Being middle aged and divorcing is not an insurmountable hurdle. I will say divorcing over the age of 40 felt odd. The age of 40 is a milestone, and most celebrate in a big way to mark the occasion. Shortly after turning 40, I was separated and moved.
If I had a crystal ball, I envisioned turning 40 to be a pivotal time in terms of career, finances, parenting, etc. I spent a few wonderful days in Miami to celebrate my birthday. Who spends a milestone birthday without their spouse? This was a clear sign of the downward spiral of a crumbling marriage.
The most excruciating part of the process was mapping out our next steps. My planning was about making all decisions in the best interest of three vs. one. One thing I learned is that not all decisions are warmly received by children, but they learn very quickly how to adapt to change. Unfortunately, we cannot predict the behavior of other people, and as much as we strive to make changes stress-free, there are no guarantees.
I think divorce is hard at any age; however, entering your 40s while divorcing feels like an oxymoron. This should be a time of feeling empowered, being unapologetically self-confident, and owning your voice.
What I have witnessed in real life is mind boggling. I am really irked with the assumption that being divorced means you're lonely, miserable, and desperate. For some reason, I find that having the status of single insinuates that you're looking. I remember the question posed: "so you want to start over at 40?" Now, thinking back, the question was asked not out of concern, but selfishness. I have learned that some adults are utterly afraid of change and will live days, months, and years filled with unhappiness. Fear is a deterrent for progression. I had to really listen to myself on how I wanted the next chapters to unfold. As a friend told me, "we" (women) change and "they" (men) do not. The fear of complacency and living the next chapters unhappily was more than enough to leave.
It was three-and-a-half years after leaving my home that I had the momentum to move forward with mapping out our lives. Change inevitably takes time, and I wish I could say there are no challenges and everything is easy—but that would be a lie. I knew what I wanted for myself was far greater than what anyone else could envision for me. The desire to live in peace should never be compromised. If I had to do it all over again, there is not one thing I would change. Well, there is one thing—deciding to leave sooner than later, and minimizing the instability for the kids.
Experience is truly the best teacher. I know now that I have to set standards for all elements of my life. There is no room for mediocrity or accepting what others think is right for me. My next chapters have to be on my terms!
Written by AJ, aka Cocoa Mommy
AJ is a divorced mother of two living in the PA burbs. She is a chemical engineer, DIYer, FitMom, foodie, coffee lover, wine lover, naturalista, and cooking and baking maven. Her blog, CocoaMommy.com, is a lifestyle blog that chronicles her life as a single mom with two kids, sharing her DIY projects for decor, food, clothing, and fitness.