Struggling with Jealousy After a Divorce in Your 50s or 60s? Help Is Here!
If you divorced in your 50s or 60s, you’re familiar with that feeling. Some of us know it all too well, both during divorce and afterwards.
It rears its head when one of your grown children, after spending the weekend with your ex, tells you about the “new friend” that is at your ex’s house.
Or, when you hear about the trip your ex is taking to Europe while you’re struggling to make ends meet.
The Green Eyed Monster that consumes us when what we should really be doing is focusing on our own divorce recovery.
You’re not alone when it comes to dealing with jealousy after a divorce at 50 or 60. I’d like to share with you two very ugly truths about this emotion.
One: Jealousy Is Selfish
Have you ever known someone that was always concerned about “me, me, me” and never bothered to ask about your day, or your hopes and dreams? Well, jealousy is like that person. It’s a barrier that causes you to worry about something (your ex’s new life) that you have no control over.
Instead of focusing on yourself, jealously is there, bringing out thoughts like, “Oh, look at their wonderful life! Oh, look at all the things they’re doing that are amazing!”
What do you benefit from focusing your energy on what the other person is doing? What do you benefit from thinking about how good your ex has it, while you feel like you were screwed over?
You already know the answer. Being jealous is of no benefit. So why is it still something that we can’t seem to shake while trying to move on from divorce?
The truth hurts and you’re about to learn why.
Two: Jealousy Is Also Lazy
Do you know what’s easier than working on yourself?
Sitting there, stewing over how much better your ex has it.
One of the many reasons why jealousy brings out the worst in us is because it diverts attention away from putting ourselves first. Instead of doing the hard work of focusing on how we can move on, jealousy leads us astray. It takes us down the easy road of being reactive about things beyond our control.
Moreover, while you’re worrying about that, you waste precious time that could be spent focusing on the most important thing – yourself.
It’s easier to say, “Oh, it should be me taking that vacation instead of my ex” than to focus on your own finances and schedule, and plan a vacation that fits your lifestyle and budget.
It’s easier to say, “That jerk already has a new partner! It’s not fair!” than starting to take care of yourself, learning how to plan for your own future, focusing on getting out of your rut and getting your life back on track.
See what I mean?
Jealousy is sapping you of your move-on energy. It’s a lot easier to remain bitter over something you can’t control than it is to be responsible for your own happiness and move ahead under your terms.
But I’m Jealous! So What Am I Supposed to Do?!
I know, I know… You are human, and you may be hurting, especially if your marriage lasted decades. But there’s something you can do about it.
Exercise: Turn Your Jealousy into Productivity
The next time you’re feeling jealous about whatever your ex is doing – or if anything happens in your life – do the following:
Pinpoint exactly what is making you jealous. These are your jealousy triggers.
“I heard from my son that his father is going to Europe in the fall, with his new girlfriend, and I’m here having trouble paying rent. What the hell?”
Dig deeper. What is it exactly that you’re jealous of? List it, and be honest with yourself. Jealousy rarely has anything to do with the other person.
It has everything to with what you’re doing and how you’re thinking about yourself. It is an emotion that has no power when you are being mindful and proactive with your own life.
“I am jealous because I am hurt. I feel hurt because we never did anything fun or adventurous or travel in our relationship, and now I feel left out. I am also jealous because I feel that financially, I cannot treat myself.”
Ask yourself what you can do instead. How can you divert the precious energy you are spending being jealous into something actionable for you?
“My feelings are hurt, and maybe I can’t fix that pain myself. The next time I am triggered, perhaps I can reach out to friends or family for support, or instead direct that energy into doing an activity that I like to do.”
“As far as finances go… sure, I can’t go anywhere exotic right now. But I can start looking at my finances and budget, and maybe start planning a getaway or a nice trip for myself that is within my budget.”
The road to divorce recovery in your 50s and 60s isn’t always easy, but with a healthy mind frame, you’ll be able to move on to the amazing life you deserve.
Do you struggle with divorce jealousy after age 50 or 60? What are some of the triggers that make you feel this way? What will you do to turn that jealousy into self-care? Please join the conversation below!
Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce coach, whose website “Surviving Your Split” helps readers navigate their divorce with less stress and drama, so they can move on with their lives. For your Free Divorce Warrior Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split or drop Martha a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her on Facebook.