Available on Amazon, GOING UP is a work of fiction, but it’s based on the lessons of my own Divorce Over 50, the research I’ve done for this site, and the many other DO50’s I’ve connected with.
It’s a fun, easy read, following the lives of six divorced people in their fifties, each moving toward their better future, but traveling at different speeds and hitting different pot holes.
Beyond their relationship status, they deal with other pressures we know so well, like hanging onto or starting a new career, caring for elderly parents, getting kids launched, and the health issues we see crop up.
For many people going through a Divorce Over 50, sex is not a pressing issue. Most are just too consumed trying to make it through the first stage of their DO50, survive, to even think about that aspect of their lives. Many have endured sexless periods as their marriages fell apart; a percentage of those even think the “ship has sailed” in regards to their future sexuality.
But here’s the great news: A “Singles in America” report from match.com reports that single women have the best sex of their lives at age 66, while men have their best at 64.
See, there is a brighter future out there, as you truly can thrive, after you make it through survive and revive.
Mature folks have learned that sex appeal isn’t based entirely on physical appearance. When we’re young, we tend to be very self-conscious about what our bodies look like; that wears off over time, allowing more focus on pleasure.
Though there are challenges when we’re older (pain and dryness for women, erectile issues for men), there are work-arounds that make sex just as enjoyable, or maybe even more so. Couples need to communicate more openly; they become more creative as they explore additional, non-penetrative ways to have sex.
Post 50’s no longer hold to rigid sexual expectations and roles. In your 20’s and 30’s, you want a partner to start a family with; that’s not an issue later in life, so the pool of partners expands. Additionally, mature women don’t have to worry about pregnancy, nor kids barging in on them in the bedroom, allowing more relaxation and enjoyment.
Sex has obviously been a popular topic here at Divorced Over 50, with our five most read posts (and 6 out of the top ten) being on that subject.
The overriding goal of Divorced Over 50 is to help everyone move through his or her Divorce and into a brighter future. In order to do that, it’s vital to accept that the Divorce has happened, and use it as a pathway to self discovery, which in turn will lead to that better life.
Boost Your Self Esteem: It’s certainly easy to be down on yourself after a Divorce, especially if it wasn’t your decision. But pushing yourself to adopt a positive attitude about yourself, and your future, can help make it happen. Be pro-active, seeking out new friends and engaging in new activities. Explore sides of yourself that may have gone dormant during your marriage. Rediscover who you are, or hit the reset button and become who you want to be.
Use Divorce as a Lesson in Self-awareness: Ask yourself what you might have done differently. What role did you play in the Divorce? You can’t change what happened, but you can learn from the experience so you’ll do better next time.
Forgive Yourself and Your Ex: Blaming yourself or your ex only holds you back; it keeps you from moving forward. If you were wronged, you don’t have to forget what your ex did, but forgiving means you won’t be hurt by those actions anymore.
Re-explore Your Expectations About Healthy Relationships: Is it obvious now that you married the wrong person, or for the wrong reason? Is it clear now that your expectations about marriage were way off? With the knowledge you’ve gained, you can do so much better if you decide to find a new partner for the next chapter of your life.
A Divorce Over 50 not only impacts the couple, it also affects their adult children. We’ve addressed the Adult Children of Divorce (ACOD) a few times before (for example, here and here), always from the point of the view of the parent. Those takeaways include:
Never assume it’s easy on adult children because they’re older — they may not have “little kid” issues with your Divorce, but it can still cause tremendous disruption for them.
You can set an important example for your children by moving through your DO50 and finding a brighter future. They’ll see that unwanted, unexpected things can happen in life, but it’s possible to overcome them and get to a better place.
Writing for Divorce Magazine, therapist Terry Gaspard offers a piece aimed at those adult children, “8 Ways to Move on From Your Parents’ Grey Divorce.” Though tailored for your kids, it’s well worth reading to better understand what may be going on with them, and to help avoid potential problems. Moreover, I’d encourage you to forward them either this post, or the article itself.
Here’s a summary of the eight points Gaspard makes to the ACOD’s:
Set and maintain healthy boundaries.
Resist playing mediator, parent, or friend.
Express your feelings honestly and calmly.
Share enjoyable experiences with your parents.
Maintain bonds with both extended families.
Face your fear of intimacy and commitment if it exists.
Take your time dating someone.
Respect your grief.
Gaspard does point out a silver lining: ACOD’s may be more careful about their own choice of a spouse, as they understand the fragility of love. Along those same lines, please check our post from August of 2016, “5 Pre-Marital Tips From a Divorced Parent.” If you find it worthy, perhaps you’ll forward it to your kids, as well.
It’s perhaps best known for analyzing the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of the menu items at restaurant chains. For instance, thanks to them we know that the worst dish at Applebee’s is the New England Fish and Chips, with a whopping 1990 calories, 137 grams of fat, and 4540 mg of sodium. Instead, ET,NT recommends the Pepper Crusted Sirloin And Whole Grains, at just 380 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 1850 mg of sodium. Additionally, they provide dieting advice, recipes, workouts, and shopping tips; it’s a great site, packed with tons of valuable information.
And, they also offer several articles on the best, and worst, foods for your sex life.
If there’s any time in your life when self-care is called for, it’s when going through a Divorce. The process can be absolutely overwhelming, with all the turmoil, emotion, and tremendous levels of stress. So what do most people do to keep themselves well and ease the burdens they’re feeling?
Much of the Di-Curious content on this site concerns the future — in other words, if you do decide to get Divorced, here are the pros and cons you’re likely to encounter as you move forward. It’s assumed that the Di-Curious are less than pleased with their marriage, and are now deciding if they’d be happier just accepting the situation and staying in, or enduring the challenges but getting out.
The article suggests that often times people who are unhappy in their marriages treat the symptoms rather than the disease. In other words, because they feel badly about how it’s going, they may pamper themselves with a shopping spree, lash out in a passive-aggressive manner, or simply disconnect from their partner. That might offer temporary solace, but the root problem remains.
So how might you try to cure the “disease?” One suggestion is making a real effort to spend more time together. Sometimes the problem is that a couple simply isn’t together enough to address each other’s needs. Another suggestion is to stop complaining about your marriage to friends, and seek professional help instead. A marriage counselor could help identify the specific issues driving you apart.
But if that’s no help, maybe it is time to recognize that a “fatal” mismatch exists in the relationship. It happens — people change over time, and for us Over 50’s, there’s been plenty of time to head in different directions. If you’ve truly done your best to save your marriage, but it just isn’t going to work out, it may be easier to accept that a Divorce, even with the difficulties it entails, is the better choice.