If you subscribe to the theory that 50 is the new 30, that makes 40 the new 20, and so on. The bottom line is that you may never be too old to start over – unless you think you are. Divorce comes with a unique set of challenges at any age. If you're willing to tackle them, and if you think you'll be happier on the other side of the process, your age shouldn't deter you.
Oh No, Not Again!
If you've been married for a long time, chances are that you've developed a set pattern of behavior that's inextricably rooted in your relationship with your spouse. If he's overbearing, you may have learned to be timid. If he's a procrastinator, you may feel like you have to take care of everything or disaster will result. Leaving your marriage may give you an opportunity to rediscover the old you, and to set new boundaries the next time around. If you date someone a few times and you sense that he can be overbearing, you can back off rather than repeat your past mistakes. Your new relationship may be happier and more fulfilling – and you're never too old for that. There's no rule that says you can't be happy in your dotage.
It Is All About You
A bad marriage can drain the energy right out of you. It can leave you depressed and lethargic. Ending your marriage and starting over may not be a matter of diving into another relationship right away but of making life all about you for a while. Take the time to regain your mental, emotional and physical equilibrium. Remember all the things you used to do that brought you pleasure, and start doing them again. Focus on yourself for a while. When you have restored your mental and physical energies, it doesn't matter whether you're 20, 30 or 40. You'll feel peppier and you'll have something more to offer a new partner, regardless of your age.
Face Down That Mirror
If you're 40, you probably don't look the same as you did at 20 – and if you do, then you should sell your secret! Even if you've taken exceptionally good care of yourself, the passing years have likely had some effect on your physique. If you can accept that, then your age should not be a barrier to starting over, but it is something to think about and work on. Entering into a new relationship involves baring your soul and the rest of yourself, so make sure you're comfortable in your own skin, no matter what condition your skin is in. Of course, if you're carrying a few extra pounds, you'll probably feel better if you lose them, but do it for you -- not just because you're prepping for a new partner.
Who's Going to Pay?
Whenever two incomes pool together to support a standard of living in a single home, that standard is usually superior to what one person can fund on her own. Whether you're too old to start over financially is a question only you can answer. The older you are, the more difficult this might be. Your job market may have shrunk due to issues such as age discrimination. Your skills may be rusty, if you've been out of the workforce for years, and maybe there's not be a lot of time for you to fine-tune them and to save toward retirement. You might have brought home the bacon in your marriage – but now your spouse is counting on alimony. If creature comforts are important, you might want to talk to a divorce attorney before you take the plunge. Try to get an honest appraisal of what your financial life will be like post divorce. You don't want to find yourself feverishly looking for a new relationship because you can't make ends meet on your own.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images