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The Positive & Negative Aspects of a Divorce at Midlife

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr, studioD

Some people who are approaching a divorce at midlife see the prospect as positive, while others fear it will be a negative experience. Pros and cons to divorce exist at this -- or at any age. One benefit includes getting out of a loveless, sexless and unhappy marriage, while the cons include taking a hit on your retirement plans and dealing with the responses of your adult children. Decide to make the best of your midlife divorce experience.

Starting Over -- Not Quite

Some midlife newly divorced singles approach the divorce as an opportunity to start over, but with far more knowledge than they had in their 20’s and 30’s, according to “Psychology Today” columnist Pamela Cytrynbaum, in the article, “Can Finding Love After Divorce, Over 40, Be This Great?” You can learn from your previous relationships and choose better the next time. And with your new start, you can rewrite your roles, decide the type of person you want in your life and go with it. By this stage in your life, you know who you are, what you want and don’t want and you have lots of wisdom and experience to draw from, according to Eli J. Finkel, a social psychology professor interviewed for the “Wall Street Journal” article, “When Romance Is a Click Away.”

Divorce Fears

Many couples who are facing midlife divorce realize that they are about to take a big financial hit, according to the “USA Today” article, “Boomer Divorce: A Costly Retirement Roadblock.” That retirement account you worked on all these years must be split, and you might not have enough time to make up the difference before your target retirement age, which means that you might have to delay retirement or live on less. Wives who stayed home to raise kids may fear trying a find a job to meet their financial needs. Other worries that nag at midlife-divorcing couples include loneliness, health issues, inheritances and the reaction of adult children.

The Midlife Dating Game

Most midlife-divorce singles enter the dating market at some point, according to an AARP 2003 survey. Roughly one-third of those singles date exclusively, one-third date non-exclusively and the remaining third don't date, but are not opposed to dating. That leaves you many options for dating partners, once you decide to enter the pool and there are many Internet sites ready to help you do that. If you don’t want to look for a date online, many ways exist to meet other midlife singles, such as churches and social groups. Your kids are often independent, which leaves you the freedom to get out and meet people.

Looking Forward

Many midlife divorcees don’t have a lot of patience with games and other kinds of nonsense from prospective mates, according to Dr. Finkel. They have definite ideas about what they need and want. They might not have much tolerance for a dating partner with a lot of baggage, reveals the AARP survey. On the whole, midlife divorced singles face the future with a positive attitude and hope for the future.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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