Divorce after 30 years of marriage – 7 lessons I learned Most Liked Hot Conversation

Today’s Featured Comment

From CBW

I, too, left a well-established marriage at age 60 after 38 years of marriage, and our divorce finalized 9 days past anniversary 39. ( There is no need to re-hash the reasons or the history, as the original question was about the lessons we’ve learned after being divorced late in life.)

These are some things I have learned:

  1. I have learned to live alone, having never had the experience in any of the previous 60 years.
  2. I have learned what I like to watch on TV because I now control the remote device.
  3. I have learned whom to trust and not to trust when seeking advice, whether financial or buying major items.
  4. I have learned that I don’t have to do all the home maintenance because there are good handymen in my community happy for the work; they get it right usually the first time and they don’t grumble and complain as they do the work.
  5. I have learned that I like making my own decisions without having to consider another’s opinions or asking permission or having to argue with that person before I can proceed.
  6. I have learned I like traveling on my own and doing what I want when I want, whether that is something or nothing at all.
  7. I have learned that I am happier now than anytime in the past because I am in charge of my life.  I am not rich but I am comfortable and can look at this post-divorce house and furnishings and everything else and say, “This I did for me.”

The sixth anniversary of my divorce was August 14.  I went out to dinner and had wine with me, myself and I.  We had a lovely time making plans for the coming year.

[This comment was originally posted in this conversation. ~ Eds.]

What life lessons did divorce teach you?

Divorce After 50: How to Save Yourself and Lose Him
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Posted in family & relationships, other topics, spirituality, VN Featured Comment.

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11 Responses

  1. Generic Image Darcy09 says

    You go girl!!  I have had many marriages, a son out-of-wedlock (as the phrase used to be),   He is 25 in Sept and I am 66 and on my own.  Not much money, however the cats and I are warm dry and fed.  Obvioualy from the number of divorces — I do not follow instruction well/ at all.  The trees don’t whine when they need water, no one cares where the blankets are on the bed, and I do laundry when it is time.
    I was fat, tall, smart, and wore glasses and spent my school years as a hostage in a country school.  I was never chosen first for anything.  My mother had a compliant younger daughter and I was handed off to a neighbour woman.  No wonder I never chose — the men always chose me and I was sooo grateful.  Strange how that old old program ran my life for over 50 years.  I raised my son alone, and he is a fine, hardworking, successful citizen.  I swore I would not raise him as my mother did me.  Too much heart ache and not enough self esteem.

    29 like

    • Diana M. Diana M. says

      Just envisioning your journey and reading of your transformation reminds me that so much is still possible for me!

      6 like

  2. sunsetwriter sunsetwriter says

    Inspiring!!!! You sound so happy, good for you…..

    5 like

  3. Generic Image anonymous2 says

    wow! i am so happy for you! you just gave me courage! i wondered if i was all alone in what i am doing. everyone(except my closest girlfriends) tell me i am nuts to  do it. i am 69, left my husband of 51 years marriage (he is 76 and he is petrified to be alone in old age now)- left him 2 months ago. i love being alone in my apt. i love doing what i want. i now love love love the fabulous time i am having with my new relationship ,found on match.com, of age 54.  he is gorgeous, muscled body, an athlete, we have so much in common, and sooooo good in bed like i never had it before. i am feeling alive and sexy, and confident. i am alone and doing well for the first time in my life ,having married at 18.You showed me i can do this! but i do not want to be alone forever. i want a man someday permanently. you gave me such hope that others are also doing the same!! I will not go back to my husband _( not legally separated yet or divorced)–i see i am not alone. THANK YOU! I WILL DO THIS EVEN IF MY SON IS ANGRY AND THINKS I MUST NEED PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP. THANK YOU FOR SHARING.!!!

    15 like

  4. Generic Image Karen27 says

    Good for you and I hope you continue to enjoy the years of your life.  I just turned 50, and although I’m currently unmarried (divorced years ago) I do have friends who are struggling in their “gray divorce” decision. I know it’s not a simple one, but real change and growth is life often is not.

    I believe in marriage, but marriage, like human nature is undulating.  Often the person we pick as our partner at the age of 25 is not the person who fits into the landscape of our lives at the age of 55.  In an “ideal” marriage, I think it’s essential for people to grow together at more-or-less the same pace, continuing to keep the marriage alive.  More often, or at least what I’ve been witnessing, the long-term couples I know have not really grown together, and in their empty-nest, their differences and what they really want in life, are exposed.

    It takes courage to build a new life separate from the one you’ve always known, but I think the rewards can be well worth it.  Staying in an unfulfilling marriage for the sake of marriage itself can wear away at the soul.

    If you have a good marriage that has stood the test of time and you actually like being with your spouse after 25+ years, consider yourself blessed and continue to be happy with the gift of marriage.  If not, take the time to think about what life on your own would be like, the pros and cons (there are plenty of both) and if you need to, remember, you have more courage that you probably give yourself credit for.

    24 like

  5. Generic Image Darcy09 says

    I often wonder if a “man” is the answer, what is the question.  Please tell me that a man is not the answer, with or without isn’t it me who goes wherever I find myself.

    10 like

    • Generic Image 5427 says

      No a MAN is NOT the answer!!!!  I’m not gay, but other than the sex thing, I love being with my girlfriends.  It’s non-stressful, easy, trips are more fun, eating out usually involves sharing what we like, stuff gets done without arguments.  I get up, I go.  ALL my friends feel the same way married or not….

