Your long-term marriage ended, and after some healing, you are ready to look for love again.
Frightening and exciting, looking for love after a midlife divorce has its challenges. Most likely, you are worried about making the same mistake again and falling in love with a new version of your old spouse.
Noted. And valid.
Can You Find Love After A Divorce?
Divorce can be a rollercoaster of emotions, with so many adjustments to make and obstacles to overcome. But once you are ready to embark on a journey to finding love again, you should know that there are endless possibilities awaiting you!
Finding New Love After Divorce Can Be Challenging
Finding love after a divorce is a combo platter of anxiety! Between bad finances, difficult children from former marriages, an ex-wife who just won’t go away, combined with your own emotional and mental baggage, things can get complicated pretty fast!
Although the amount of never married people is on the rise, for most unmarried/ single middle-aged folks, there is at least one former marriage in their rearview mirror.
You have two options: remain single, which is a perfectly acceptable choice. Or find the next love of your life with the knowledge that you both have self-growth and personal change to accomplish.
Dating At 50 After Divorce
As you know, we carry the emotional baggage from a failed marriage into our next relationship if we don’t reflect on what went wrong and what we need to change going forward.
Assess your past relationships and identify the qualities you value in a partner, the expectations you had that may not have been met, and any negative patterns that need to be broken.
Try entering the dating scene with a clear understanding of your needs and expectations. This will make it easier to identify potential partners who align with your goals and values.
Why Is Dating After Divorce So Hard?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to that question. Each person is a unique bundle of history, emotions, and beliefs. Once we hit middle age, most of our ideas are cemented into the way we see and act within the world.
Unlike our earlier years, when we were more open to being influenced by our romantic partner, as we age we tend to protect our opinions and beliefs about love, self-growth and personal change.
The 2 Most Important Questions For Dating After Divorce
There are only two questions to answer:
- Are you willing to take the risk of finding a new partner at your age?
- And are you prepared to be patient, connected, and supportive as both of you experience triggers from your old relationships?
Simply put, we all are a walking bundle of reactions. Going through a divorce puts a magnifying glass on all the pain and anger that took place in your former marriage. Some people never recover from the pain; they continually identify as a victim of a love gone wrong.
Personal Growth After Divorce Is Important
Other folks process their grief and choose to become a better, more self-aware person after a divorce. They realize that when a marriage ends, it is the result of both partners choices and behaviors. Even if your former spouse cheated on you, there are important quality lessons in that difficult experience.
Before diving into the dating pool again, it is essential to nurture the relationship you have with yourself. Divorce can be a traumatic experience, leaving deep scars and self-doubt in its wake.
Do Some Self-Discovery After Divorce
Take the time to rediscover your passions, your strengths, and your true self. Spend quality time alone, travel, read, meditate, or pick up a hobby that excites you. Appreciate and embrace the person you are now, as this healthy self-love will lay a solid foundation for any future romantic relationships.
How Do You Find Love After A Divorce?
You can find love after divorce, but you will find yourself being challenged in new ways. All people have emotional and mental triggers; it’s part of being human. A trigger is a response caused by a particular action, process, or situation. We are often triggered by memories, smells, the tone of a person’s voice or sometimes certain phrases.
And that my friend, is a good thing! Triggering gives us the chance to explore our unconscious beliefs. The opportunity to investigate our long-term messaging and core reactions is the one way to experience self-growth.
Things To Expect When Finding Love After Divorce
Realize that you have some inner work to do: Like a New Year, the new partner has no idea about the many chapters of B.S. in your previous relationship. Be warned: Romantic history can repeat itself! Especially if you have not spent any time examining your role in the ending of your marriage/partnership.
There is simply no perfect partner, and if we have not done the work of understanding our core issues, chances are good we will, with time, become the same dumpster fire we were before.
Do your repair work before starting a new romantic relationship.
There is a great saying in the therapy world: What you don’t repair, you will repeat.
Frankly, the best place for “repair work” is with a therapist or qualified relationship coach. Working with someone who can help you identify patterns and cycles will help you avoid choosing the same type of unhealthy romantic partner.
Will My Life Get Better After A Divorce?
Allow yourself the luxury of time when re-entering the dating scene. There is no need to rush into another serious relationship, especially right after a divorce. Instead, consider this period an exploration of what the dating world has to offer.
Go on dates with a variety of people to discover what you like and dislike in potential partners, and to reconnect with your own sense of identity.
Keep in mind that you do not owe anyone an explanation for taking things slow. This is your journey, and it’s okay to set boundaries and prioritize your well-being.
When it feels lonely and difficult, remember finding love after divorce is possible.
Who Am I After A Divorce?
