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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Love and Marriage after 40 - Divorce and Empty Nesting

What begins middle age?  When do you find yourself dating and marrying for a second time? 
According to the National Center for Health Statistics:

"What leads couples to divorce in later life, after many years of marriage? A 1970s Canadian study of over two hundred individuals divorcing after twenty or more years of marriage found that adultery, alcoholism, and incompatibility were frequently given as causes. In this sample, 75 percent of the middle-aged and older adults noted long-term marital unhappiness, and about half claimed to have postponed divorce until their children were adults."

Although this study was in the seventies, things have not changed.  In fact, for my age group, middle-aged divorces are becoming more, not less common.  In my circle of friends and family, adultery seems to be the biggest killer of marriages, yet the couple does not divorce until the kids are all out of the house, or at least in their late teens.  So, what do you do when not only your spouse, but your children as well, leave the home?  
It's called, "Getting Back on the Horse."  Like Dede always said, you must pick yourself up and wipe off the mud.  Move on.  It's a bitter thing to bear, but one must do it to survive, keep a relationship with your child/children, and to find love again.  How do you do all this and keep your sanity?  I'm not sure sanity is important, because when a spouse leaves, you do kind of go into a manic rush.  What do I do now?  This is a common question.  It's equally hard on the kids, as they don't have their "home" to come back to when they are gone: mom is in one place and dad the other.  
The divorce aside, as it happens, sooner or later in the majority of marriages in the U.S., the empty nest is even harder, particularly when you put everything into your kid/kids.  Once you get over the initial shock, however, you find a freedom as never before.  It is one that you can't quite explain till you go through it.  Kind of like people telling you that your kids will grow up really fast, and you don't believe them till, 'Poof' they are grown!  This is your time.  Your job is not over, but the day-to-day management of children is erased.  This is the time to find yourself.  
I know, that's a major cliche, but it happens to be true.  You are free to pursue your own interests, take your own adventures, and find another love - if that's what you want.  How do you do that?
Stay tuned ...

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Thank you so much for the response!