How Being Positive Can Help Dispel Feelings of Loneliness After a Gray Divorce

How Being Positive Can Help Dispel Feelings of Loneliness After a Gray Divorce

Gray Divorce AFCThe term "gray divorce" is generally used to refer to people getting divorced in their fifties. Often, you'll find that these are couples who stayed together for the sake of the children. And as soon as the kids were safely off to college, the couple didn't feel the need to stay together anymore. Of course, things may not be as cut and dried as this; there are many other reasons why people get divorced as well. But if the couple has been married since their twenties, then it's likely that they stuck it out for the kids.


Like any other divorce, the thing that's most scary about a gray divorce is the idea of being alone. You get used to having someone around to do normal things with, such as running errands or watching TV. You might have other couple friends that you went to meet together. Even if you didn't spend a lot of time together, there's a certain sense of comfort in having someone else in the house at the same time. So the idea of losing that can be intimidating.

Friends and Kids

It's more than likely that one of the two spouses will also lose their friends because friends always end up having to take sides in a divorce, thus enhancing the feelings of loneliness. Although children don't have to take sides, the fact is that the child will end up feeling more sympathy for the parent that they are closer to.


When you've been one half of a couple for so many years, your dating skills are quite rusty. You might feel self-conscious about approaching a member of the opposite sex. Women often complain that men their age are looking for younger women. And if the men are fairly successful in their careers, younger women are also open to dating them. So there are some obstacles when it comes to dating again.


It's important to keep in mind that you're not going to be alone for the rest of your life. A lot of self-help gurus recommend that you should remind yourself about all the good things in your life; this will give you the motivation you need to keep going. Try online dating or download an app which will allow you to chat and become comfortable with someone before meeting them. And remember that you now have the freedom to try whatever you like. Be adventurous.

Dating After Divorce

dating couplesYou're recently divorced. You married your high school sweetheart and haven't been on a date in 25 years. At the end of your marriage, there certainly weren't many romantic sparks, and now you feel really out of touch with your romantic and sensual side. Maybe you've been on a few blind dates, dabbled in online dating and even checked out the health club. But your nerves are frayed, your self confidence is low, and the whole idea of dating again knocks you for a loop. Whether you are a man or a woman, getting back into the dating game is not for the faint hearted. Here are some tips to get you feeling confident about your dating skills:

  1. Leave your baggage at the door- This should be pretty common sense, but many people use the new date partner as a sounding board for all of the woes of the recently ended relationship. Nothing kills potential romance faster than a hang dog look as you go on about your ex. If you need an outlet, get a good therapist- (I may know of a couple that can help!)
  1. Focus on fun- putting too much importance on one date sets you up for failure. Have fun and take your time, deciding of you like this person enough to see again.  Approach each person as a new beginning, really looking at both their interests and yours- are they a good match?
  1. Explore your playful side- after a divorce, your self confidence is low, you may feel unattractive and undesirable. Make an extra effort with your appearance, and spend some time on yourself. Engage with your social network and focus on keeping good eye contact and open body language.
  1. Use your common sense when starting to date again- red flags are warnings that should not be ignored. If your self confidence is low, you may think that you don't deserve a healthy relationship or that you won't find someone else, and that you need to settle for the first person you meet. If you find yourself thinking, " Well, I can live with that" or "I can change him/her", think again about what you are doing. Remember, the traits of that person will only be amplified as they become more comfortable with you.
  1. Meet someone new- volunteer, take a class, ask your social circle for referrals or recommendations. This takes away some of the risk of going out with a complete stranger. Find someone with the same interests as you and suggest a meeting. Even if it's a not a perfect match for you, you could develop lasting friendships and increase your social network.

This can be an exciting time, and it's normal to have some fears. Keep things light and easy,  and use these times to improve your fun loving abilities. Dating after divorce may just be your next great adventure!

When the Fat Lady Sings

Fat lady singsIn therapy, one of the most frequent questions I am asked is "How do you know when it's really over? When is it time to give up?" That's a good question, one with many different perspectives. In today's society, it seems to be easier to quit and move on with a new love than to try and work it out with the old.  And why not? New love is exciting, passionate and all encompassing.   In looking at the idea of a new relationship to replace the old, we are continually flooded with media that gives us guarantees and promises of relief from old wounds. Dating sites are abundant, so that a person can even go "shopping" to see if there is anyone out there that better meets their needs, before breaking up with the current partner.  Why stay with the old, broken relationship when there are so many other possibilities? Making the commitment to stay in a relationship that has gone south is a difficult one- so when does the fat lady sing? Here are some tips to tell if you should move on or work it out:

  •  Respect- do you still have some for each other? Answering "no" does not necessarily mean the end of the relationship. Respect, even when lost, can be regained with a change in actions, behavior and perspective.
  • Goals and directions- if you have lost these with each other, can they be recaptured? All relationships go through stages, and the goals will change with those transitions.
  • Values- moral, ethical and lifestyle. When these are out of alignment, it's difficult to make a relationship work. Common sharing of these values is the one of the predictors of relationship success.

Recently, a study, showed almost 30% of respondents indicated that they were interested in reconciliation, even after the divorce proceedings had begun (Doherty, 2010). Couples that participated in the survey were approximately half way through a divorce/co-parenting class, and indicated interest in reconciliation services, had they been offered to them. What does that say about our ability to make a decision, one of the most important decisions that we may ever make? It shows that in many relationships that we think are broken beyond repair, we still want the relationship to work! When there is motivation, there is still hope.

The single most important thing that I tell my clients is this- do everything you can to repair the relationship. You never want to have to look back and wonder "Could I have done more? If I had just done this, would we still be together?" When you can walk away and honestly say that you have put your all into it, your personal integrity will be intact. And that's what you will proudly be taking with you into the future.