I’m a woman in my late-40s whose husband, 55, suddenly declared that he wanted a divorce. There’s another woman in his life - younger and eager for the lifestyle we once had, of travelling and living in different countries.
I guess he never really got over those years. Since he can work online and still earn a very good living, he’s doing it again with someone else.
We had a very happy marriage until he got the wanderlust back. I had a solid job and loved our home and community, and showed no interest in picking up stakes yet again.
So, he looked elsewhere and before I knew it, he was planning his exit.
Now, I’m looking for a fresh start here where I have a home, my life feels solid, and I’m respected in my work.
I also have a comfortable circle of devoted friends and some close relatives to share major holidays, all living nearby.
My ex and I didn’t have children together, but a couple of my friends have wonderful young children to whom I’m a caring “aunt.”
So instead of being a sad divorcee, I figure I’m still a fortunate woman with a fine future ahead.
But I’m unsure how to launch my “new” approach to socializing. Do I go online to find male companionship or are there mostly only two options: dating for sex or marriage?
Do I let my men friends at work know that I’d be happy to have dinner after work sometime, rather than go home and eat alone? Or will that send wrong signals to them that I want an affair? I don’t.
What about my image… do I dress more casually to signal a “less attached” profile now that I’m no longer married?
Rules for Starting Over
The first thing to realize when you’re changing your approach to life is this: Not everyone else will see it that way.
Some will be negative, trying to remind you of “who you really are,” or resenting changes you make that they don’t approve.
Ignore what you can, but be thoughtful too. You’re looking for a fresh approach, but not to lose all your support system.
And don’t empty your current closet too soon. You still want to be “yourself,” just with an upbeat, open mind.
If you do join a dating site, be clear in your profile about what you’re looking for, or those men only wanting sex can assume you do, too.
Male “companionship” can be more likely found through joining a group in which you have real interest – e.g. music, art, film, technology, an athletic activity, a bridge club, etc.
Dinners with male colleagues can be problematic even when strictly platonic, if they’re married or attached. The same applies if there’s a power imbalance between you two, i.e. he’s your boss or vice versa.
You want to avert a suspect image at work of you seeking an affair with someone else’s guy, or for career advancement.
Your vision of re-launching yourself in a new mode may be energizing, but don’t forget those important close friends, family members and the kids who consider you their “aunt.”
Do new things with them all - outings that take you to interesting exhibits, community events, even kids’ concerts and school plays, etc.
The more you socialize in different settings, and show all the sides of your interests and personality, the more likely you’ll meet men with whom companionship and dating become natural happenings.
My cousin’s been living with her boyfriend for 15 years. She’s 70, he’s 79, with no children. Over five years she’s helped him through many medical problems, physical and now mental. He gave her Power of Attorney.
As the mental problems increased, she asked his two nieces for help finding him a retirement home where he’s now been for several months. My cousin visits regularly and takes him for all medical appointments.
Now his nieces have decided that she should drop out of the picture totally and also give them POA immediately (he has some money).
My cousin went to see a therapist to try to deal with it in a non-confrontational way. I suggested that she look for a lawyer as well.
Fifteen years living common-law, and a power of attorney document are two factors that definitely require her getting legal advice.
She should not “leave the picture” on just their demand.
Tip of the day:
A “fresh start” after divorce means still being you, with an open mind towards new people.