Divorce is always a massive life change, but perhaps no more so than for someone who has been married for 30 years or longer. Gray divorce is a growing trend nationwide, as more and more Americans at or near retirement age are choosing to free themselves from a marriage that is not working so they can enjoy their golden years.
But while you (or your spouse) might have good reasons for filing for divorce in your 50s or 60s, it can still be a major shock emotionally. After decades with your spouse, you are now on your own. You must adjust to being self-sufficient and find a way to support yourself financially, even if you have not worked or handled money matters in decades. And you must discover who you are as an unmarried person later in life.
Here are four strategies for adjusting to your gray divorce:
- Accept your emotions. Whether you sought your divorce or not, you will probably experience many strong emotions like sadness, anger and grief as the weeks and months pass. Instead of trying to bury those feelings, let yourself experience them. Talk to your friends, loved ones or a professional to help process your emotions.
- Practice self-care. Remember to take care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep at night, eat healthy food and take time for your favorite hobbies. Caring for your mental health will make the adjustment much easier.
- Create a new routine. Your days will be different now that your ex is no longer around. Establishing a new daily routine is a good way of moving on from that. For example, make sure you set an alarm every morning even if you are not working.
- Lean on your support network. Now is the time for you to turn to your closest friends and loved ones for emotional support. They can listen to you vent, offer advice and help you feel less alone. In addition, consider joining a divorce support group or working with a counselor.
Above all, a fair and reasonable divorce decree is essential to a fulfilling post-gray divorce life. This starts with finding the right divorce attorney to advise and represent you.