After 40+ years together, your partner wants a separation

Feb 01, 2022
Divorce is always hard. Source: Getty

Whether you have been in a long or short-term relationship making the decision to separate is difficult. If you are the one making the decision it may come with a sense of relief, as you have already ‘checked out’ of the relationship and have mentally or physically been making lists and arrangements to move on.

If you are the partner receiving the news of the separation you will go through many feelings such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance but not necessarily in that order.

Your first response could be anger, you may want to lash out both verbally and physically.  These responses are totally unacceptable, what you need to do is take a step back, respond by saying you need to process this and if needed, remove yourself from the situation.

You may not believe what your partner is saying, you are in denial, you may respond by saying what is wrong? What have I done? I don’t believe you, in the morning you will feel better and we can move on as we always have.

You may think bargaining is the answer such as I promise to do whatever you want!

Separation is difficult particularly if it comes out of the left field.  You thought you had a good relationship; the kids have their own lives and you may have grandchildren.  Many thoughts will go through your mind, how do I tell the kids, our extended family and friends, everyone thought you and your partner were an ideal couple!

Once the initial shock is over you will want to know why.  Is there someone else? This may not be the case, it just could be that you now do not have anything in common except the kids and grandchildren.  Your soon to be ex may want to travel or move to a warmer climate but you don’t want to do this.

Many of us baby boomers did meet, marry or enter into relationships at a relatively young age. Your partner may feel it’s now time to live! As we approach our 70s and 80s we find we have ‘lost’ 2 years of our life because of Covid-19, unfortunately, this could become 3 years. You may have had plans to do things or travel but Covid-19 has stopped that.  During Covid-19 we have been home full time with our partners.  Keeping in contact with friends and family has been difficult particularly if you live in different parts of the country. You see your life slipping away but you want to achieve things before you die or are too old to enjoy them!

If you are the person making the decision to separate, this can create guilt, especially if your partner does not accept your decision or pleads you to stay.  Due to the guilt, you are experiencing about leaving the relationship you may feel the need to overcompensate, such as financially.

You will then start thinking about the finances, you don’t want to sell your home but depending on your own situation there is a possibility this will need to happen.

Whatever the issues you may face now or in the future, separate with dignity and compassion. Remember that, particularly if you have children and grandchildren you will be in each other’s lives for the rest of your life.

I can think of nothing worse than putting a person you love in the awkward position of having to say, “Who do we invite to the birthday or wedding celebration mum or dad?” because you parted with animosity.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up