I went through a divorce after the age of 50. After my long-term marriage ended, I took some time to understand myself and get curious about what I really wanted in a romantic partnership.
During and after my divorce, I started to see a therapist. That helped me discover my unhealthy thoughts that were impacting my behaviors and choices. For me, much of my negative thoughts came from my childhood. Those thoughts were on auto-pilot and were so deeply buried that I needed another person to help me understand my patterns.
Self-Growth Things I Did During And After My Divorce
- I reconnected with my earlier hopes and dreams by journaling.
- I exercised with the intention to help relieve mental and emotional stress.
- I created a list of yes/no/maybe traits for my next romantic partner.
- I volunteered at a local state park to help fill my extra hours.
- I went out with friends that knew how to have fun. I don’t do “fun” naturally!
- I read many blogs and articles about grey divorce.
- I choose to be excited about my future, even when I felt afraid.
Personal Growth Will Help You Find Love
I have since re-married, and most days are amazing! But to be honest, as a couple, we have days that feel like a roaring dumpster fire, fueled by both of our old wounds and emotional misunderstandings.
Thankfully we both have developed relationship skills that help us communicate in ways that we didn’t know how to before. And honestly, getting re-married in your 50s gives you a sense of how fast time slips away. Knowing that life is short helps us keep the small frustrating things in perspective.
You Can Have A Happy Marriage After Being Divorced
Here are some things my new husband and I have learned to navigate as divorced people who got re-married.
We don’t have to understand it; we just have to accept it. It is very common to see your new romantic partner having an emotional reaction to something that seems ridiculous to you. Watching them be triggered by phrases, music, or memories is a bit like observing a hurt animal, you want to help, but you don’t know where it hurts. Or even more confusing, why it hurts.
Be Curious and Supportive
While it is helpful to understand what they are feeling, give them some time and space to process the trigger. Neutral statements like:” When you are ready to share, I am here to listen” and “Let me know how best to support you while you process this emotion” are validating and supportive without adding judgment to the situation.
Try to remember that it is not about you. Yes, you might the be reason your new partner is triggered, but most likely you did not intend for it to happen. Assuming you are not intentionally trying to hurt them, you did not mean to set the chain of emotional distress into motion.
Let Partner Feel Their Emotions Without Judgement
It is critical to step out of your defensive space and let the other person have their reaction to their emotions. It is not your job to fix, solve, or reject what they are feeling.
Don’t squeeze or put pressure on their emotional wound, just be present to listen and offer emotional safety. Offer them a light physical touch, like a hug or holding their hand. Let them know that you are willing to talk when they feel ready to share.
Don’t Dismiss Red Flags In New Romantic Partners
Important disclaimer: If there is uncontrolled anger verbal, physical, or emotional abuse, you are not safe. Separate yourself from your new romantic partner and seek out a licensed counselor to help you explore the issues in your relationship. We don’t rescue people, no matter how confusing our emotions might be!
Stories Of Finding Love After 2 Divorces
There is a terrible stigma around people who have been divorced multiple times. Yes, it is true that some people are not healthy or mature partners. They need to choose to do the personal work to prepare for a healthy relationship.
But, not all people who have been divorced more than once are incapable of a solid marriage. As a trained Marriage and Family therapist, I know that marriage is much more complex than our cultural definitions.
We honor the length of the marriage, but we fail to evaluate the quality of the marriage.
We get stuck in the quantity over quality trap. Years together are more important than connection, intimacy, and satisfaction. Quick to hand out moral judgments, we forget that old saying:
No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.
We are incapable of judging others marriages, we simply don’t know the details.
Sometimes We Marry The Wrong Person For The Wrong Reasons
Additionally, most of us will marry a partner who is similar to one of our parents. That can be a dysfunctional choice that will set us up for a unhappy complicated relationships.
It is also quite common for folks to marry as an act of rebellion against our family rules. We are tired of being controlled by our family, and in an act of adult independence we choose a partner that helps us rebel against expectations.
While the details of your marriage and divorce are important, it is vital to choose self-growth and deeper understanding of your actions as you look for love after divorce.
Finding Love After Divorce Is Possible!
Navigating new romantic relationships and finding love after divorce is challenging. There will be days when it feels easier to be alone than to spend the energy on emotional support for you and your new person.
But the truth is, a new midlife romantic partner is the best opportunity to work on personal development. Together, you can experience emotional growth, and ultimately, you will move together toward greater self-knowledge and self-compassion.
It’s important to remember that finding love after divorce is a journey, not a destination. Embrace self-love, take the time to reassess your wants and needs, and approach the dating scene with a sense of curiosity and adventure.
Surround yourself with a supportive network and remember that it’s okay to take it slow. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you embark on this new chapter, and trust that the right companion for your path will come along when the time is right.
Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.