Life after Divorce

Parent Q&A

  • Divorced for 3 years, missing something ...

    (7 replies)

    Divorced 3 years, stable financially and emotionally after a very challenging time. Great children, friends, nice house, good job... but... something is missing, there is an emptiness, like blanks... Reading, cleaning the house, shopping,  all helps but at the end of the day the void is still there. I am thinking taking a class, maybe some kind of dance, but maybe what I am missing is something more spiritual. Is being un-coupled the issue? What is your experience, what did you find?

    There is evidence that happiness dips in middle age and then improves as you move into your 50s and 60s. The theory is called the u shaped happiness. There is a book on it which is worth reading as it may be what you are going through. 

    Whether you're coupled or not,  you need to have a social life.  If you don't have many friend or friends who are single like you,  look into something called Meet Up.  It's NOT a dating service.  It's a way to meet people in your area.  They plan trips, card games, and a  whole variety of activities.  You can opt in or out of any activity.  My sister did this when she got divorced and found a group of women to hang out with.  

    Good luck

    It sounds as if you may have depression. I urge you to see a psychiatrist and/or psychologist. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Is there life after a midlife divorce?

April 2015

I know this is all my fault, I know I wasn't a great wife in the years leading to our divorce. He had his faults but I could have been more supportive, unconditionally loving, happy, and anxiety free. It has been over 2 years and I still cry about him several nights per week. I feel lost and alone, full of regrets. I am in therapy which offers me some tools and perspective, but I still wake up alone every day. I try to look at things from a positive perspective, but it sometimes feels like I'm just fooling myself and that it's not going to get better, it's just going to get worse. My ability to move on is further complicated by the fact that I have herpes (reduce the already small dating pool by another 80%). In ten years I can look forward to being poorer with more wrinkles and more health problems. Data and evolutionary theory are not encouraging. I don't think there are any ideas that friends haven't already suggested (online dating, therapy, ...), perhaps I'm posting here as a cautionary tale to anyone unhappy in their marriage or toying with divorce. You can always find something to love, build and grow from that. Anonymous

Whatever your reason for your split may have been and whatever you think of it now, it can be okay. I can't help but think that there is a world waiting for you to embrace and rejoin. I don't know how, but I do know that we always move forward in life even if it doesn't feel like it. Even if your goal isn't to immediately find a new relationship, getting used to the idea that your life is still brimming with possibilities sounds like it could be a salve for you. faye

You seem to be focused on the fact that because you are not with a partner, you are LONELY, which is not the same as being ALONE or SINGLE.

Sounds to me that you have to find joy and purpose in your life that doesn't center around a partner. Cultivate YOU and other ways you can have people in your life that fulfill your needs. Ask yourself what the exact things you need from having a man in your life. Someone to do things around the house? Teach yourself, hire someone, find a friend who can help. Someone to do activities with? Find others with same interests. Physical closeness, affection, sex? Yes, you can find someone even with Herpes. (I think you have your stats wrong - I think 80% of the population DOES have herpes simplex, so you're reducing by 20%; probably less if older). But you can find a FWB, indulge in NSA sex. Hell, you can even hire a professional ''cuddler''. ALL needs can be met - you just have to be creative, open-minded, shift your thinking. I'm glad you're seeing a therapist, but it doesn't sound like you have any insight - you seem to be dwelling on regret and the past and not envisioning a happy future at all. Surely you know someone (same age or older) who is single (for any reason) and lives a fulfilling, happy life? People can bounce back from more traumatic events that leave them single (death, abusive relationships), so why not you?

As for being a cautionary tale to others - no, some marriages HAVE to end, but yes, with a lot of deep thought and certainty. If even one person knows that they would rather be happy and single than miserable and together, then it's time to move on. Concerned Mom

I have been divorced for two years as well, and you are right - divorce is so hard. I think people who haven't been through it can't truly appreciate how difficult it is. And I have told friends before to stick with their marriage and really try to work out issues early on - I like to think I'm a good example of what not to be (divorced, middle aged, single mom) .

