Find Martha Bodyfelt at her website, Surviving Your Split. She is a divorce coach who will help you as you are surviving midlife divorce. It can be a time of stress, struggle, and frustration.
Surviving Midlife Divorce?
A midlife divorce certainly has a way of throwing you for a loop, doesn’t it?
Even if you were not in the happiest of marriages, there is still something earth-shattering about knowing that things will soon be very different for you. Everything you know may no longer seem valid, and everything that you thought you had a grasp on disappears. In fact, the life and future you thought you knew disappears, leaving you in a midlife rut: Where do you go from here? What are you supposed to do when everything you’ve known is no longer there?
It’s normal to feel like you have lost your way after a midlife divorce, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can find your way after the divorce when you remember the following.
Your internal compass may need fixing.
So many of us had our entire lives invested in our marriage and our families. It was the lens with which we viewed the world. Our concept of being a spouse and a partner was our compass. Whatever decisions we made through our long-term marriages—whether they were personal or professional—were seen within the “well, is it good for the marriage and is it good for the family?”
When your marriage ends at midlife, that compass and final destination are thrown out the window. But that doesn’t mean that you are destined to wander around in the dark.
Losing your way? Find your true purpose.
Once marriage ends, our sense of purpose changes. We feel like we’re merely surviving. We have not yet given ourselves the gift of dreaming again. We are so busy with dealing with the daily rollercoaster of emotions and figuring out logistics and finances that we forget to do the one thing we must do.
We must step back and “What is my vision as a divorcee at midlife? What, and where, do I want to be?”
Identifying that vision becomes our new final destination. And until we identify that vision for ourselves and then take the steps to get there, it is impossible to move forward.
You can go on auto-pilot and go through the daily motions of life, but it will be very hard to move on and reclaim the happiness you deserve unless you figure out that vision, and have a plan to get there. You must do this for yourself.
Need a little help? Here’s an exercise to get you started.
Exercise: How to find your way after midlife divorce
Take a minute to ask yourself: “What do I want?”
If that seems overwhelming to you, take a look at some examples below!
I want to be happy in my home.
I want to feel confident again.
Then ask yourself: “What is stopping me from getting what I want?”
The things that are stopping us—the obstacles to our vision—are the daily BS things that we face and frustrate us. I want you to list those—be honest and complete, but don’t spend too much time getting caught up in the obstacles. I know for me, those obstacles included the following.
What’s stopping me:
I am staying in the home although he has left, but I don’t know how to shake the feeling that he is still “here.” There are still pictures of us together, some of his books are here, and I feel like everything just seems frozen in time.
What’s stopping me:
I didn’t feel great when we were having marital troubles, but now that I’m alone, I feel like my self-esteem is gone. I feel like I don’t have any purpose and it’s awful. How do I rebuild?
Once you have a few of those obstacles in mind, the fun part begins. You are going to learn how to kick those obstacles out of the way by coming up with an easy plan that erases them and gets you closer to your final destination.
Now, write down what you are going to do to start overcoming those obstacles.
You don’t need some crazy D-Day type battle plan. It doesn’t need to be a PhD dissertation. All you need are some simple steps that you can start taking today. If you need some help, take a look at the quick plans I created for myself when I felt lost after my divorce.
Your new midlife divorce plan can be simple.
Take a look below:
I am not feeling great about myself right now. There are several things I can do to change that.
If I am not already seeing a therapist (or one that I really like), I will start searching (and asking for recommendations) to find someone who can work through this process with me.
I am also doing to do things for myself for a change. I am going to list things that I like to do—hobbies, physical activities, and will put them on a calendar so I remain accountable and committed do doing the things that I love.
It’s time to put myself first.
The road ahead.
Following this plan means you have recognized two awesome things for yourself. First, you now have something that sticks—something you can use to help boot out those silly roadblocks that are up in your face.
And second, you now know where you want to be—the vision of knowing what you want—your final destination. And when you know your final destination and the steps to get there, nothing can stop you.
Looking for more articles to help you through midlife divorce? Please read