      10 like

  6. Generic Image 5427 says

    Wow….I just found this site by accident.  CBW…..are you ME?  You said everything I’m thinking!!  I’m married 33 years, sick of arguing over hanging a picture, sick of all of it….he’s not a bad guy, but I want to be left alone.  I want to move to Sedona with my dog, get a motorcycle if I want, clean up only after myself, not have a debate with anyone on where or what to eat.  We were apart for a year, not separated, but doing necessary things and I loved it.  I’m done.  He knows it.  I want to hang with my girlfriends.  Just getting things in order and I’m gone…..outta here….takin’ a hike…..

    15 like

  7. Generic Image Makenna says

    Wow… Such blatant giddiness. Such naive optimism!! Send in the forensic the CPAs who specialize in divorce at our age bc the lawyers are useless, and you are clueless!! I’ve been through two lawyers in six months; my current big shot marital law specialist was president of the bar association of the wealthiest county in my state, and he’s worse than useless, he’s harmful. He allowed my case to collect dust for over three months and then told me to “sell” my home to my husband of 38 years (who’s been stealing, squandering, concealing and diverting our jointly earned marital funds for decades) for half of our less-than ZERO equity. Got that: His advice was to give my husband the biggest dangling carrot I have and get zip in return. I retired from a great job that provided my family with all our healthcare benefits for over 35 years of our 39 year marriage. But my huge auto company declared bankruptcy and killed benefits for its salaried retirees. So for the past four years my husband has shouldered the burden of providing our healthcare benefits (poor baby!). My platform from the moment I filed (after decades of supporting and defending and rescuing this lying, thieving coward) has been to obtain the same benefits I have now. I’ve told both sets of obscenely expensive lawyers that they need to manipulate my case out of divorce and into what our state calls “separate maintenance,” where all ties are cut but we remain legally married and able to take advantage if each other’s benefits. At our age we need our SS, pensions, healthcare, life insurance. My ammo to fuel my fight has been the truths I’ve uncovered over these past months about all the money he’s been stealing from us, the lies he’s told, the assets he’s failed to disclose to the judge, the letters I’ve found that prove how he bought our son and trashed me with false accusations until our only child is firmly entrenched in his camp… But my lawyer has blown my case completely. He missed the discovery deadline. He knows nothing about my case despite the book I prepared for him and all the evidence I gave him. He even sent copies of my subpoenas to my husband’s lawyer before he served them on the banks thereby alerting them to our strategy and giving them the opportunity to build backstories and move money!! And his bills are nutz! Forget suing him for malpractice. You can’t sue a lawyer — and the bar rarely acts to slap any lawyer on the wrist, let alone one that’s a past-president. I really thought I knew what I was doing. I hired the right guy the first time. He was referred to me by another lawyer whom I respect. Then I thought I switched up. Hah!! I have the worst instincts in human history. And no matter what you read, there comes a point in a process when it’s to late to change attorneys, and you worry about the judge’s perception of you as a plaintiff. I’m going to lose everything! I cant even qualify for a decent mortgage bc I’m retired. I have a great credit rating, but that and $5 will buy me a Starbucks!! My husband is a thief!! I have proof up the wazoo but I’ve been told by my useless lawyer that it won’t matter. Why would anything matter if my attorney will neither argue nir confront? My husband’s still working. I’m retired and disabled. I can’t work. But even if I get a little spousal support, that ends when he retires or kicks. We’re old! My husband will probably get the house my entire 401k went into bc I can’t qualify for the mortgage. I will be living in a seedy rental somewhere. In one post someone said she was living in a beautiful house her “husband is paying for.” Where does she live? Cinderella-la-land? And those of you who want another man… I don’t get it. I can hear my mother’s voice as she passed on the advice her mother passed to her: “One’s enough!” Open your eyes!! You want to move to Sedona and ride a motorcycle? Take over the finances for a few years first. I definitely recommend legal separation over divorce. I definitely recommend a CPA who specializes in divorce over a divorce lawyer. Above all, I recommend never loving anyone enough to let them harm you as much as many of us have been harmed. Take it from the Boy Scouts and “Be Prepared” — because women our age who get divorced, get shafted!

    15 like

    • Generic Image Karen27 says

      @Makenna, you bring up the first and most valid point I’ve said to acquaintances and friends over 50 who were in long term marriages before even considering divorce:  MONEY. FINANCES.  It’s a huge spoke in the wheel and to pretend otherwise is foolish.  Also, generally speaking, earning power tends to diminish (again, generally speaking) as we hit our 50′s/60′s + so to divorce and think we can easily (or fairly easily) recoup our losses isn’t reasonable thinking.  

      Honestly, I’ve witnessed both sides of the fence.  Women who were in miserable marriages but tethered because they simply couldn’t afford to leave, didn’t have the means to rent an apt/buy a new home, health insurance, cars, kids, and the list of everything that cost money.  Quite a bit of money.  I’ve also seen women who were fortunate to be in solid places financially i.e. either had their own money, were kinda/sorta guaranteed a comfortable pay out/alimony or splitting of assets.   It’s clearly much easier for those birds to flee the nest to find happiness in their golden years, but ironically, they might stay because they are afraid to be “uncoupled” in a very coupled world.  

      Such a personal decision and it can be so difficult.  I’m an optimist by nature but not a foolish one.  Life’s battered me around like anyone else, and as a single woman for many years, I’m “it” for me, if I can’t let myself go underwater in the financial department and I’ve had many weary years.  But, we soldier on.  Good luck to you and to any woman facing this decision and the pragmatic aspect that goes along with it.

      1 like

  8. Generic Image KatieBratt says

    WOw, McKenna, I am sorry you’re experiencing such a rough time but I don’t think the answer to “naive optimism” is hateful pessimism. 
    Not everyone gets  shafted and there is nothing wrong with following your dreams.  I know many women that found a partner after divorce and live loving and wonderful lives. 
    To each his own, I guess.

    2 like

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