I told him that I too needed a chance to explore myself and my talents. At first, it sounded quite absurd to him that I might have any. So I stuck to my guns. I wanted a divorce at 50. I had my midlife divorce reasons.
My daughter’s friends saw me as the cool mother, the one who actually spoke to you and offered an opinion, the one you came to when mom could not be approached, the one who had a friends’ circle when all the other mothers just focused on home and kids. Raj, on the other hand, was always somewhere in the background, appearing to be stuck to the living room sofa and needing to be waited upon hand and foot.
Related reading: Divorce is about letting go, not holding on
Why I Wanted A Divorce At 50
Minakshi was happily married, as was Chirag, my son. They had children of their own. Then why this step so late in life? (I was over 50 when I got my divorce.) It was not some deep, dark secret that Raj kept hidden from me or even an extramarital affair. Raj appears very passive but is extremely possessive and aggressive in a quiet sort of way. My going out of the house except to buy vegetables met with such aggressive reactions that I wondered why I should put up with it any longer. Raj had once pressed my bangles into my wrist so hard that they had broken and left me bleeding. That’s why I never visited anyone in all these years.
When Minakshi and Chirag were young, it made sense to put up with all this. Not that he hit me or anything, it was just that he thought he owned me.
Besides, we had no common interests.
He loves brinjals, I am allergic to them. I love to travel and meet people, he doesn’t. He loves slow music, I follow trends. There seemed to be no reason to continue torturing myself. Even if I never found anyone else to share these things with, at least I could enjoy them without his constant glowering and interference.
You don’t have to fall in love with someone else to know that you are not in love with someone.
When I got married, I thought I would learn to love him. I hoped that he and I would create a common ground of interests away from our differences. But boys are not brought up to compromise, you know.
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I moved on
Anyway, I am at peace now. I redecorated the house to suit my tastes, I have started painting and have even sold a few of them! Not that it supports me. Raj has to pay me alimony. He does so without protest or argument, I will give him that. Don’t get me wrong. He is not a bad man.
It’s just that we did not seem to be good for each other. We argued about everything and disagreed. We kept our differences away from the kids but they knew. There were no great fights or arguments in their presence, just cold compromise.
How the family would react is also a big concern when are leaving your spouse in your 50s. My children seem to be quite all right with the divorce. Minakshi said that she often wondered why I hadn’t taken the step earlier! Raj is living with Chirag and seems to be pretty happy there. Surprisingly, he always loved helping with household chores. So Manali finds him a dear.
Related Reading: Top 15 Signs Of A Selfish Husband And Why Is He Like That?
Even though I have never found myself wondering ‘how do I move on after divorce at 50?’, it is true that I do sometimes feel a little scared, especially when I have a bout of ill health. But then those days are few and far between. I have a new circle of friends now, around my age, and we do keep tabs on each other. The kids and grandkids all call and come around regularly. But time truly flies when I am painting. I have never known such happiness.
So, is there life after divorce at 50? Most definitely, yes! And I wouldn’t trade it for all the security in the world.
Divorce Over 50: 3 Mistakes Avoid
Dissolution of marriage can be daunting at any stage of life but even more so when you get a divorce at 50 or beyond. Companionship, security and stability are the things people crave the most when heading into the sunset of life. So, when life throws you a curveball at that stage, starting over is no walk in the park. Yes, even when you’re the one who wants out.
If you are seeking divorce over 50, here are 3 mistakes to avoid:
1. Letting emotions get the better of you
Whether you’re the one who wants to move on or the decision has been thrust upon you, getting divorced at this stage of life can leave you feeling overwhelmed with emotion. No matter how taxing this reality feels, don’t let your emotions get the better of you and cloud your judgment.
The desire to get it over with as quickly as possible is understandable.
However, when you lose sight of the bigger picture, you risk jeopardizing a secure future. It is important to not view your divorce as a war that you need to win. To make sure you have all your bases covered, you have to set aside the brimming emotions and approach it as a calculated business transaction.
2. Not negotiating smartly
Divorced and broke at 50 can be the worst combination. By this age, you’re likely to be financially stable and leading a comfortable life, thanks to years of hard work, meticulous financial planning and savings. By not negotiating smartly, you risk losing it all in an instant.
You don’t want to be staring at starting a new career at a time when you’d be planning a retirement. Besides, factors such as medical conditions and ageism can get in the way of your ability to build a life for yourself from scratch.
So, make sure you negotiate smartly for a fair division of retirement accounts, assets as well as securing alimony, if applicable.
Related Reading: 12 Warning Signs Your Partner Is Losing Interest In The Relationship
3. Losing control
All the documentation and legal jargon can be hard to navigate and make sense of. Even so more so, when you’re not in the best emotional state. While your legal counsel or divorce lawyer will be there to guide you at every step of the way, you must not lose control of the process.
Don’t tell your lawyer to handle it all and tell you what to do. Do your research, talk to people, get advice from different reliable sources and draw up a mediation checklist to make sure you know exactly what you’re in for during a divorce proceeding. Let your lawyer be the expert who guides your decision and not the one who steers them.
Once the storm of legal proceeding has passed, you may find yourself struggling to pick up the pieces and surviving divorce after 50. As long as you look at it as a chance for a do-over, you can reclaim your life and steer it in any direction possible. From embracing the liberating new-found independence from a long, stifling marriage to getting back on the dating scene again, the world is your oyster.
(As told to Tulika Mukerjee Saha. Names changed to protect identities)