Statistics indicate nearly half of all marriages in the United States are destined to end in divorce.  But, for years your marriage was secure and successful and the statistics didn't affect you.  Now what?

No reward for your sacrifice

You faced hard times and got through them.  But, now you and your spouse have found yourselves on the other side of the statistics.  You're not only part of the on-going divorce statistics, about the same since the 80's (for every 2 marriages that occur in the U.S. per year, there is 1 divorce), but your divorce is included in the currently surging rate of older Americans divorcing, known as a "grey divorce".

It may make you feel like a victim.  Perhaps you're angry you spent so many years dedicating yourself to something that has now ended.

While many of us go through divorce, ending a marriage that has endured so many years of good times and bad can be far more difficult then the typical, American marriage that ends after about 8 years. 

You have a right to be disappointed, angry and resentful.  Your marriage made it through the hard times.  You compromised, let things go and worked it out for years.  Now, it may seem that your reward for all this dedication is life alone at a time when many of us least want to be single.

Why me?

Some of the hardest things we learn in life include bad endings.  Despite the need for someone or something to blame, situations and life just happen and not to our benefit.  It's not because we're bad people or have done something to deserve these circumstances.  Some of our decisions may have taken us here, but those same decisions may have also affected positive change in our life, as well.  It's hard to reconcile what was right and where we went wrong.

Negative feelings towards our former spouse won't help us feel better about our situation.  Primarily because our former spouse is simply part of our past and our focus should be on our future.  Regardless our stage of life, we deserve every minute, our happiness. 

We can't change the past or other people, including our ex.  So, thinking about him/her is a waste of time. 

In fact, the more we engage in such resentment and agony, the worse we feel.  It takes many of people years to let go of the pain and hurt from a former spouse, someone of whom we dedicated our life.  It's difficult to think about being alone or even starting a brand new relationship with someone to share our golden years together. 

We sacrificed our own happiness to accept and provide all of ourselves and now, in a time of our life we most need our spouse he/she is not there .  There is no settlement that can recognize this loss. 

The longevity of our marriage can absolutely cause us to feel stuck in each stage of divorce for a longer period of time than the average divorcee.  But, at our age, we simply can't waste a minute festering over the wrongs of our past.  But, how do you let go to ensure a better tomorrow?

No time to waste

We may be moving slower, but life is moving faster.  We shouldn't spend these years in a state of regret - life is too precious, time a commodity! 

Knowing and understanding the Stages of Divorce will help you recognize your emotions, understand them and adequately process your feelings so that you can move forward in your life.  It helps to have peers that understand how you feel based on similar experiences.  Support groups are helpful in meeting others with like circumstances with whom you can share your feelings and form new friendships.  You may also benefit from therapy and counseling to assist you in developing a recovery plan.

Recovery will not be easy.  Your new situation may not be what you originally wanted for your life.  However, it does give you an opportunity to truly discover who you are and what you could achieve.  You can be yourself, be who and what you always wanted to become.  So be it.

Really delve into the things you denied yourself the opportunity to know, think, do or want.  Own your life.  Redirect yourself as "you", not just "parent", "spouse" or "provider".  Have the courage to reach beyond the expectations of those titles.

See what you want and know that no one can stop you, but you.  Be informed, but, not always influenced.  Be a doer.  Don't spend time looking back at what was, what could have been or what shouldn't have happened.  When you do, you are looking in the wrong direction.  Turn around and seek the future. 

Your past is part of you, it will always be there and in many ways, when you are focused on today and tomorrow, your past will actually help you attain more personal happiness and fulfillment.  Your past provides strength, experience and wisdom, all of which provide a better opportunity for greater life achievements.  But, first you must expect more, want to discover more, live more.  You must want to find what you currently lack and are able to provide.  Find what's missing.  Find "you".  

It starts with one question, "Who am I?".  Only you can answer that question.  So, answer it and discover what is possible.


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