Is there life after grey divorce?

Jun 17, 2023
There is so much life left after a grey divorce. Use it wisely. Source: Getty

As shocking as it may sound, the divorce rate of our senior citizens by far surpasses that of all younger age groups across the world. Studies done in the USA show that the rate of grey divorces has doubled since the 1990s. 

Amongst the various reasons for this growing phenomenon is the increasing life expectancy. For people who are 60, it means that there are often still 20, 30, or perhaps even 40+ years left in one’s life, so why waste these last decades in an unhappy marriage? 

But divorcing later in life, particularly after a long marriage comes with its own set of challenges, affecting people physically, emotionally, socially and financially, preventing them from leading a fulfilling life. So it’s understandable that many people may ask themselves; is there life after grey divorce?

Here are some simple ways to create a happy and fulfilled life after your grey divorce,

Processing Emotions

If emotions are not processed correctly, it can have dire consequences negatively affecting one’s health very quickly. If you were not the one who initiated the divorce, you may feel hurt, sadness, disappointment, regret, anger and fear of what may lie ahead. Each of these emotions has the ability to overwhelm you triggering off stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia and numerous other conditions, including depression.

In most divorces, there is always a period of mourning that one must go through before acceptance of the breakup creeps in. There’s no set timeline for that, but try not to delve in the past for too long. The sooner you accept what has happened, the sooner you can start focusing on the immediate practicalities of your new life. 

The most obvious questions going through your mind may be “Where will I live? Will I need to sell my home and move? What can I afford? What can I expect from my divorce? How much will the divorce cost? Who is going to help me get through all this?”

Processing these emotions is no easy feat, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But being aware and preparing well ahead for them, will place you in a better position to deal with them. 

Recovering Financially

Unless you’re in the top 2 per cent of the population, after divorce there can be a certain drop in living standards and you may need to adjust your lifestyle expectations. 

You may already be in retirement without earning capacity, or you’re close to retirement with not much time left to start all over again. After the divorce is finalised, you may end up with half the assets and income you had while married. 

No matter your financial situation, some adjustments will usually need to be made in order to recover financially. A good starting point would be to carry out a financial audit and draw up a budget for your projected new lifestyle. If you’re unable to do that on your own or have someone you can trust to assist you, consider seeking professional legal and financial guidance. They can help you plan your future needs and design a new budget tailor-made to your circumstances  

Focusing On Yourself

For the immediate future, try to focus solely on yourself and your well-being. For the next while put yourself first. While you’re dealing with your upheaval and your new challenges, make time to put some fun and pleasures into your life. Do whatever makes you feel good. 

Staying healthy is crucial. Avoid excessive alcohol, over or under-eating, get enough sleep and whatever exercise you can manage.

Staying Connected

Staying connected to your loved ones, family and friends is also crucial to your wellbeing. Whatever you do, avoid isolating yourself but remain as socially active as you can. One of the upsides of grey divorce can also sometimes lead to rekindling old friendships and often leads to creating new ones. 

Try to go out and meet new people at every chance you get. Try a new hobby, join a local club, and stay socially connected. Volunteering is often a great way to meet new people and be social. Be around people as much as possible.

Feeling Supported

Choose your support network wisely, avoiding anyone negative, while surrounding yourself with family, close friends and people who really love and care for you. 

Knowing that you have reliable people supporting you brings a sense of relief and encouragement to face the future, no matter how daunting that may look.

Looking To The Future

While there’s nothing wrong with grieving about the memories you leave behind, try not to remain stuck in the past for too long and look to the future. Time is too precious to waste. Limit contact with negative people who keep reminding you of the past, no matter how close they may be to you.  You can do without them right now. 

After the divorce is finalised and the dust has settled, start planning how you want to spend the rest of your life. Set up short-term goals that will make you happy and work on them. 

Being alone can be so therapeutic, helping you to put the past behind you and look to the future. There is so much life left after a grey divorce. Use it wisely.

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