Marriages, especially ones that have lasted for decades, take work. Every day will not be a honeymoon. Arguments, compromises, and sacrifices will no doubt be daily currency. While the give and take in a relationship is normal, there are instances when staying married is not a sustainable option.
It can be terrifying to end a decades-long marriage and start over in your 50s, 60s, and 70s. For this reason, many older women stay with their partner, even if it is not in their own best interest.
But how do you know when it is time to leave your marriage, versus staying in it? Every woman’s situation is different, but if you are in any of the following situations, regardless of how long you have been married, it may be time to consider your options.
There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s when it comes to abuse. It is wrong, you do not deserve it, and you need to leave that situation as soon as you can.
For years, our culture has told us that running the household and making the marriage work is our duty. As a result, we put this enormous pressure on ourselves to keep the marriage intact, even if it is harmful or dangerous to us.
Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse, or the threat of abuse, you do not deserve it. There are resources out there to help you leave.
It does not matter how many years you have invested in a relationship. You may have even told yourself, “I may as well stay since I’ve already invested all this time and I’ll learn to cope.” But please, for your sake and for those who love you, do not stay. It’s time to realize you deserve to be safe and respected.
Physical and sexual abuse are easy to identify, but mental and emotional abuse can be more difficult. Gaslighting is a technique frequently used by abusive partners which undermines and makes you question your perception and understanding of reality.
The manipulation often begins slowly and goes unnoticed by yourself and others. Common behaviors include constant lying, deflecting or shifting blame, creating a codependent relationship, twisting conversations, and giving false hope.
Also, narcissists can create volatile environments and make you question your self-worth. They generally don’t have your best interest at heart and don’t really care when they hurt you. Narcissists typically don’t change as it is a personality trait (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).
Don’t stay in an abusive relationship thinking that they will change. Chances are they won’t.
Read THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN A DIVORCE.
Anyone who is married for more than a few years understands that there will be ups and downs. However, if you are not being treated as an equal partner in the relationship, that’s a problem. If your wants and needs are ignored or mocked, that’s a problem. If you are being cheated on, that’s a problem.
These actions are symptoms of a larger problem. They show that your partner is not valuing you in the way that you should be valued. Never forget for a second that you are a queen and that you deserve to be with someone who will love you and respect you and treat you right.
If you find yourself continually justifying your partner’s disrespectful behavior, or, even more alarming, you have become numb to it, it might be time to reconsider the value of that marriage.
Read DIVORCE AND THE MARITAL HOME: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
If you justify, and continue to justify, everything over your own happiness and mental health, there is a problem. You, a woman over 50, are a part of a resilient group. Women of your generation demanded more for themselves. They broke out of what society told them they should be and how they should act.
You have made a lot of sacrifices along the way, especially when it came to balancing the demands of marriage, motherhood, and career. During those years, you probably had dreams of your own deferred.
It’s common for most women to have made that type of sacrifice. However, the red flag starts to wave if keeping your marriage together is at the expense of your own happiness and mental health. If you are continually discouraged from pursuing your own dreams and happiness, it’s time to consider if staying in the marriage has been a reason for that neglect.
Read 10 STRATEGIES TO EMPOWER YOU WHEN DEALING WITH A CONTENTIOUS DIVORCE.
Perhaps you feel like nothing will change for the better, and your spouse is unwilling to try. If you are in one of the above situations, where you are mistreated and disrespected, it may be time to stop. This holds true if you continue to justify your spouse’s misbehavior towards you, or continue to prioritize everything over your own mental health and happiness.
You may have the opportunity to work things out with the help of a good counselor or other professional. These types of services can be a godsend for some, but there are times when it’s not a cure-all.
Online websites like Better Help and Talk Space offer individual and couples online therapy to help you go through this difficult period. You may want to talk with someone if you do choose to end the marriage. A therapist can help give you coping skills to navigate through your feelings and emotions.
It takes both partners to make a relationship work. Perhaps you do not want to leave and have done everything you can to try to make the relationship work. Yet if your spouse is still unwilling to work on it, he is sending you the message that you may not want to hear – you deserve better.
Ending a marriage is a messy and complicated process. It can be terrifying to take that leap – the one where you go from having a predictable but unhappy existence to one that is full of uncertainty and stress. But remember that there is a whole new chapter of your life that awaits you if you decide to do so.
Read OVER 50 AND READY TO LET GO OF UNMET EXPECTATIONS AFTER DIVORCE? HERE’S HOW TO TAKE ACTION!
Recognizing that you deserve to feel safe and free from abuse and harm, that you deserve to be treated with respect regardless of how long you have been married is important.
Knowing that you deserve to have your own independence and happiness despite years of sacrificing for others, can be the motivation that gives you the courage to leave a relationship that is no longer healthy for you – even after age 50.
Do you find yourself easily agitated and frustrated most of the time? If you find that your personality changed over the years and you are mostly angry with your partner, then it’s possible that the environment has become toxic and it’s time to make a change. Sometimes the change means leaving the relationship.
Sometimes it’s neither abuse nor flagrant disrespect but little things that your partner does that annoy you and that are not conducive to a healthy and loving relationship. You have the right to be happy and to live in a nurturing environment that promotes your happiness and unique personality.
