Starting over at 50: Essential tips for happiness after divorce

Finding yourself alone after being married for the majority of your adult life isn’t easy, so how do you cope?
Rediscover confidence - Starting over at 50

The number of divorces among the over-50s continues to rise according to recent ONS figures. The reason could be anything from the children finally leaving home to the sudden realisation that you have nothing in common with your partner. If you are newly divorced, or even newly widowed, here’s some much-needed help for starting over at 50.

How do you perceive divorce?

We all hear the term ‘broken home’ enough, but divorce doesn’t necessarily mean destruction. Think of it more as a rearranging or remodelling of you life. Yes, there are many aspects of your life that will change. But there’s no need to look at your marriage – your life – as a total failure and a complete disaster. Whatever kinds of changes your divorce requires, the key concept here is that you get to choose how your life gets rebuilt.

It might seem strange only having to think about yourself for the most part, but instead of succumbing to feelings of loneliness, look upon it as a chance to do all the things you wanted to do before but couldn’t. If your ex-partner never liked to fly, for example, make sure you take the opportunity to do so. Nicole Kidman could never wear heels when she was married to Tom Cruise because of the height difference, so you can bet your life she wore them all the time once they were divorced. Why? Just because she could.

mature woman - starting over at 50

Build your confidence

When your self esteem is in the dumps, it’s easy to beat yourself up and think of yourself as a failure, so to help rebuild your confidence, you need to focus on the positives in your life, so you can begin to feel better about yourself and life in general.

Replace all those self-defeating thoughts with affirmations of the person you want to be. List the things that you are good at, recount your past successes, and remember what people have said about you that makes your self-esteem soar.

Along the same lines, replace your negative inner dialogue of words such as “I can’t do it” or “I’m no good” with self-esteem building statements like “I can do it” or “I am successful”. It may feel funny at first, but if you make these affirmations every morning to yourself, your mind will start to focus on them and start believing them to be true.

It is also a good idea to spend time with friends that have positive self-esteem. They can boost your mood and give you a different perspective on your situation. True friends always see the best side of you. When they give you a compliment, believe them.

Time for a change

If you’ve spent years being a housewife, why not take up a part-time job? This can help to give you not only a social life but some real independence. It may well be the first time you’ve earned money in your own right, which can give a new sense of purpose to your life.

Be that confident person you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t think that no-one is going to want you after a divorce. We all have baggage nowadays, and remember that you are a worthwhile person just as you are. Keep this in mind as you consider entering the social scene again.

Preparing to date again

So, how do you contemplate starting over at 50 and re-entering the dating scene?

confident older woman - Starting over at 50

Starting over at 50 – tips for the newly uncommitted

  • Try to balance out time with thrilling new acquaintances with time by yourself, and time with good old friends you can trust.
  • If you don’t already have friends who are single or have recently been single for a significant period of time, find them. Single people will be an incredible resource for you both because they are in a similar phase of life and because they know the ropes of the wacky dating world better than you.
  • You’ll usually know by the second or third date whether you’re vaguely interested in someone. If you’re dreading a next date, you’re not into it.
  • Approach the dating scene with an attitude of experimentation and openness. He or she may not seem like “the one”, but so what? Just have fun – it’ll get you out dating again and therefore boost your confidence.
  • Many of us think we have a “type.” Throw away the checklist and experiment with what really makes you happy (or makes you gag) so that you’re living in reality and not on some remote fantasy island.
  • Flirting is a state of mind – it’s about delighting in someone’s vitality and having them delight in yours. It’s frothy and joyous, not deep or serious. It’s about instant gratification, not long-term goals. The chance to flirt may not last forever, so enjoy the freedom while you can.

If you found Starting over at 50 – life after divorce and the empty nest helpful, you’ll find more guidance for coping with divorce after 50 on our Relationships channel.

Tags: , Last modified: August 22, 2023

Written by 9:35 am Relationships and dating