Older divorcees reveal: The pre-split advice I wish I'd given myself

Divorcing after decades of marriage or partnership can be particularly difficult. Source: Getty

Divorce is never a walk in the park, but splitting in later life is particularly tricky because your lives are often so very intertwined.

So, Next Avenue, a US online publication, asked divorcees over 50 what advice they’d give to themselves, if they had to go through the same situation again, and some of the admissions the commentators make are surprising.

We’ve briefly summarised them here and are keen to know if you’d offer similar advice or advise something else entirely, given what you’ve learned about getting divorced in your 50s, 50s, 70s and older. Let us know in the comments and we’ll create a new story full of your best pieces of wisdom on surviving divorce after a long marriage.

Here’s the advice from Next Avenue:

Your younger kids may well take the split better than the ones who’re all grown up

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Adult children who still live at home may have had the opportunity to see you growing apart as a couple, whereas those who live further away can be shocked by the split and take a lot more time to come to terms with it. If you can, ease all of your children in to the idea, instead of assuming that those that already have their own families won’t care what you and your partner do.

Check out the job market before deciding to go it on your own

At least one person told Next Avenue that they might’ve worked harder on their relationship if they’d known how difficult it was to get a job in your 50s, particularly if you’ve been out of the workforce for some time. In other words, don’t expect to be living the same lifestyle if you’re intending to be a self-funded single, or even if a partner will be paying some spousal support.

It’s going to hurt more than you think

One commentator noted that although your marriage may not be joyous, you get used to sharing a home, meals and a bed with a person, and you do miss them when they’re not there as you adjust to your new, single life. Get ready for a feeling of emptiness or loneliness, even if you know at the bottom of your heart that you and your partner are better off apart.

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Your friends may dump you, even the ‘good’ ones

Experts told Next Avenue that many older, female divorcees found they were ‘dropped’ by their larger group of friends, without only close girlfriends choosing to hang around to help them adjust to singledom. It can take a while to adjust to this smaller circle before you get the chance to pursue new interests and make new friends.

Divorce can be expensive, really expensive

Even a DIY divorce takes time and effort, and might involve having to seek legal advice, while a contested or conflict-ridden split will require a whole lot more time in the solicitor’s office. Make sure you have a rough idea of what legal fees run to before instituting a split.

It’s going to be liberating, and a bit scary

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Being your own boss, answering to no one, is great – you can do what you want, when and how you want – but it’s also a little overwhelming, because there’s no one to fall back on if things go awry. Don’t expect all of your newly single adventures to be great, but don’t doubt yourself either – you can make it on your own!

Have you gone through separation or divorce in later life? What advice would you give? What do you wish you’d known at the start?

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