Going through a divorce is a tough thing at any age, but for people over 60, it can be especially difficult.
Believe it or not, the divorce rate for baby boomers has doubled since the 1990’s. But don’t let this fact be disheartening – it’s actually great news.
It means there are a whole lot of other single people out there too.
Whether or not you’re ready to jump back into the dating pool, there are so many others who understand what you’re going through, who have struggled with the same doubts and fears you’re dealing with now.
You are not alone in this.
Moving on is by no means easy, and it takes work. The next stage of your life doesn’t have to be a depressing or lonely one. In fact, you might find that the challenge of having to redefine yourself helps you learn more about who you really are, deep down.
Divorce after 60 can be a freeing and exhilarating experience.
So, take a look at these six simple pieces of advice that can make a world of difference in your healing process.
Sharing your pain with someone who is close to you may seem obvious, but a lot of people don’t reach out to others when they need help the most. We think, “I don’t want people to worry about me.” Or, “I don’t want to be a burden.”
We try to put on a brave face and stay strong to convince everyone that “We’re fine! Everything is fine!”
But imagine if the situation was reversed. What if it were your sister, your daughter, your co-worker, your loved one who was going through a divorce and needed someone to confide in?
You would want them to come to you.
Apply that same logic to yourself. Talk to the people in your life. Reach out. Be honest and open. Go see a therapist if that’s an option. There is no such thing as talking too much about your feelings.
It can only help you heal.
One helpful step is to try reconnecting with your old self, the person you were before you knew yourself as one half of a set.
In marriage, we become so entangled with another person that we lose a certain part of our identity. This is natural, and nothing to be ashamed of.
But it’s important to remember that you are a unique and wonderful person, independent of your ex.
What are some things you enjoyed in the past that fell by the wayside? Did you once draw, or paint or play an instrument? What about a sport or outdoor activity you loved?
Join a softball league or a community choir. It can seem a little scary at first, but you are bound to meet like-minded people, and connecting with others helps us better connect with ourselves.
Or, if you enjoy spending some quiet time by yourself, going to the movies alone or reading, that’s fabulous too! There may be some past favorite authors you have not read books from for a while, so get back into it and a part of your younger self will re-grow within.
Can’t remember having any hobbies? No problem.
There’s no time like the present.
Depending on where you live, there are a whole array of possible activities to get involved in:
- Go down to your local library and see what kind of programs they offer. Join a book club if they have one.
- Take a cooking or ceramics (or any other) class at your local community college.
- Study a language – there are a ton of language-learning apps available for free. Think about traveling to the place where people speak that language.
- If you’ve never tried it before, keep a journal.
- Join a walking or hiking club.
- Join a gym and take group exercise classes.
- Learn to knit, garden, do karate, speak sign language – anything at all that is of interest to you.
Learning new things creates new connections in our brains, which is exactly what you need at this moment in your life.
You might not be ready to start swiping on Tinder, and that’s more than okay. There’s no reason to force yourself to do anything before you’re ready.
But if you are ready to seek a romantic companionship, dating apps can be a fun and helpful tool.
Times may have changed a lot since the last time you were dating. But don’t freak out. It’s not that bad.
Instead of Tinder (known for being a “hookup” app) try sites like eHarmony, OkCupid, or Bumble. Bumble is an app that wants to give women the power by requiring them to start the conversation.
Even if you’re not ready to start dating AT ALL, you should still use the world wide web to connect with others.
If you’re not on Facebook, join it. Start a Pinterest board. Use Skype to video chat with family or friends across the country.
However you want to get online, just do it. The more connections you have with other people, the more grounded you will feel.
This can be a very personal subject, but something that a lot of people find strength in is their spiritual practice.
Oftentimes in relationships, we make compromises in this area. Our traditions might dissolve little by little over time.
Use this time as an opportunity to reconnect with your higher power, whatever that might be.
If you practice a particular religion, go back to church, temple, etc.
If you are an atheist or agnostic, connect to yourself or your idea of the universe through meditation, gentle yoga or walking in nature.
Whatever spirituality means to you, pay attention to it and work to foster it.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself during this time is practice positive thinking.
Be kind to yourself.
You have enough on your plate. Energy spent criticizing yourself, questioning your worth, worrying about your future – all of it’s wasted. It literally gets you nowhere.
When you catch that negative voice in your head saying bad things about you, notice that you’re doing it. This is a form of mindfulness, a practice that can be restorative, for both your mind and body.
If mindfulness appeals to you, read The Power of Now, by Eckert Tolle. If there’s any book that can help you through this difficult period, it’s that one.
Divorce after 60 doesn’t have to be tragic or bleak.
Sometimes we look back on the things in our lives that seemed the hardest or the scariest at the time and appreciate how much stronger they made us.
This is going to be one of those times.
Figure out who you want to be one year from now and work towards it. You’ve got plenty of opportunities and experiences ahead of you. Get excited for this new chapter of your life.
What scares you the most about divorce at this time of your life? In your opinion, what has the power to pull a woman back to her feet after the end of a marriage? Please share your thoughts and join the conversation below.