Despite the progress women continue to make in society, we still struggle with the stigma of divorce after 50. Although ending a decades-long marriage is no picnic, it can also be an empowering experience. The unexpected discoveries we make about ourselves after divorce can make us excited about this new chapter in our lives. So here are three ways that divorce after a certain age is actually empowering.
It allows you to tap into your inner strength
Divorce in midlife is not easy or fun, but we do not give ourselves the credit we deserve for navigating the process. Sure, we may have panicked. We may have spent sleepless nights thinking, “I built my life around this marriage and I have done everything for this partner. What on earth am I supposed to do without him? Where will I go?”
But guess what happens during the divorce? We figure things out. We don’t run to our partners, telling them “I have no idea what to do! Please come back to me!” Instead, we start exploring our options. We start consulting divorce professionals who help us navigate the murky waters of a split. When faced with financial strife, we budget, save money, cut back, and adapt to our new circumstances.
And then something extraordinary happens. Before we even know it—we are taking care of ourselves, figuring out how to get our happiness back and reclaim our lives.
Also read: 7 Great things I learned from my divorce
It helps you realize that being single doesn´t equate being lonely
One of the reasons many of us choose to stay in an unhappy and unhealthy marriage is fear of being single, or alone. We tell ourselves that being with a partner, even if the love and respect we deserve is long gone, is better than being with no partner at all.
However, as the divorce progresses, we may notice a shift. Our home is more peaceful. Everything is where we left it. We don´t have to clean up after someone we resent. We can read a good book on the couch and not have to worry about the TV blaring a sports game we never cared about. We discover a newfound freedom to come and go as we please. We have the ability to set our own schedule and run our homes and lives as we wish.
The ability to sit by ourselves, go places and explore the things that we want to do sets in. That replaces the fear and panic of being alone.
It uncovers a whole new YOU
It’s no secret—divorcing after a decades-long marriage is difficult and heartbreaking. For years we defined ourselves as wives, mothers, partners, and always as part of a unit. From an early age, we may have been taught that there was no greater goal for a woman to obtain, and so we dutifully carried out that role.
But then, after the split, searching for solace, we reached out to others. In an effort to avoid feeling lonely, we joined a book club or support group. Maybe we started to spend more time with friends and family. Perhaps we pursued interests and hobbies that we felt we never could in our marriage. We may have returned to the work force.
At first these things seemed scary because we were not used to them. But gradually, as we started to enjoy these new pursuits, we discovered that they were a doorway to a whole new world for us—one where we could start defining ourselves as businesswomen, fierce gardeners, amazing friend, world traveler. We acquired new, richer, self-identities that in an earlier life we never thought possible.
Isn’t it interesting how a major life change—something we didn’t think we could ever survive, let alone prosper through—can mold us into the heroines we always admired? Discovering these great things about ourselves—realizing our strength, embracing our independence, and falling in love with our new identities—are not priceless treasures from divorce, but also some of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves.