Am I the only one not shocked by Bill & Melinda Gates’ announcement that they are getting divorced? Midlife divorce seems pretty common. I’m not here to discuss the actual reasons why Melinda Gates may have filed for divorce. I’m interested in why so many women in midlife choose to divorce their husbands.
The main reason I started this blog was because I had to reinvent my life at the age of 48. My husband passed away and with his passing the trajectory of my life changed. Every dream, plan and hope that I had for the future died with him. Our kids were grown so I didn’t have the responsibility of their care. They both had a few more years of college, and I knew they would be off to live their own lives.
I had to redefine who I was without my husband and without my kids. As I went on this journey of self-discovering a new me, I realized that most women have to do this in midlife either because of death of a spouse, divorce of a spouse or empty nest from children leaving. What I was going through was terrible, but it wasn’t anything that most women don’t go through in some capacity. We are just all on different journeys.
Now Choose Life has evolved a bit from being a blog about my journey through grief to a blog about helping midlife women reclaim their lives- Readjust their dreams and goals- Reestablish who they really are, and sadly, that sometimes means that they divorce their husbands.
I personally don’t have very many close friends who have divorced in midlife, but I have heard plenty of stories of women who have.
I truly believe that, as women, we do everything for our families– especially our children. We “put up with” a lot for the sake of a happy home and happy kids. So when those kids grow up and leave, there is no reason to stay in the relationship that perhaps has not been healthy. According to an article in Better After 50, 66% of midlife of “grey” divorces are initiated by women.
Sadly the article states that the main reason given for such divorces is “emotional or psychological abuse.”
I feel that another reason for divorce after the kids leave is that husbands and wives haven’t fed their relationships because they’ve been so busy raising the kids. I have heard this many times from friends who fear what their marriages will be like after the kids are gone. Happily, none of my friends have divorced because of this, but they certainly have had to work on marriages and establish a new kind of relationship with their husbands.
I hate to see any marriage end. Marriage is established by God. I loved my first marriage and I love my second. A partnership is how I want to live my life. Marriage is the ultimate partnership.
Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”
I guess I’m writing this to tell you that if you are here because of midlife divorce, I hope you have found a tribe. You are welcome here. Whether you’ve had to reinvent your life due to death, divorce or empty nest, you certainly are not alone! We are all in this together.
Do you have a story to tell about reinventing yourself? I and my readers would love to hear it!! It can be anonymous or you can proudly display your name– it’s your choice! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to connect.