Divorce is hard. But adjusting to divorce after 50 is really hard.
It pretty much goes like this. There’s a divorce. The woman, unless she gets the family home, will have to scale down. Because she typically doesn’t make as much money as her ex-husband.
He looks for a brand new condo close to his office. She looks for an apartment she can afford in a less enviable neighborhood.
The task is daunting, I won’t kid you. You never thought you’d be starting over at age 50 or 60 or even 70.
You Will Probably Be Scaling Down Instead Of Up:
He comes home one day and says he wants a divorce. Or you find out he’s been doing things behind your back that you can’t live with. Maybe he has been planning this and has cleaned you out financially.
Like me, you will possibly be looking for an apartment in a complex where they all look alike. Less space, less storage and generic looking.
No, this is certainly not where you thought you’d be at this point in your life.
But life goes on.
Where do you start?
Get a good lawyer and find out where you are financially.
Make a plan and file for divorce. You want to be in control. He has been in control long enough. It is important that you take the reins now.
Go look for a place to live. Make a list of what you can live with in a home and what you are willing to live without. Most of all, find a safe neighborhood. If you have a job, find a place that is closer to it so you can spend less money on gasoline.
Do you keep that couch where you once cuddled with him and watched movies? Well, maybe not. It doesn’t matter how expensive it was, the memories that come with it will cost you even more.
So my advice, from someone who has been there, is to keep things that are of great significance to you. Like family heirlooms and photos. Then sell what you legally have the right to sell.
What To Look For In A New Home/Apartment?
Well, it was pretty easy for me. It had to be one level. And it had to have a fenced outdoor space for my dogs.
In my price range, that basically boiled down to one apartment complex. I’m living in it now.
Please don’t put off creating a cozy and comfy home for yourself. You’ll be surprised what you can do to a shabby piece of furniture. Just get on Pinterest where the inspiration is endless.
You want to be able to look around you and see that you can have a pretty home without his money.
I went from a 2300 square foot garden home in a cul de sac to now living in a one bedroom apartment. From a home that had just been renovated to a 1960s apartment that had had virtually no updates.
Smaller doesn’t equate to squalor.
Scaling Down Your Belongings:
Scaling down just means a smaller puzzle with fewer pieces. And you have to make all those pieces fit. It may be a challenge. Embrace that challenge and let it be what motivates you.
Change what the landlord will allow you to change. If they won’t do updates, maybe they will allow you to pay for some of them yourself. Maybe you can bargain with him/her, say you’ll put everything back should you move. Or get a reduction in rent for updating it yourself.
I advise getting a pet if you don’t already have pets. It will be less lonely and you’ll have someone to talk to and bounce decor ideas off of.
It doesn’t matter that they have no idea what you’re talking about. The point is that they listen adoringly and don’t argue with you over what chair to buy.
If you don’t have an outdoor space, focus on house plants. Nature can come in small doses and enliven small spaces. You can have a potted herb garden on your kitchen window sill.
Maybe you were a wonderful cook and a great homemaker. Suddenly you feel adrift. But you can still be a wonderful cook and a great homemaker. Just on a smaller scale.
Try New Things:
Learn a foreign language. Take college courses. Sign up for a yoga class. Volunteer to help others less fortunate.
You can date again once some time has passed. But I won’t kid you. The odds are against women our age.
Divorced older men often date women much younger. But the same doesn’t usually apply to divorced older women.
My ex had this saying: Men age like fine leather. Women just age.
That is of course sexist and disgusting. But it is unfortunately true that older women are not a hot commodity in our society.
You may find that you really like living alone. It doesn’t mean being lonely. It just means being alone. There’s a vast difference.
But isn’t it better to live alone than live with someone who doesn’t treat you right?
You deserve better. Listen to your instincts. Take control of the situation and move forward.
Older wings can still fly. And with the wisdom you have gained over time, you may even soar.