I’ve been divorced for 30 years. My X husband showed up in my life recently. We’ve been estranged all this time. We have not spoken in almost two decades. Our kids accept that Mom and Dad do not attend family gatherings together. We’ve always worked it out to be at anything at different times. All that changed a few months ago when we ended up at a gathering together. We got along really well. The years slipped away, and all the bad memories with it. We’ve been secretly seeing each other since then. Our kids do not know anything about our dates. We are in our 70’s and are both single. Are we crazy?
These longer lives we are living provide opportunity for all sorts of crazy things to happen in families—good and bad.
This looks like it might be good. However, the secrecy is not a good start for your kids. A few dates to see if there was more to it than just a good time together at one social gathering are certainly acceptable. But after a few months it is time to be honest with your family.
Be prepared for judgements. Much of it will be based on fear because they will worry that one or both of you will get hurt as a result of this new arrangement. Your kids were there for all the nasty bits that happened when you divorced. They will not have any inclination to see those hurtful times repeated.
Tread carefully and go reasonably slowly. Being the age you are does not allow for a long courtship but taking your time about decisions is really the best option.
You don’t offer what your plans are for the future but a good starting point is to go to family gatherings together. Let everyone get used to the fact you are friendly again.
Try not to push this new arrangement on everyone. Ask them if they are OK with coming to these family events together. If you do go together, try to be as natural as possible and let everyone get used to this new togetherness at their own speed.
You do have age and experience on your side in the sense that you both know exactly what you want for this stage of life. Think carefully about how you want this chapter to unfold. Honesty on both sides is very important.
Also be mindful of the fact that you both have most likely changed over the years. But the core attraction that existed at the beginning is still there if you are dating again and enjoying each other’s company.
Eventually moving in together may be an option but it may not if one or both of you have got used to independence. Make sure that you both are very clear with each other about expectations.
The really positive aspect of this stage of life is that it can be shaped anyway we want as long as it is acceptable to both sides. If you do want to live together then there are financial considerations. You have been apart for a long time. How you work out shared finances is yet another question to be answered. How much financial independence are you willing to give up?
Maybe you want to live apart but be exclusive to each other. Maybe you would consider two flats in the same building or going to the same retirement community. There are any number of ways a future could unfold. Often we are more open to living arrangements that may not appear so conventional to our children. They might view it as an all or nothing resolution, a return to the past.
Open discussion as a family is the best way to find a resolution. However, do what feels best for the two of you at this stage of life. The fact both of you would appear to have solid relationships with your children is very positive.
After your children, what other people think of your decision doesn’t really matter. That is one advantage to age. Life and happiness are fleeting. Carpe Diem!
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ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON
“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl
Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.
As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.
She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.
She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’
In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.
She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.
She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.