If this is your first one since your Divorce Over 50, chances are good you’re at least somewhat anxious about it. Your world has changed — what used to be the most wonderful time of the year could be anything but. There may be Holiday traditions you’ve practiced for three decades… but won’t be doing this year. It’s easy, as a newly Divorced person, to dread the upcoming Holiday Season.
But, with a little preparation, and by getting ahead of the situation, you should be able to not only survive the Holidays, but also find plenty of joy during them.
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.
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?
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.
Some couples go through a Divorce Over 50 and are able to stay quite amicable. Occasionally you even hear about a couple that gets along beautifully after their Divorce, functioning better as friends than they did as spouses.
Others, however, want nothing to do with their ex once the Divorce is final, preferring to never set eyes upon him or her again. That might be possible if the couple never had children, but once kids are involved, the see-no-ex approach becomes almost impossible. Events such as a graduation, wedding, or the birth of a grandchild mean the formerly married partners will be thrown together, no matter how much one or both don’t want it.
And if one or both spouses still have anger, bitterness, or other negative feelings toward the other, it’s going to be an uncomfortable situation. The question becomes, will it be uncomfortable for just the parents, or will it affect the child as well?
I have believed, and written, that it’s best to be honest when putting together your online dating profile.
My thinking has been, if your primary online photo is ten years old, all you’re going to do is disappoint your date when you meet in person. Same thing if you’ve exaggerated or under-reported your height or weight. My belief has been that there’s no recovering from that initial deception.
Returning to work after a long absence, or resuming dating after not doing it for twenty-five years?
In a really nifty blog post, “Divorcierge” Karen Bigman takes the lessons she learned when returning to work after being a stay-at-home mom, and applies them to getting back into the dating game when her 25 year marriage ended.
If you’re typical of most Divorced Over 50’s, your ex-spouse was in your life for twenty years, thirty years, or maybe even more.
A chunk of those years may not have been particularly happy. You may have really wanted your Divorce, and are glad to be out. Still, you don’t just instantly “get over” your spouse, someone you once loved and who’s played such a large role in your life for multiple decades.
On the other side, there are plenty of DO50’s who wanted to stay in their marriage. They’re not happy about their Divorce, feeling left behind. For them, moving on from their ex can be more painful and difficult.
And then there are all of those situations in between the two extremes.
Getting over your ex is a vital part of the Revive Stage as you move through your Divorce Over 50.
The conventional wisdom says that when it comes to sex, men respond to visual stimulation, while women need an emotional connection.
Guys are shallow, they want it all the time — give ’em one flash of cleavage and boom, they’re ready to go! On the other hand, women are deeper; they insist on feeling connected, embraced, even loved before they can respond sexually.
You’ve heard stuff like that, right? The woman doesn’t want it, so it’s up to the man to seduce her.
Maybe you experienced that when dating back in your twenties. Perhaps it was even true during your marriage.
But how about now, as a Divorced Over 50? In our situation, does that old way of thinking hold up?