It used to be that women who left relationships in their 50’s and 60’s usually felt lonely, isolated, and stigmatized. Nowadays, more and more single women over 50 are living their absolute best lives – traveling, moving abroad, taking on new hobbies, starting businesses, and meeting new people. You can search Facebook groups, meetups, travel websites, and social events that gather older women together to do activities.
Read UNEXPECTED FRIENDSHIPS ARE EVERYWHERE, WAITING TO BE FOUND.
Also, KEEPING SCORE IS FOR GAMES AND SPORTS NOT RELATIONSHIPS
Has your marriage ended? How did you know it was time to leave? What advice would you give other women who are struggling with the decision to stay or go? Let’s have a conversation and support each other!
Tags Divorce After 60
Carer for my husband don’t love him like a used to
Hello I’m 53, I gave up my career to run a business with him. Hes realy sweet but fits of anger and yelling, namecalling, the walking on eggshells exhausts me. But I have nothing! Nothing in my name, nonsavings, no career, I’m afraid I have no money to start over. The business is also our home and mortgaged to the max.
Not sure where to go or what to do?
I will always love him but i can no longer be yelled at and talked down to .
Hello, I feel your pain. I have been in your position for 32 years and always knew that things were not right. I have just realised that my husband is probably narcissistic although not diagnosed. I no longer put up with his anger, shouting, blaming , lack of responsibility and selfishness.
I was so in love with him but enough is enough. I’m going through breast cancer and his lack of empathy and caring broke my heart.
I no longer respect or love him and I know he won’t change.
if any of this resinates with you , ask him to leave. Get a good lawyer, you will be entitled to your share of everything.
i too am frightened of my new future, but my well-being and sanity are more important.
I hope it helps knowing you are not alone. Read up on narcissistic husbands.it’s been very empowering and enlightening to me. Good luck.
and don’t!!! I do the same thing and I believe I am being WEAK! You are young enough (not that that should be a factor) to enjoy a full life. If you can-get out
Hi ladies. Allow me to express my ongoing battle with a 40year relationship that sporned two beautiful children.
As the nest was close to empty,just a 28 yr old boy-man was left.
I was devastated to arrive home from work and see all my clothes and belongings lying outside on the gravel driveway.
So I moved into the studio shed on the property.
I felt guilty! like I must have done something to deserve this treatment. I just retracted myself into a reclusive state of being….the wanting of forgiveness
I’m so sorry that happened to you. That is garbage and he should be ashamed of himself.
You are way stronger than you think. One day at a time. Free consult with an attorney, with 4 stars, prefer a woman. There are people to support you!
Yell at him back! Tell him that you love him, but that he’s being a real motherfucker who’s hurting your feelings. If he legitimately feels bad, you might be in a better spot afterwards. If he doesn’t, then you know that he really doesn’t care.
The FIRST step is going to an attorney and find out what you will be entitled to. Second should be a therapist to support you all the way and give you advice. Im so happy I finally jumped, even though Im working part-time.
Divorce does not have to be painful or messy. My exhusband went to work one day, nearly 20 years ago, & I moved out. I think I gave him the
shock of his life, but he never pleaded for me to come back & was financially supportive (of our daughter). Six months later, he was sent overseas with his job, which was great-timing; our daughter spent a part of those years in Europe & some months here. We had had some happy years, but then alcohol (him) got in the way.
Ladies, please don’t ever, ever allow a man to belittle, name-call or gaslight you.
Looking back, I should have left much earlier, & it was only when our 8 1/2 year old daughter suggested that I “have a break” (from the abuse) that I packed our bags.
Same scenario for me. Except my kids are grown.
I left my now ex husband 5 years ago after 36 years of marriage. I was 57 and had never lived on my own. It took me years to do it and I was terrified! I moved into a modern bedsit (that was all I could afford) and had some counselling. I slowly became more confident about me and never once thought ‘what have I done’. I have a new partner now but I’m a stronger more independent person and able to say what I’m thinking and know I’ll be heard. Life is good!
How did you cope??
You sound like such a wonderful person. I just can’t imagine being that brave and courageous. I’m under threat from my partner to leave me and I’m just confused and hurt. I’m even responding to my adult children’s questions about Christmas plans with my partner and his children. And yet I don’t even know if we’ll be together but I can’t tell the children that yet, in case my partner and I work things out. I’m scared of being alone as well and I’m just so pleased you have met someone.
Being alone is WAY better than being frustrated and miserable, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
My 32 year marriage ended ten years ago.I thought the world ended but I was mistaken. At almost 69 I am living my best life ever.
That gives me hope
I ended my 33 year marriage 2 years ago
Many of the above mentioned issues and a sometimes violent adult son.
It’s hard ! . I left during Covid lockdown another man who shared similar interest through an online app ( not dating) , encouraged me to leave . He also had an extremely difficult marriage situation.
We both left and are together now.
Neither of us dreamed we would ever do anything like this .
There have been many sad times because families are separated.
Difficult circumstances around him losing everything. I’ve been luckier keeping my loved ones .