So yes, I do get down on myself and wish that my situation was different. But I also try to look at the positives of the situation -- I wasn't in a good marriage, and I really enjoy being independent now - I'm able to watch bad t.v. when I want to, the house can stay clean (or messy) without a husband changing it. My ex-husband was very anti-social, so I feel like I've been able to do social things that I was never able to do before. There are lots of other positives for me.

If it helps, write a list of ways that life IS better - and I'm sure there are some things if you really think about it. And just pull that list out when things are getting hard. Also, make plans with friends. I found that the first year, friends reached out to me, but now that time has gone by, I need to be more proactive in reaching out to people and making plans. I also get pressure from friends to do the online dating thing - and I just ignore it. I'm not into that right now, and I'm o.k. with that. I have developed a closer relationship with my kids and family because of the divorce, and I am thankful for that as well.

I guess I don't have any kind of concrete advice, but just know that there are others out there like you that have a hard time with divorce, but you've also got to have hope for the future and really appreciate the little things. I remember in the early days of my divorce, I would get a $2 coffee every morning, and my mom kept telling me that I was wasting my money. And I told her ''this $2 coffee is the one thing that gives me pleasure right now and is keep me going.'' And it was true, and it really worked. So try to find your version of a $2 coffee - and enjoy it! Hopeful

I'm a 63-year-old man you was divorced three years ago after 32 years of mostly unhappy marriage. Shortly thereafter, I met the love of my life. My gender probably hampers my credibility with you, but I'd like to try and help you anyway. So...

There is no easy fix for your loneliness because we, as a civilization, don't need or meet one another much anymore. We rely on grocery stores, utilities and google instead of each other. Here is a TED Talk that sums up what you are up against:

I recommend these first steps on you journey to attract another man:

1. Feed your brain and improve your skin by taking a spoonful of Nordic Naturals Complete Omega 3-6-9 every day.

2. All vital signs must be way up. Get yourself in peak physical condition. Become an exercise junky. If you work at a desk, convert it to or replace it with a stand up desk.

3. Guys are very superficial before they get to know you. After the exercise gets you back down to college weight, buy some new clothes. You don't have to spend a fortune. They just need to be feminine. Do NOT cut your hair short. DO fix your makeup before going out. DO pad your bra if they don't show up otherwise. DO wear heals and shave your legs. I know its a lot of work. But, my girl does it and I couldn't be more grateful to her. After 3 years, she's still up on my pedestal. I still want her badly.

3. Heighten your spiritual awareness so that you never look worried or unhappy. At the very least take advantage of the tried and true Buddhist techniques for minimizing suffering. Eckhart Tolle is the best modern teacher of such techniques. His books and audio tapes are well worth your time starting with ''The Power of Now''. Eckhart does not ask you to believe in a higher power, but it's pretty clear to me that you discover one by practicing his teachings.

4. What goes around comes around. Fix your karma. Do good deeds and have good thoughts for other living things EVERY chance you get. You will eventually start to believe that you deserve happiness. You gotta accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and don't mess with Mr. In Between.

5. Join some social organizations where you can meet men casually. Churches, gyms, YMCA's and ToastMaster clubs can all be good. And when you put yourself out there, make sure you take advantage of all your feminine wiles.

All this is so much easier said than done. But, it will work. Carl

Is there life after mid-life divorce? There has to be, because there sure wasn't life before divorce, at least in my case.

Maybe you've already tried reframing the topic? I personally don't know if I'll ever have another long term partner. Sometimes it sounds like a nice idea, but it also gives me chills after what I've been through. It sounds like you liked your marriage better than I liked mine.

Divorce isn't the end. It may be the beginning, but it can't be if you're still looking back. Did you do some kind of ''goodbye'' ceremony when it was final, or a rebirth ceremony to welcome your new stage of life? For me that helped move me along into the next phase, and you still could do this when/if you were ready?

It sounds like you are trying good things but still are suffering. Maybe it is important to show how big your hurt is? My heart goes out to you. I wonder if something really radical like a silent meditation retreat or some other total change of environment would help push the reset button, so you can appreciate what you have? Paradoxically, maybe not caring if you meet someone to partner with is the precursor to being ready if that person ever does come along? Easier said than done probably. - Wishing you peace and joy