Recovering From Midlife Divorce – Step 1

Apr 04

Divorce3Today, divorce is becoming more and more common for those of us who have reached midlife. According to a study by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, “The divorce rate among adults ages 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2009.”

Like many women my age, I have been there and done that, but I am on the path to recovery.

What have I been doing?

For me, the first step in recovery from my midlife divorce was to find a support group. Many communities have some kind of group to help those of us grieving the end of a marriage. I, personally, found DivorceCare to be a vital part of my recovery. Through my group I learned that I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, and started crying randomly in the middle of the grocery store.


I learned that the end of a marriage is like a death, and it’s normal to go through all the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, and depression are all part of the package. What’s worse, you can jump from one stage to another and then back again all within a short period of time.

Even more importantly, I learned from my group and another dear friend that I didn’t have to get stuck in my grief. My friends told me that life will get better. They gave me hope when I was afraid that I would be sad and lonely for the rest of my life.

If you have landed on this page because you’re getting divorced, I want to give you hope. Life WILL get better, but you must take the time and energy to work through your grief. Find a support group or an informal network of people who have been there to hold your hand and walk you through the valley. If you cannot find a local support group, find some online friends who have been there, and consider subscribing to the DivorceCare daily emails. For an entire year I received short, daily messages that were supportive and comforting. Divorce is tough, but there can be happiness on the other side.

Elizabeth Siggy

“When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.”  

―Fred Rogers

Recovering from Midlife Divorce Step 2

Recovering from Midlife Divorce Step 3

Recovering from Midlife Divorce Step 4

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  1. I am so thrilled that you will be sharing with us the things you have learned, Elizabeth! I know that sharing what you’ve learned will be a blessing to others.

    • Elizabeth /

      Thanks, Susan. I wish I’d never had to learn all this, but helping and encouraging others helps me feel that some good can come out of such a bad situation.

  2. Julia /

    I’m so glad that you are writing this! Even people who ask for the divorce end up dealing with various stages of grief — sometimes they’ve dealt with grief before the divorce. This will be a wonderful place for people to get good BTDT advice.

  3. Yes, we learn so much from going through a divorce, that we could not learn by remaining married. Elizabeth, when you are ready to consider love again, don’t miss my book: “How To Believe In Love Again.”

    • Elizabeth /

      Hey, Laura Lee, I’m just about there. I’ll have to check it out.

  4. I wish I’d found a blog like this when I was in the worst stages of the ending my 36-year marriage. I wanted the divorce as much as he did, but the way it went was beyond horrible. We raised 3 children together and have grandchildren, but I doubt we’ll ever be real friends again. The saddest part of the end of a long marriage is, to me, not having someone to turn to and say, “Remember when…” because even if you find love again, there are no long-term remember-whens. Luckily for me, I found my voice through my writing. I am now mostly working on the financial near crisis the divorce wrought. I’m constantly strengthened by the stories of survival and success I hear from others who’ve trod this path.

    • Robin Howard /

      I was divorced after 27 years of marriage. I too feel sadness that I have no one to share the memories of raising our children and dealing with the loss of our son at the age of 18.
      The divorce was an ugly one…it took 6 years to complete due to the games that the lawyers played. In the end, it was my daughter who brokered a deal that was acceptable to both of us.
      In spite of all of this, I feel that I am stronger and I value my freedom above all else. I am financially secure and am happy living alone. I do not want another relationship. I am happy in my own skin and do not want to jeopardize this.
      I hope that you will find serenity and peace in your life as well.

  5. Agnes /

    I am into my 7th year of a separation, I can`t afford to divorce my ex!!! He has never done anything about it. We were together 40yrs and I felt he threw me in the gutter for someone younger..I still cry, in fact I am up and down like a yoyo..last week I had to go back on ant-depression tablets, I find myself alone after being in a family of 5.. I hate it,,no-one to go home to at night or wake up to!! Thank the lord I have 2 grand-daughters age 7 & 3 they are the sunshine of my life!!!

    • Robin Howard /

      I am so sorry that you feel this way. You must re-define yourself and start living for YOU!!! Don’t be afraid to be selfish and start pampering yourself. I buy flowers for myself and always have a bouquet on the table to cheer me up!!!
      Start celebrating your freedom and stop feeling that you need someone else to make you happy!!! You will only find peace and joy when you let go of this…

      • Agnes /

        thanks for that…I did do all this in the beginning but still cried for my ex or someone new in my life..I always thought that was the answer..your right I should let that go..I have a lot in my life to be thankful for!!!
        It’s a beautiful morning here in France so I am off for a long walk with my dog ‘Doris’ you have a great day too…Agnes

        • Gill Collinson /

          Thanks Agnes,enjoy your walk with Doris.Funny I have been thinking of having a dog again.I think a puppy next year will be good for me !!My bowls starts today, so for the next 5months it will take over my life , which I’v made it so . I have bought silk flowers and they are all around my house..I planted loads of bulbs last year and they are just comming into flower, we’v had a late spring ..I read a book that has help me .I read it every night just a page or two or I go a couple of days without. I have read the whole book three times since last March !!It is : ‘Have The Best Year of Your Life’ by Jane Matthews..for me its BRILLIANT !!! kind regards, Gill

  6. Gill Collinson /

    Hello, I got divorced 10yrs ago.The divorce was my makeing.My husband of 36 years ,was/is a Obsesive Manic depressive.. Which was just hell living with.I did’nt realy want a divorce,wanting to chivie him up ,into thinking I would leave him ,hoping he would get well, change, see what he was loosing.But , that did’t happen.I was a fool ,to think ‘I’ could make a difference.. Eight years ago , I met a man who ,I like very much although still loved my ex dearly, but moved on, with the help, of working very hard,keeping busy,reading self help books ,from page to page.The man I met asked me to move in with him, as I did .This relationship was with conditions..No sex !!! which had played a big part in my life .But this guy was ,he said on medication and could’nt perform, and I told myself ,friendship ment more …So for eight years I was housekeeper, cook and bottle washer.Then one day out of the blue I found out this guy had been cheeting on me, taking viagra, to be with someone eles..So I left,just packed and went, back home to my house.Its been a year now I’v been on my own.Its been so bloody hard. Foum ,days of not even getting dressed, watching dvd’s all day. To crying all day, even rationally thinking of takeing mt own life¬¬ But 15 months down the line ,I fell like I’m turning the corner,I relise I have to love myself before I can love another.I hope one day love comes and taps me on the shoulder once again .But in the meen time ,I rejoyce in the fact I’v seen life at its most raw eages and come through the other side , with one step at a time

    • Robin Howard /

      Good for you!!! You hit the nail on the head when you said that you have to love yourself before someone else can love you…

    • Carolyn Soltis /

      Oh darlin’, you are a naive, slow learner like me. Gill:
      I’m so sorry you have had to suffer so much from your relationships. It’s so painful, I know. I’m on #3 husband, thought he was THE ONE, met in church. We married when I was 61, he 68. He sent me many red flags, but I would not believe they were red. Now it’s time to start over yet again at 65 with no household belongings or place to live. Please do not think you are alone, or at fault. We all want to be loved. Take good care and try hard to find a support group through your community or church. Ice cream works pretty good too–just not too often 🙂 Carolyn

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