I guess I’ve got one form of peace and love that I craved .
But I’ve now got many other worries .
I don’t think there’s a perfect solution
Waiting for much happier times
Its been 23 years of marriage to guys who only had a great job with a great income, & that had been married for 18 years with 4 kids to a women that was 10 years younger, they both filed bankruptcy and got divorced, I met him 2 years after, I had my own house. No bills. All was paid off except my mortgage and I had a savings account! He moved into my home that was fully furnished, he came with a boat a motorcycle and a truck! That should have raised flags, but it didn’t, I thought he would eventually pitch in for vacations or anything we bought, but he had a bankruptcy on his record. So he could not get credit. Well guess who had all the credit ME!! that should have been another clue. But it wasn’t. He also had esophagus issues and gall bladder, which was taken care of. After that he looked for illnesses he just wanted a care taker, but I stayed feeling sorry for him, I still could believe his wife of 18 years & 4 children wanted a divorce from this nice gentleman, I thought I had won the grand prize!
My biggest mistake!
He was a gentleman, he loved doing & going places as long as i paid for it, but never paid attention to this. Once my money ran out it was all about him * his money, he never shared unless I complained, , im 67 years old, I can’t take this marriage anymore, its depressing, there’s no sex for over 1st years, doesn’t try to please in any way securely, but on the other hand, he doesn’t like to bathe unless i tell him to do it.
I just feel like I’m ready to leave. But when I bring it up for him to change. He calls me selfish and spoiled, he doesn’t like my adult children who are very well established and don’t need anything from me, yes his kid are full grown in their 40 & 50’s who only visit to ask for money and he gives it to them without payback. I’m nervous, can I do it on my own,
Your situation sounds a lot like mine. I’m not married but have been living with a guy for 22yrs. I’m 62. I can’t take it.
I was the one who had money when he moved in with just a backpack (red flag anyone?!) and he spent it all. I got an inheritance from my father that lasted, oh, a year with this guy around. Of course I wanted to buy his love!!. It wasn’t a small inheritance, either. I had 2 little children I should’ve been saving for but ofc this deadbeat came first for SOME reason beyond my comprehension.
I have never been on a date with him, nor have I ever gotten Birthday OR Christmas presents from him. Oh, I took him out to dinner many times when I had money. He got presents for every occasion.
Now I’m physically disabled and I feel like he is scrutinizing whether I actually am or not, even though a car ran over my leg, I fell down 16 stairs and snapped my knee— and more– did he even visit me in the hospital? Nope. Call?? Ha! And never once does he take over things I find very difficult to do now my mobility is comprised.
I’m a collector. I find out he’s a hoarder. Coke bottles, paper, plastic bags— clothes all over the place– and it’s running my things I’ve worked so hard to collect. Does he Truly care? If he did he help me instead of telling me “just say the word and I’ll help!” I’ve… said the word so many times I’ve given up. A lot of my displays are ruined simply bc I can’t get to them thru his stuff.
I kid myself into believing I love him. I don’t know if I ever did.
My first (late) hubs was the love of my life. We were broke (funny how I pick the broke ones…) but we were so happy. Joined at the hip, we went everywhere together and I really can’t think of a day he didn’t bring me flowers or some little trinket he thought I’d like. We had 2 kids. It was idyllic most of the time. He made me 5 gardens and always had Me on his mind first. This guy barely thinks of me it would seem.
I’ve got ADHD, and so do my kids. Impulsivity rules the day. After my wonderful husband and I had to split in 2000, (long story, and he passed in 2016,) I had what I thought was my rebound. Nope. That ended and I frantically looked around for a man to help me with my kids. (Why? I could’ve don’t that on my own! Years of conditioning…)
This man I speak of now was amazing at the time, taking us to places we needed to go, etc. We even went out! Ithought he would take care of us! Thinking about it though, it was always on my dime.
Now we’re being faced with eviction bc HE didn’t work for 3yrs. Says bc Covid bc he’s got COPD. Understandable but GEEZ. I’m on SSI and so is my grown kid who lives with us. How am I supposed to get away when I don’t even make enough to pay for a studio?!
I have no family, they just think I’m looking for a handout. They’re bootstraps kind of ppl.
Anyway I know I’ve gone on replying to a 3mo old post but it struck a chord. Did I mention he eats all my food, replaces it, and then eats it?! (My son and I eat separately.) Hello, common sense!?
I don’t know how to get away. I’m being gaslight, lied to (he even shoplifts now!) He never used to do either. He had glaucoma now, doing very little about it–I keep feeling oh God he’s going blind how can I leave him but the other half of me says Get out NOW before he IS blind!
How do I DO this???
Get away from this loser and user now! Love and hugs
I know it’s hard .
He isn’t treating you well .
You know it’s a bad situation
Tell him he has treated you badly !!
I did this under different circumstances . I was lucky I had somewhere else to go .
I left ! After 33 years marriage.
ABSOLUTELY! You have already been doing it on your own.
I REALLY needed to hear that right now. Thank you
Listen to Paul Simon “50 ways to leave your lover.” Jump on a barrel, Cheryle … lol, I know…but not much rhymes with Cheryle 🙂