The Big Tell: I’m Getting Divorced

Having to tell your family and friends you’re getting Divorced can be a surprisingly difficult part of the process. At a really awful time in your life, when you’re already dealing with all the turmoil and fear and uncertainty, one of the last things you may want is to run into a friend at Starbucks who asks, “So what’s new?”

Author Wendy Paris, writing for Psychology Today’s website, believes that the act of telling others about your split is actually a great opportunity. She explains that marriages exist within communities, and members of those communities can be confused by a Divorce. So the way you break the news helps the community see how you’re viewing it, and lets them know what to expect.

The key to handling it well is, like so many things in life, preparation. Paris suggests developing an “elevator speech,” a term from the business/networking world, which means a quick, organized, presentation — but instead of pitching yourself or your product, you’re describing your Divorce. And she offers some steps  to creating a good one, among them:

  • Define the Divorce. Position your split in a way that gives you more strength, not less. If it’s amicable, say so. If it’s not, say you’re working toward amicability. Avoid, or at least limit, criticisms of your ex. This is about you. Accentuate the positive.
  •  Issue a call to action. Keep in mind that most people will be thinking “How does this affect me?” So, depending on who they are, give them a task. From a good friend, you may ask for support. From an acquaintance, perhaps a set-up when you’re ready to date again. This call to action turns the conversation from “why” to “what’s next.”
  • Always be closing. Be ready to shift topics once you’ve finished saying what you want.

How to Tell Your Spouse It’s Over

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If you’re Di-Curious, have you thought about how you’ll tell your husband or wife you want out, if in fact you decide to Divorce?

And for those who’ve already been through it, how’d you handle the situation, whether you were the giver or receiver of the news? Did that initial statement/conversation get your process off to a reasonable start, or did it dial up the anger and set a negative tone that lasted the entire process? 

Think Positive to Fight Divorce Shame

Did you feel shame about getting Divorced?

Did you blame yourself and/or your ex, wallowing in negativity that builds upon itself, feeling depressed, angry, and resentful?

Or, did you accept that you may have made some bad choices, but you’re a good person, who will move forward with a  positive mindset? 

Casual Sex: Here Are Some Do’s and Don’ts

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Most Divorced Over 50’s report that their sex life during marriage, particularly toward the end of it, was extremely lacking. In fact, several of the interviewees for Gray Divorce Stories acknowledged going years without having any sex as their marriages fell apart.

Then, when DO50’s are first out of their marriage, the focus is just trying to keep their head above water while battling through the Survive Phase — sex may be among the furthest things from their minds. As life gets better, however, and they move into Revive, an interest in sex may come back. The problem, though, is that many people aren’t ready to get into a committed relationship that will lead to sex. So what to do?

How about casual sex?

What’s on Your Post Divorce Bucket List?

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Did you make a Bucket List after your Divorce?

That probably wasn’t a priority during the early, Survive Phase of your process. But as you began (or will begin) to Revive, creating a Bucket List could be an important, and valuable, exercise. Just the act of looking forward to a brighter future, and setting some goals within that future, could help you Thrive sooner. Even if you eventually only check off a few of the goals, you’ll still be so much better off.

To help “prime the pump” (a phrase Donald Trump coined just last week) for creating your list, here are some rundowns from a couple other folks who’ve gone through a Divorce.

Writing for Lifehack.org, Jillian Reese offers what I’d call a “starter list,” including such standards as: go skydiving, get a tattoo, and learn to play the guitar. Not particularly scintillating, but a decent collection to get you thinking.

Adriana Velez, writing on CafeMom, offers a more specific, and more exciting, list of 50 Things To Do When Your Marriage Ends. Kicking it off with “Buy a really good vibrator,” Velez includes: become a handyman,  watch the movie “Heartburn,” and smoke a hookah. She also makes some really solid suggestions that can aid in Divorce recovery, including several that have been offered on this site in other posts. Among the notable:

  • Learn to say yes (to new things)
  • Learn to say no (which will establish limits and help keep you from being overwhelmed)
  • Learn to forgive
  • Date outside your type
  • Get a grip on your finances
  • Meditate

So that’s a total of 70 ideas — some serious, some frivolous — to help you start making your own post divorce bucket list. What’s on yours? Please share in the comments below…

 

Your Divorce Attorney: What to Look For, How to Manage

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For many of us, our Divorce Over 50 is the first time we’ve ever had to deal with an attorney.  Yep, just one more thing about it that really sucks.

