and possibly mental and physical health can take years off your life.
- I Don’t Know How To Be By Myself. Reality: you’ll learn. Figure out what scares you about being on your own. Are you afraid of handling your finances for the first time in your adult life? Not sure how to run a household? Feel invisible if you’re if you’re not part of a couple? None of these circumstances will destroy you; in fact, the process of doing something you think you can’t do will empower you.
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