Surviving a Late-in-Life Breakup

It happens. Couples who have been together for many years break up. The most common reasons for these events are as follows:

  • “Empty Nest Syndrome.” The kids are off to college, and a couple finds that they have very little in common beyond raising those children. They have grown apart over the years, and are now ready to explore separate lives.

  • They stayed together only for the children. While related to the above reason, these couples haven’t liked one another for some time and only stayed together for the sake of the children.

  • One or the other has been unfaithful and/or found someone else.

  • Resentments have built up over time, and finally, they reach a breaking point

Whatever the reason, you and your spouse or significant other are now ending your relationship. And you will be experiencing a number of emotions on the road to recovery, survival, and ultimate victory.

What follows are some tips and strategies to get through the process of a breakup and to emerge well and whole.

Think of the Breakup as a Death

Indeed, something has died. And experts will tell you that there is a grieving process to get through if you are feeling pain from the breakup. This obviously does not apply to a partner who has found a new love and just wants to move on with their new love.

If you are grieving, the first rule is that you will go through the process at your own speed and on your own time. You may experience any or all of these: denial, sadness, anger, the “what if” stage of wondering if you could change things somehow, possibly depression, and finally acceptance. It is when you get to that acceptance stage that you are truly ready to move forward to a fulfilling, healthy, and rich life of your own.

Find Support

This support may come from close friends, family members, or even a professional counselor if you are having a difficult time. Surround yourself with those who will not just listen without judgment or negativity but who will also see to it that you remain active. They will make dates to do things with you and ensure that you get out of the house and enjoy yourself.

Do not dismiss the online support that is out there. In this day and age, there are all sorts of friendship and dating sites that people come to just to chat and support one another. Check out great website with all sorts of friendly chat groups, including those who are recovering from failed relationships. 

Keep Communication with Your Ex to a Minimum

If you have children or combined financial situations to work out, you will obviously have to have some contact with your ex. Each time, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you will remain as aloof and matter-of-fact as possible. If you don’t think you can, postpone the meeting or do it by phone or text. If a formal divorce is in the works, leave much of this to your attorney.

Get Active and Involved

Diversion is great therapy. Take a course that interests you; get involved in some volunteer activities; work for a cause that has always been near and dear to you; if you are working, take on extra projects that will be challenging. The more time you spend pursuing these activities, the less time you have to spend thinking about your relationship/marriage failure. 

Engage in Self-Care

How about a new hairstyle? How about a little “retail therapy” in the form of some new clothing? Even better, think about a vacation to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Make a plan to budget for this, and follow through when the time is right.

Stay Physically Fit

If you have not been into exercise, get into it now. Set a fitness routine, perhaps by joining a gym. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, also known as “feel good” hormones, and you will find your mood perking up. Physical fitness also involves diet. Be mindful of your eating habits, and choose a diet that is healthier.

When You’re Ready, You’ll Know It

Is your dating and romantic life over? Not by a long shot. You are part of a growing population of singles your age looking for friendship, dating, and even serious relationships. Once you feel ready to get out there and explore the possibilities, just go for it.


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