I will be one of those grey divorcees in a few months. Our children are grown and they are having difficulty with this new phase in our family life. I have a few good years left. I desperately wanted to live some new experiences. My marriage was more convenience than comfort. We married young, had a family who grew up and then we were alone together in our home. I have felt like I was living a half-life for years. I am also worried about my grandchildren. Will they understand?
You have already made some decisions and seem solidly committed to them.
A divorce at this time of life affects a family just as much as at any other time. Only, as you have suggested, there are more people involved, namely grandchildren.
Your children deserve some type of explanation. Without being too negative, they need to understand how you are feeling and why. Telling them will also help clarify your feelings.
Each time we tell ‘our story’ it becomes more solid in our own mind. It’s a delicate balance, aim for the truth without oversharing. You do not want your children taking sides. That will only create more family grief. Be mindful of their hurt as you proceed.
It has been my experience that it is never easy for children to see their parents’ divorce, not matter what their age.
You are no doubt feeling buoyant at the possibilities before you. Remember that although you have been thinking about this for some time, chances are the people in your immediate family will be caught by surprise. This is in part due to our tendency to always put on a brave face and hide those emotions under the surface.
Grandchildren are one generation removed and will probably be a bit more accepting of any new circumstances as long as they see you both as they have done. Ensure they do not get swept up in the divorce drama. They will ask questions and answer them honestly again without oversharing. Divorce is common in their world in that they probably have friends who have divorce in their lives in some way.
From what you have written it seems there was nothing traumatic that triggered this separation. It was more apathy that became unbearable. If your soon to be ex-husband does not exactly share your feelings that give him the understanding he deserves. He has been there through the family years with you. Aim for amicable without animosity.
Are you certain of what you want for a future? Would a trial separation if your ex-husband is agreeable be a better step? These are questions only you can answer.
Among the many things to consider- what you are willing to do in terms of family gatherings. Do you want to include your former spouse in family events where you are present? With the holidays coming are you and your family comfortable being altogether?
There may be some unforeseen sacrifices ahead. Trusted people you thought you could count on might find it difficult supporting your choice. Finances might be another obstacle as your assets are divided.
The initial stage will be the most difficult for everyone. Life will eventually settle into its new configuration and your family and friends will adjust.
It is a bold step but will be worth it if you can achieve the life you want along with respecting the people affected by your choices.
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. Linda 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.