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Senior Resources » 17 Resilient Ways to Thrive Through Divorce

17 Resilient Ways to Thrive Through Divorce

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Going through a divorce is hard on anyone. It feels like your entire world is falling apart. People take sides, sometimes you lose friends, and having to split possessions, property, etc. can be painful. Getting a divorce as a senior can be even more so, especially after being with your spouse for so many years. It can be a painful, confusing, emotional experience and hard to cope with. If you are going through a divorce, know that you are not alone. Here are some ways that you can use to help cope during this difficult time.

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1. Grieve

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You may feel you have to keep it together, but you don’t. Going through a divorce can feel like your dreams and goals are dying right in front of you. You have feelings like sadness, loss, and anxiety. Take the time to process these feelings. If you need to cry or scream it out, do so.

2. Find Some Support

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Reach out to your friends and family for emotional support. If people are taking sides and things are toxic, find a divorce support group. Being with others who have or are going through the same thing you can be very beneficial. You will feel safe to speak your thoughts and emotions. Another option is to seek therapy with a professional therapist or counselor.

3. Take Care of You

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It is more important than ever to take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating healthy, balanced meals with lots of fruits and vegetables. If you don’t, start having a normal bedtime and wake-up time. It is important to get the correct amount of sleep for your body. If you are having trouble, you can take melatonin, put on relaxing music, or turn on white noise to help you drift off. Also, make sure you are exercising. This can be something as simple as taking a 30-minute walk in the neighborhood or hitting it hard in the gym.

4. Don’t Isolate

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It is easy to want to be alone to process your emotions, but this can make your sadness worse. Make a point of reaching out to supportive friends who love you unconditionally and will stand by you. Don’t depend on your adult children for support. Try to model resilience to them. They are having a hard enough time coping with their own emotions. Making them feel responsible for your well-being will make the situation harder on them.

5. Seek Positivity

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Surround yourself with the most positive people you know. These people will help make you feel good about yourself and the road ahead. Also, start a hobby that you may have pushed to the wayside or find a new hobby that uplifts you and makes you feel productive.

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6. Focus on the Future

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Although you feel like your marriage failed, it is not a reflection of you as a person. There are many reasons marriages fail, and it’s not always one person’s fault. You are not a failure, nor does a divorce define your value or your worth. Also, take some time to envision what you want your future to look like. Do you want to volunteer somewhere? Downsize from your house? Spend more time with the grandkids? Write a book? Figure out some goals that you want to accomplish and write steps to take to fulfill those goals.

7. Get an Education

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Take some time to research how divorce works in your state and the steps you need to take next. Find an excellent lawyer if you don’t have one. You can also research legal aid organizations and ask friends and coworkers for recommendations who have been in the same situation.

8. Make a Plan

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Write a list of things that need to be done regarding finances, housing, property, setting boundaries, etc., and then break each section down into small steps. This will help things not seem so overwhelming as you go through what needs to be done next.

9. Think About Mediation

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If you and your spouse are having a hard time getting along or deciding, consider mediation via your lawyers. Having someone go back and forth on your behalf will make things easier and less stressful.

10. Communicate Clearly

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Do your best not to argue or call each other names. It’s easy for emotions to run high and become heated in situations like this. If things get too intense, call a timeout so you can both cool down.

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11. Accept Relationship Change

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Learn to accept that your relationship with your spouse is going to change. Let go of the way things used to be and agree to disagree. Focus on what’s important in your life. Your relationship may deteriorate or you may find that you are better as friends than as a married couple. No matter what happens, do your best to accept it and move on.

12. Rely on Your Faith

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If you are a religious person, spend more time in your faith. Pray, read the Bible, and go to church more often. Talk to God a lot. He loves you and cares for you and wants to know about all the concerns of your heart. Surround yourself with positive Christian friends who will encourage you and uplift you. Listen to uplifting Christian music. 

13. Read Self-Help Books

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Do some research on books about coping with divorce and choose the ones that most resonate with you.

14. Listen to Podcasts

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There are podcasts about everything under the sun, research some that talk about coping and healing from divorce and take a listen.

15. Treat Yourself

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Treat yourself to your favorite things once in a while. This could be a gourmet coffee, a new book you have been wanting, or a subscription to your favorite magazine. It could also be as extravagant as an expensive massage or a $300 purse. Whatever your budget allows, treat yourself because you are worth it. 

16. Let Go of Things

garage sale

Take some time to decide what things need to go. If your spouse agrees, have a yard sale and get rid of the things you both don’t want or need anymore, and split the profits. Shop around to lower phone, cable, and internet bills if you are going to be on your own. Don’t forget to take stock of what you already have in subscriptions and see what you may need to get rid of. Getting rid of clutter, both physical and otherwise, will help clear up your mind for the road ahead. 

17. Spend Time with Your Pets

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If you have them and are lucky enough that they are still living with you, spend more time with your pets. Our pets are sensitive to things and know when we are upset. They benefit our lives in so many ways, like helping us be more active, lowering our blood pressure, combating loneliness, and enhancing our heart health. Spend some time cuddling with your pets. It will be beneficial for both of you.

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Thrive Through Divorce

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Divorce is a mind-numbing, emotional experience, but there are ways to help you cope and get through it. Take some time to see which suggestions resonate with you and start implementing them. Although this is a hard time, you are bound to come out stronger and happier on the other side.

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Originally published June 10, 2024

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