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.
Last post was about female sexuality Over 50; now it’s the guys’ turn. And just as the post regarding women contained information relevant to men, this one should be of interest to the ladies, too.
So let’s start with a few things we know about male sexuality when it comes to us Boomers: Impotence is to be expected, libido diminishes, and sex can actually be dangerous. Right?
No. Wrong! Those are myths, and none of them are true.
This piece from MaleHealthCenter. com says that research shows nearly all men (and the majority of women) retain an interest in sex between the ages of 50 and 80. And that even if response isn’t what it once was, simply recognizing it takes longer to get aroused is often the “cure” for erectile dysfunction. In other words, before seeking a medical solution, try simple communication with your partner, letting her know that you need a lot of foreplay, too.
The article says that great sex is the result of knowing, understanding, and caring for your partner. It offers a few recommendations for creating the solid bond that leads to fulfilling sex, including:
Be generous with your compliments, letting her know how attractive she is
Try alternatives to penetration, as there’s plenty of pleasure to be had other than intercourse
Communicate what you like, and ask her what works for her
Avoid monotony by trying new locations and times of the day
Aimed at males Over 50, our friends at AARP offer “Six Ways to Make Lovemaking Great.” Its main take-away is that men don’t give their partners an orgasm; rather, it’s the man’s role to create the right context that allows the woman to have one (or more). And to help create those comfortable conditions, men should…
Recognize most women require more than intercourse to climax
Treat her entire body as an erogenous zone, not just a few specific areas
Slow down, spending lots of time on the warm-up (which, as mentioned above, is important for men, too)
Mix it up and try something new (also mentioned above)
Be open to including a vibrator in the love-making if the woman wants it
And to close this out, the online dating site Zoosk.com offers “What 50 Year Old Men Want in Bed.” Some of the suggestions aimed at women are similar to previous advise for men (be communicative, be spontaneous, take your time), but a few others haven’t been touched on before.
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?
People going through a Divorce Over 50 have a wide variety of issues to deal with, but among the most important, and trickiest, is their finances.
To get some help on that subject, I sat down with Steven Pompan, a Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley. Full disclosure, Steve’s a long-time friend, and handles my investments. He’s also been Divorced Over 50, and has made tremendous progress in finding his brighter future. Steve specializes in working with people in our demographic, and I’m confident you’ll find value in the interview that follows:
Divorced Over 50: First off, your philosophy regarding relationships sounds very similar to what we say here at Divorced Over 50.
Steve Pompan: Yes. Ideally, everybody should have a happy marriage. We all went into our marriages thinking they would be successful. However, things happen in life and directions change. Everyone deserves happiness. The Divorced Over 50 (DO50) network for both personal and business has helped my progress in adjusting to a new life.
Susan Brown co-wrote a very influential academic paper about Divorce Over 50 entitled “The Gray Divorce Revolution: Rising Divorce among Middle-Aged and Older Adults, 1990-2-10.” You can read it here.
If you’re not into dry, dense documents that include phrases like “The present study also attends to heterogeneity in the divorce experience of today’s middle- aged and older adults by estimating divorce rates across sociodemographic subgroups and examining key correlates of divorce,” maybe you’d like to listen to Dr. Brown in this interview with NPR. (There’s also a transcript of the interview if you’d prefer to read it).
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”?
As parents, we all want to set good examples for our children. If, for instance, they see us treating everyone we encounter with respect, chances are good they’ll do the same. Personally, I’m always gratified when one of my sons orders by asking the waiter if he can “please have the filet mignon,” and then thanks him when it arrives (perhaps not as happy when the bill comes, but whatever…).
I’m sure all of us had hoped to model marriage-lasts-a-lifetime-behavior for our kids, too, but as we know, life doesn’t always work out as we expected. In my case, their mom and I went through a basically mutual, fairly amicable split after 27 years; though it was nice to show them how to have a civilized divorce, that still wasn’t the ideal.
There was, however, a positive to be gained from the negative. I believe going through my divorce gave me insight into why the marriage was what it was, and went where it went. I’ve come to more clearly comprehend the thoughts and choices I made, and the assumptions I held, concerning getting married. And I discovered that some of them were, shall we say, less than correct.