The divorce rate for middle-aged people is climbing. The unflattering, yet popular term for this is “gray divorce.” Despite the inherent wisdom and emotional maturity of your age, divorce can still be incredibly stressful and even traumatic.
In some cases, people are finding themselves single for the first time since their 20s. Navigating the loneliness and the single world after all that time can seem daunting. Here are a few tips to ease the transition:
Social circle adjustments
Your ex may have somehow walked away with the bulk of your shared friends, which only intensifies your new feelings of loneliness. If your world just got uncomfortably small, step up and make it bigger.
You can join a group that does an activity that you enjoy or even find a new group activity. Get involved in your neighborhood, find volunteer opportunities or attend a class. Anything that gets you out of the house and talking to new people is on the table.
Reinvention after a divorce is extremely cathartic. Change your hair or start a new hobby. If you decide to cleanse yourself through travel, consider a group tour to counteract potential loneliness and eliminate the logistical stress inherent with travel.
Have you always wanted a pet that your ex objected to? Now’s the time. And a little flirting at the dog park never hurt anyone.
Without someone to split expenses, your cost of living is going to increase. Statistically, women come out of a divorce less financially secure than men. Whatever your situation, you’ll almost certainly have to adjust.
There are plenty of ways to cut monthly expenses:
- Living in a smaller home – Houses can be money pits. Consider a condo, they’re far less work than a house and, if you’re moving anyway, it’s easier to meet your new neighbors.
- Ditch the car – After shelter, cars are your most costly expense. If your city is reasonably pedestrian-friendly with good public transport and bike lanes, try going car-free for a few weeks and see how you do. Without a car, you can afford to live in a more expensive neighborhood, with all the necessities within easy walking distance.
- Eat in – Many of us got addicted to food delivery during the pandemic. Start cooking more meals yourself. Your credit card will thank you.
- Health insurance – If you were covered by your ex’s insurance, starting your own coverage is going to come with sticker shock. COBRA is an option, but the Affordable Care Act might be your savior.
This part can feel a bit overwhelming. We are usually pretty set in our ways by this stage in life and adjusting to a new person’s quirks may feel like more trouble than it’s worth.
Take your time. Dating invigorates some people and irritates others. There’s no pressure. Just follow your gut.