When you go through a divorce, it is quite possible that you will experience a crisis of confidence. I did. I wondered how I was going to deal with it all: the emotions, the financial realities, the effect that the divorce would have on my children. Was I up to it? Would I be able to do it?

The answer was yes. I was up to it and I could deal with the divorce – with a lot of support. Because it is not something that I recommend trying to go through on your own.

To help put things into perspective, I have identified five common contributors to our lack of confidence during a divorce after 50.

 
 

We Feel Shame

We think that we should have realized that something was wrong sooner. We feel some shame because we couldn’t “fix” things. Couple that with the fear of what lies ahead and not knowing what to do first. We put up a façade and act like nothing is wrong when inside we are reeling, in shock and feeling overwhelmed.

We Wonder What Happened to Us

We wonder why we are so different from who we were all those years ago when we first married. Perhaps due to the unhappiness, we have become more isolated and introverted than we had been before. We feel unsure about where to turn or who to rely on.

We Have Internalized Our Feelings

Since we have kept our feelings inside for so long, we aren’t sure what the next steps are and how to move forward; in short, we become paralyzed.

Our Marriage Began to Feel Disempowering

Somewhere along the line we felt disempowered. From a practical standpoint, we may feel like we don’t know enough about our finances, especially our debts and our assets. Or, we have very successful careers and the divorce is going to put a big dent in retirement savings, as well as payouts for long term spousal support. You wonder, how did I end up here?

We Feel a Loss of Support

We don’t feel that we have the support we need from family, friends and colleagues to begin a new life at our age. We are even embarrassed to ask for it. We feel like we will have to “go it alone.”

Does any of this resonate with you?

Wondering what happened to us and how we got to the point of divorcing after a long-term marriage is common. We wonder what signs we missed; how we got here at this point in our lives.

Does this tape run through your head, “I’m so ashamed; I want to get it over with. I don’t want anyone to know what I am going through?”

Stop the tape. It’s confidence eroding. You are where you are. Now the question is how to best navigate the process.

When you have held your emotions in check for so long, you will naturally feel shock as the divorce process starts. Know that you aren’t alone. That is why putting your personal support system in place sooner rather than later makes a big difference. Your team will give you confidence when you don’t have enough on your own.

Dealing with regret over giving up your career and having to figure out how to earn an income is daunting and scary, but your support team can help. Having built a career but now looking at your income in relation to your spouse’s as you negotiate your post-divorce financial position is also daunting – and frustrating. But, you can work through that with confidence and the sound advice of your team.

Divorce at any age, but, especially a divorce after 50, shakes your confidence. Feeling unsupported and alone doesn’t help. I have learned that it is never as bad as it seems in those moments of drama. Put a good support system in place and you will be amazed at how quickly the world seems to be filled with possibility and hope. Then you can begin to embrace the new life you have in front of you.

Once you can start to see the future from this perspective, it is amazing how your confidence will begin to flow.

Did you experience a lack of confidence when you went through your divorce? How did you deal with regrets and regain your confidence? Has anyone that you know gone through a divorce after 50? Please share in the comments.

Sandra HughesSandra Hughes, MBA, CPCC, is a leadership coach for adults 40+ going through transitions, especially divorce. She created the Life Reinvented Program to address the needs of people ending long-term marriages. You can learn more about Sandra’s story at http://www.sbhcoaching.com

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