So at a terrible time in your life, with all sorts of stress and emotion and pressure, you have to navigate that new, confusing, scary, and expensive world of Divorce lawyers.

How do you even go about trying to find an attorney? The first step is to ask for help. Have any of your friends, family, or co-workers gone through a Divorce? Would they recommend their attorney? Might they recommend the opposing attorney? You might also consider seeking referrals from other professionals you use, like your accountant or insurance agent. They’re often in networking groups with attorneys, and may have a sense of who you should at least interview.

Here’s an article from DivorceNet which addresses interviewing a Divorce lawyer. Asking these questions will  help you get a sense of the attorney’s qualifications, strategy, philosophy, and a projection of the costs you’ll face. In addition to using DivorceNet’s guide as a cheat-sheet for questioning potential attorneys, the site will also help you find qualified lawyers in your area (that’s not an endorsement, just provided informationally).

Then, once you’ve hired an attorney, it’s important to continue monitoring his or her performance to ensure it’s what you want. In this blog post, family law attorney Cheryl Stein says she’s often taken over cases for  clients who had come to distrust their previous lawyer. Many times, these clients felt their attorney was more interested in their relationship with the opposing counsel than with them.

Stein says clients need to insist on transparency with their attorney, meaning open, clear, and honest communications. Clients should be getting regular updates on the progress of their case, and be copied on all written communications.

Over 50 and Radiant

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Jackie Pilossoph is a newspaper columnist and creator of the Divorced Girl Smiling Blog. We’ve linked to her in the past (So Why Did You Get Divorced?), and are happy to do it again with this piece from the Chicago Tribune, “Women Over 50 Have Radiance in Abundance.” 

The heart of her column concerns a letter she got from a 53 year old man whose 23 year marriage had ended in 2010. It’s basically a rave about women who are of a similar age. The writer says the women know what they want in a relationship. They’re dedicated to making the next part of their life amazing. They’re alive, and revel in the freedom of being single. And he suggests these women just get out and enjoy life, as their natural radiance will be more than enough to attract a real man.

Jackie, who gets countless emails from women Over 50 who say how hard it is to meet men, says she felt like doing cartwheels. More importantly, along with Judy Freedman of “A Boomer’s Life After 50, she goes on to elaborate on why being a woman over 50 can be so fabulous. Among the points they make:

  • Wisdom: You’ve learned from your personal and professional experiences. You can look back on what you’ve done, and ahead to what you haven’t.
  • Confidence: You’re comfortable with your inner self. You have a healthy self-esteem. That allows you to be vulnerable; by showing your true self to someone else, you can develop a deeper, more meaningful relationship.
  • Independence: If you like being by yourself, then you’re fine whether there’s a partner in your life or not.

This is very much in line with the Thrive Stage we talk about in our Roadmap Through a Divorce Over 50.

Gray Divorce Stories: The Interview

I did another interview with Silke Schwarzkopf of 2ndAct.tv — this time about Gray Divorce Stories. I hope you’ll take a look. And I encourage you to spend some time at 2ndAct.tv. There’s a lot of important content covering all aspects of being this age, including Health & Wellness, Love & Sex, Fitness & Fashion, and Purpose & Passion.

Part One is here.

Just added, part two of the interview. Click here.

Tips For First Date Conversation

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For many Divorced Over 50’s, the last time they had to make first date conversation was the Reagan Administration.

“I don’t know, I think ‘Big’ was kinda overrated. And come on, Tom Hanks — that guy’s not a movie star.”

If you’re back on the dating circuit, or think you may be at some point in the future, it’s only natural to have some anxiety about what to say to a new person during that initial date. Luckily, Time Magazine has offered up “5 Things Research Says You Should Talk About” on a first date.