Going through a divorce is pretty much one of the hardest things in life. It can tear your guts out like nothing else, except possibly the loss of a child. Somedays it feels impossible to get out of bed when you are going through a divorce. You wake up and remember that your life is falling apart.
I was in my early 50’s when my divorce happened. Statistically midlife divorce is on the rise, and surprisingly, it is often initiated by women. Due to the notable growth in divorce statistics for this age group, there is now a term for midlife divorce: Gray Divorce.
Divorce Can Be Financially Devastating For Midlife Women
Gray divorce is defined as the increasing trend of divorce later in life. It is on the rise in the United States. Researchers believe that Gray Divorce is particularly difficult due to the impact on assets that have been accumulated over a long-term marriage. Retirement, equity in properties, and other financial gains are often dramatically impacted as a result of midlife divorce.
Typically, divorce splits all accumulated assets in half, unless you had some type of prior agreement (a prenuptial agreement for example). For women, divorce is particularly financially damaging. At minimum, it is a step down in lifestyle, and more likely it will take you closer to the poverty threshold. If you are worried about money, it makes it extra hard to get out of bed during a divorce.
Isn’t It Easy If You Wanted The Divorce?
Some people believe that if you wanted the divorce, it should be easy to go through it. That is completely wrong! There is no easy way to disassemble a life! No matter how things fell apart, your marriage began with the typical hopes of love, fidelity and living into the golden years together.
When you feel like you cannot get out of bed, you must focus all your energy on this one thought: You will be happy again. Affirm it, digest it, feel it in your bones, you WILL find happiness again. It will look different, it will feel different, but there is hope on the other side of divorce.
Here are some things that helped me get out of bed during my divorce. Please know you have my empathy and compassion. I remember wishing that I could take a pill, that would make me sleep for 2 years. And when I woke up, I would have a new life, chosen by someone else but perfect for me. How silly is that?
The only way to go forward is to go through. We cannot go around our mountains, we cannot sleep through our difficulties. We must go through the things that seem capable of killing us.
Focus on These Things to Help You Get Out of Bed While Going Through a Divorce
Make sure you exercise. It is critical to move your body during a divorce. Research has linked exercise as one the best ways to beat depression. It does not matter what you choose to do, get your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day. Maybe you want to begin training for the 5K you always dreamed of running. Weight lifting was my go-to exercise, it wore me out and helped me sleep. The choice is up to you, make sure you are moving your body.
Remember it will not always be this way. You are in tremendous pain, everything hurts. Your spirit, your soul and most likely, your body hurts as well. Accept the temporary pain, allow your body to feel the weight of the divorce. And then remember, it will get better. Studies have shown us that the first year is the most difficult after a divorce.
According to research, when a divorced person approaches the two-year mark, they are well under way to being stabilized and have begun to heal. Of course, every person has a unique timeline to healing and feeling whole after a divorce. Its okay if you are still struggling with negative emotions as a result of your divorce, but please consider exploring your feelings with a licensed therapist if you feel stuck.
There will be healing in your story, give it time.
Find your people and let it all hang out! Choose one person to share all the dirty details with, preferably someone with a bad memory. I had one friend that listened to my divorce despair, and she was a godsend for me. She was accepting and empathic. And conveniently she has a terrible memory, so I did not have to be worried about hurtful gossip leaking out.
Heads Up! The next paragraph is the MOST important thing to remember while navigating divorce.
DO NOT MAKE YOUR CHILD YOUR CONFIDANTE. Treat that like it is the 11th Commandment! It is abusive to vent to your child about the other parent. No exceptions. Even if your child is a full-grown adult, DO NOT dump your divorce pain on them. See a therapist, hire a best friend, journal all your anger until your fingers fall off- BUT do not make your child your confidante.
Start something new that is yours alone. Search for a new hobby, personal goal or take action to learn more about something that has always fascinated you. While being part of a couple is enjoyable, it can be hard to define yourself as a unique person when you are married. Take this time to carve out a new identity for yourself as a woman.
Divorce sucks. Getting out of bed while you are going through a divorce is challenging, but you have what it takes to make it through. Feel the pain, accept the loss and allow yourself to dream again about am amazing new fulfilling life. Focus on self growth and give yourself permission to grieve, laugh, scream and sleep as needed. Trust me, you will heal and most likely, will be closer to the person you dreamed of being during the dark divorce days.