This post comes from our friend Sally Perkins. Ms. Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.
When you said your wedding vows, you imagined you’d stay with your partner forever. You had visions of growing old and gray together, sitting out on the porch in your golden years. But then you got divorced, and those dreams vanished. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, divorce for seniors and nearly-senior citizens, known as “gray divorce”, is on the rise – the divorce rate for married people over 50 has doubled since the ’90s! If you’re going through gray divorce, there are some important things to know so that you can heal from the trauma and get your life back.
You Worry About Your Finances
With your assets being split during divorce, it’s normal to feel set back financially. To put yourself into a better financial situation, you can do the following:
·Continue working. Research from Boston College economists found that women between the ages of 50 and 74 who divorced later in life were likely to have to maintain full-time employment to make ends meet. It does have some benefit, though: staying busy and having a purpose can be a useful distraction after the devastation of divorce.
·Make sure you move your finances into your own bank accounts and close all joint credit cards and loans to prevent you from being liable for debts if your spouse was the one who caused them.
·Letting go of the family home might fill you with dread because of all the memories accumulated there over the years, but it can be a positive financial step to do so. Selling your property can inject money into the divorce process, bills, debts, and savings.
You Could Become Depressed
According to a study by AARP magazine, 29 percent of divorced people between the ages of 40 and 79 report feeling depressed and lonely. Common signs you’re suffering from depression include changes in your eating or sleeping patterns, a lack of energy, and avoidance of social events or previously enjoyed hobbies.
Reaching out to other connections is valuable to help you feel less isolated. In fact, now’s the perfect time to make new friends, such as through your church, volunteer work, or hobbies that you might have neglected during your marriage. It can also be a good idea to make connections online as this was found to reduce depression in seniors by 20 percent. Making online friends on social networks or divorce forums can offer support and boost your social life, especially if your mobility is restricted.
You Might Fear You’ll Never Find Love Again
Divorce can make your golden years feel like they’re losing their shine. You’re not alone in thinking you’ll never find love again. The same AARP study as mentioned above found that 24 percent of divorcees fear never finding someone to live with or marry.
The first step, according to the site Sixty and Me, is to love yourself. It’s normal to feel low on self-confidence after a failed marriage, but enjoy your newfound independence and getting back in tune with yourself and your needs. You have a treasure within you to discover that might’ve got lost during decades of marriage. Now’s the time to explore it.
It’s a big world out there and there are many senior divorcés looking for a second chance at love just like you are. It’s hopeful to know that the AARP study found 32 percent of divorced seniors do remarry. Don’t be discouraged.
Going through divorce in your later years can be highly stressful and negatively impact your life, but it doesn’t have to feel like the end of it. By focusing on the above issues you might face during your “gray” divorce, you can empower yourself to see the silver lining – it’s out there.