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.
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 splitin 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.
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?
Many visitors to Divorced Over 50 are either Di-Curious, or in the very early stages of their Divorce. If that’s you, it means that final decisions about post-Divorce finances have not been made, so there’s still time to get it right.
And it does contain lots of great advice for surviving and recovering from your Divorce. But my problem is, I don’t believe anyone would believe all 24 of the “Ridiculous Divorce Lies” that form the premise of her piece. In fact, I don’t believe that most people — no matter their marital status — would believe even half of them. And we Over 50’s, with our life experience and worldliness, would likely believe way fewer.
Seriously, at any point in your life would you have believed “All divorces are basically the same”? Or “Everyone going through a divorce goes through the same emotions in the same order”? Or how about “You should start dating right away”?
Not surprisingly, the overwhelming winner for best was “freedom.” And the most common answer for worst was “loneliness.”
I wrote a piece for Huffington Post discussing the loneliness aspect, aimed at the Di-Curious. The premise is that loneliness can be attacked and overcome. And that a Di-Curious person, weighing his or her options, should not be scared off from Divorce due to that specific fear.
For the Divorced Over 50 community, that decision has already been made, whether by you, your ex-spouse, or mutual agreement. Because such a large percentage (including many who wanted the divorce or whose split was mutual) are facing loneliness, it’s important to discuss it on these pages as well.
Back at the end of April, I offered Divorced Over 50 users a quick survey. It asked respondents their gender and how long they’ve been divorced, and then presented two open ended questions: “What are the BEST things about being a divorced person over 50,” and “What are the WORST things about being a divorced person over 50.”
I summarized the responses into an article which started running at Huffington Post on May 4th. The article was aimed at those who are Divorce Curious, or Di-Curious as we call them around here. And its point was to offer additional information to that Di-Curious man or woman, hopefully helping him or her better understand how life may go if they choose divorce, or one is forced on them.
For the users of this site who are already divorced, I thought you might be interested to compare your experiences to the survey results. And for you Di-Curious who missed the article on Huffington, here’s a look at what you may experience if it comes to a Divorce Over 50. (A quick note — the HP article offered readers a chance to take the survey, too, so many additional responses have come in and are reflected in what follows…)
Can you say you love your Divorce? Or that you love the idea of Divorce?
I would not in either case. I’ll go with the philosophy espoused here: Divorce is never the plan, and it’s not ideal, but it can be a positive that allows us to hit the reset button, be the person we want to be, and move forward into a better future. So maybe I’ll admit to having a crush on Divorce.
It hurts to realize your plan for the future won’t come true. It hurts to realize your spouse is not who you thought he or she was (and maybe you aren’t, either). It hurts to leave your family home, and to divide the possessions you shared there.
Much of the pain tends to hit both men and women equally.
There is, however, a divorce aspect that’s unequal: In a gray divorce, with a marriage that lasted two decades or more, when it comes to the friends you shared as a couple, the man is going to get hurt.