A gray divorce – which is a marital dissolution that occurs between people aged 50 or older – can inspire unique challenges for the spouses involved. It can be uniquely difficult to divide property and to handle the social fallout of a divorce after decades of marriage.
Divorce at any age will also take a toll on someone’s mental health. People often withdraw socially during and after a divorce, even though they are likely in need of more social support. It is also common for older adults to experience depression after the end of a long marriage and to even struggle with their sense of identity. How can someone who divorces later in life bounce back from that devastating experience and make the most of their golden years?
Those going through a gray divorce should cultivate resilience
Resilience is the incredible human ability to recover from even the most upsetting and traumatizing experiences. Resilience allows people to accept circumstances as they are and then seek to make the best of them. For older adults who have just gone through a divorce, learning to recognize their own strength will be an important part of that process. Focusing on the positive aspects of the future, such as living without the pressure to support a spouse, can also be helpful.
Individuals should also embrace the experiences and happy memories from their marriages as something that they can carry with them after the divorce. Many people find that reconnecting with old friends or spending more time with their faith communities will help them develop resilience and find happiness after a divorce.
Oftentimes, divorce can be an opportunity to enjoy things someone couldn’t before. Maybe their spouse truly hated one of their favorite bands, so now they can listen to the albums they love as loud as they want. Perhaps their spouse didn’t think that taking art classes at community college was a good use of time and money, but now they aren’t going to influence what they do anymore.
A gray divorce presents opportunities for someone to live the life that they truly want. Although it can be difficult and stressful to end a marriage later in life, adults who approach the process from a thoughtful and intentional perspective are often able to enjoy a meaningful and happier life post-divorce.