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Women & Midlife Divorce: Wisdom to Help You Move Through & Beyond

Are you one of the many women who, after being in a long-term marriage and raising a family, find yourself facing a midlife divorce?  If so, you are not alone.  More and more women are experiencing a divorce during this next chapter of their lives.  Instead of planning for retirement or the transition into becoming an empty nester, many women are dealing with a financially and emotionally complicated divorce and wondering what their futures will hold.

Going through a divorce is never easy – especially when it comes to the emotions and feelings surrounding the split.  You are likely overwhelmed with a lot of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and possibly guilt and self-recrimination.  Your pain and discomfort are real, and it is not just okay, but also healthy, to “sit” in those feelings for a while. 

There is a difference, however, between “sitting” in the feelings and getting “stuck” in them.  Eventually, you will want to begin the process of moving on and toward a new chapter.  Here are some words of wisdom and guidance to help you through this transition:

Gratitude is a choice

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” – Robert Braathe

Each day is an opportunity to make the decision to live it with (or without) an attitude of gratitude.  No matter what our circumstances, there are always things to be grateful for.  A gratitude practice, such as beginning every morning making a list of everything you are grateful for, can often change our perspective on our situation.  Take the time to notice and enjoy the good parts of your life and all the positive experiences – no matter how small – that happen every day.  

Pain creates endurance

“Faced with pain, you will discover the power of endurance.” – Epictetus

There is a purpose to experiencing pain.  Much like any athlete will tell you, it is only through pain that greater strength is achieved.  For example, when building up muscle through weight training, it is the muscle fatigue and the microscopic tears in the muscle fibers which – after a period of rest – rebuild and grow stronger.

The painful circumstances that come our way in life, and how we deal with them, is one of the ways in which we develop our character.  Pain never needs to be painful with no benefit.  Every painful event can help us become stronger and more resilient. 

Future tripping can cause a fall

“Future tripping is living something that hasn’t even happened yet.” – Anonymous

Anticipatory anxiety or futurizing, aka “future tripping,” is the worry about events which have yet to unfold.  This usually occurs when we feel out of control of a situation or an outcome, and divorce commonly produces this type of anxiety.  Usually there are a plethora of different scenarios and outcomes which may not be apparent until they ultimately occur.  So, in the meantime, we can find ourselves fraught with worry over what might happen.

While future tripping may seem justified, as we often convince ourselves we are simply concerned with the future results, it is ultimately futile and robs us of our ability to live in the present moment.  When anxiety about the future does come up, try to refrain from catastrophizing or thinking about the worst things that can happen.  Instead, take a few moments to quiet the unsettling thoughts through some deep breaths, refocus your mind on the present, and then speak words of strength and encouragement to yourself.  No matter what happens, you have the strength and resources to move through and beyond it.

Creating love begins with you

“Love for yourself is the key to loving others.  Love begins with you.” – Miguel Ruiz

All too often, we are plagued by feelings of self-doubt and self-reproach.  We may regret choices we’ve made in the past or even feel like we’ve completely messed up our lives.  It is impossible to love ourselves when we think of ourselves this way.  So begin by giving yourself some grace.

While self-care, such as doing activities that regenerate us, are valuable and necessary, one of the most effective ways to build up our self-esteem is through doing esteemable acts, as described in the book “Esteemable Acts – 10 Actions for Building Real Self-Esteem” by author Francine Ward.

When we honor our word, when we show up on time, when we help others out, when we learn to establish healthy boundaries and say “no” respectfully – we learn to feel good about ourselves and gain a healthier self-image.  As our self-esteem grows, so does our love for ourselves and the person we are (and are becoming).  It is this self-love which we can then spread to others. 

It is tempting to focus on the fact that divorce means the “end” of something.  It absolutely does.  But that is not the entire story.  While divorce is the ending of a marriage, it is also an opportunity for growth, positive changes, and new beginnings if we allow it to be. 

About WO40 Coaching

At WO40 Coaching, we work with women who are facing the same issues and concerns you are experiencing right now.  Led by Lisa Zonder, Certified Divorce Coach® and family law attorney, WO40 offers divorce coaching during all phases of the divorce process.  For more information or to book a consultation, please call 805-342-0882 or visit us at www.WO40coaching.com.

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Helpful Links:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201309/seven-ways-to-thrive-after-divorce

https://www.healthline.com/health/life-after-divorce#make-space

Disclaimer:  Our attorneys are licensed in the State of California. We do not handle any matter outside of California. Testimonials or case results do not guarantee you will get the same or similar result. None of the information, testimonials, case results, or information is a guarantee, warranty, prediction, or assurance regarding the results that may be obtained in your case. Every case is dependent on its own facts.  These materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.1

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