When you are going through a divorce after 60, all you want to do is climb under a rock and wait for it all to pass.
Many women tell me that they didn’t have the energy to leave the house for months after their separation. Others refused to get a lawyer, saying simply “I don’t want anything from him!”
While you may not feel like doing much after a divorce, there are actually several things that you need to invest in to protect yourself from problems down the line. So, even if you don’t have the energy to “start over,” I hope that you find the energy to invest in your future.
To help the women in our community who are going through a divorce, I recently interviewed Martha Bodyfelt. Martha is a divorce coach who specialises in helping women to get through their separation with as little stress and drama as possible. Enjoy the show!
When you are going through a divorce after 60, Martha says that there are several things that you need to do to protect yourself. Here are a few of the main points that she made during our discussion.
The first step to protecting yourself emotionally during a divorce is to control your expectations. Recovering from a divorce doesn’t happen overnight. In many ways, losing your partner to a divorce is as emotionally challenging as facing a death in the family. Don’t expect yourself to heal quickly. Be gentle with yourself and get the help you need.
Martha points out that trying to do everything by yourself can be a mistake. You are not the first woman to go through a divorce and there are quite a few support groups out there to help. In addition to groups that focus specifically on helping people to get through a divorce, church groups, community centers, meetup.com groups and book clubs can be important sources of social contact.
There is also no shame in getting professional help. If you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, reach out to a psychologist who can help. You may also want to consider working with a divorce coach, like Martha. She offers a free phone consultation on her website.
You would be amazed how many women lose out financially because they aren’t active enough while they are negotiating their divorce.
My number one piece of advice here is to get professional help. Whether you go through mediation or choose to hire a lawyer, make sure that you are supported. This is especially important if your husband always managed your family finances. You may not know all of the right questions to ask, but, your lawyer certainly will.
By the way, if you are approaching retirement, check with your lawyer to see if you might be eligible for some of your ex-husband’s social security benefits.
An important word of warning from Martha: being aggressive during a divorce settlement can be appropriate, but, don’t let the process consume you. Sometimes, it is better to see if you can resolve any questions amicably, before you ask your attorney to go in guns blazing.
A divorce settlement should be about securing your financial future, not settling old scores.
Along these lines, take a long-term view of your future. Not every issue matters. So, make sure that you focus on the ones that really have a chance of impacting your future.
Women don’t just suffer financially after a divorce. They also tend to lose many of the social relationships that they relied on in the past.
You may not feel like going out with your friends, right after your divorce, but, do your best not to become isolated.
Sometimes it is productive to focus on activities, rather than just meeting for coffee. This way, you won’t fall into the habit of allowing every single meeting to turn into a conversation about your divorce.
If you don’t feel like going to the gym, that’s fine. Get out into nature and hike some of your favorite trails. Buy a bike and explore your city. Join a bowling club or try dancing. Whatever you do – do something.
If you are going through a divorce in your 60s, I’m here for you. I’ve been exactly where you are now and I know how hard it can be. I hope that my conversation with Martha was helpful for you. If you have any questions, please add them in the comments.
Has someone that you know gone through a divorce after 60? What advice would you give to the women in the community who are facing a separation? Please join the conversation.