The Baby Boomer divorce rate has doubled in the last decade and January is the month with the most reported divorces. Many people right now are facing the tough divorce question: Where do we go from here?
Divorce can stem from many issues; cheating, financial problems and falling ‘out of’ love are just a few, but when a relationship is driven apart after more than twenty years, how does someone recover and start over again?
A 2004 AARP survey found that 80% of divorcees between the ages of 40 and 79 rank themselves between 6 and 10 on a “Happiness Scale”. Even more promising, 53% rank themselves between 8 and 10, suggesting that post divorce happiness is a very real thing.
Brave men and women all over the world take their first steps as a single person for the first time in over twenty years every day. Some of our readers have shared their journeys with us and are inspired to help other men and women find their independence after divorce.
After over twenty years of marriage, the two most common phrases people used to describe how they felt after their divorce was finalised are ‘free’ and ‘relieved’. Perhaps this is an indication that once we know divorce is coming and have gotten over the initial shock, we want to take those first independent steps into single life.
After years of not having to ‘maintain a standard’, not having to ‘work on someone else’s happiness at the demise of your own’ and not making decisions on the grounds of ‘that is what I want to do’ so many divorcees almost look forward to the first chance to find independence again.
Having said that, the financial and emotional challenges take years to overcome. One of the women who shared her story with was prepared for her divorce, she had resigned from her job, accessed her superannuation fund and started looking for elsewhere to live. Another woman, who had not been able to prepare for divorce, went through over two years of legal battles, suffering financially, and for a long time afterwards too.
Financially, preparing for a divorce can be difficult. If you have a combined pension or superannuation fund, depending on your employment status, age and fund, it is most likely that it will not be a simple 50/50 split. Likewise for assets, so it is best to seek financial and legal assistance at the earliest stage possible. Keeping your relationship with your partner amicable is also critical to making the process run smoothly.
The stories people shared with us about their divorce journey had one thing in common, after the divorce was finalised they moved away to somewhere new. Starting a new life began with a physical sea change for many, and allowed them to delve into new communities, new friends and explore themselves by taking on new jobs, hobbies and activities.
Volunteering is a way which many people told us they made new friends. Using their skills, they joined the help teams at local charities, churches, hospitals and art centres and gave back to the community in return for a new support network.
While some people remain single and live a happy life, some are searching for romance and companionship again. Joining online dating sites, going to singles events and just by getting out in their communities, people have found new love with old friends or entirely new people. So the fun doesn’t stop after a divorce!
Family and friends play a major role in overcoming emotional issues. Surrounding yourself with people that are supporting and nurturing is essential. Sadly, not everyone finds their friends as supportive as they would have hoped. While this is upsetting, many people say they have been thankful that their true friends were revealed and have been happier for it.
The advice from divorcees for anyone going through a divorce was simple: Treat it as an opportunity to start again. Without a doubt, there will be an awful period where life will be difficult and happiness will seem impossible, but take your time, invest yourself in doing things you love and enjoy the chance to be free and enjoy yourself.
Have you been through a divorce and found it a positive change? How did you start again?
This article was posted by our friends at Starts At Sixty, an online community for active adults over 60.