RELATIONSHIPS

Some Advice to Middle-Aged Women on the Verge of Divorce

Wendy Cohan

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Photo by Nickolas Nikolic on Unsplash

According to available Census data, nearly half of all first marriages in the US end in divorce, often around the time we send our kids off to college. In second marriages, the success rate is even worse — sixty percent. So, what’s an unhappily married person to do? Be strong, be prepared, and be realistic.

Following mid-life divorce, the chances of ending up single, or at least, not remarried quickly, are pretty darn good, especially if you’re a woman. But, that’s only a drag if getting married again is the goal. Now, if personal happiness or personal empowerment is the goal, instead, success may be just on the horizon.

I’ve been separated since 2014 and divorced since 2016. Those two years weren’t a result of indecision — but of straightening out our finances and selling jointly-owned real estate property. We both knew we wanted out. Then, as many had warned, like a typical male, he hopped right into a relationship with someone else while I was still searching for a good counselor. But isn’t working on your mental health during a time of transition and adjustment equally as important as seeking out a new romantic partner?

Within five months of our separation, my ex and his new partner were living together. Um … he went out on one date. One. Did I mention that I created and posted my ex’s Match.com profile? Mea culpa. Let’s just say that since that ill-fated decision, I’ve learned a great deal about appropriate boundaries.

I, in contrast, have had the pleasure of three short-lived relationships, and the displeasure of fifty-odd unsuccessful first dates in three states. I’m not an ogre — it’s just that the pickings among single men in my age-group are slim. Sigh. So, instead, I’ve used the past six years for tremendous personal growth that I’m kind of proud of. Here is a list of things I never would have done if I’d stayed married:

I’ve made friends with a host of nice men who aren’t meant to be my partners, but who I deeply appreciate, possibly for the first time in my adult life.

I’ve had the opportunity to choose, purchase and remodel my own home; and I sold it at a profit, times two.

I learned to sail on a 35-foot sailboat in…

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Wendy Cohan

Author of character-driven women's fiction, short stories, and essays. Her contemporary romance, The Renaissance Sisters, debuted May 23, 2023.