I received the message below from Mike, a 53 year old guy who has been both widowed and divorced, and who has some words of wisdom for men over 50. Thought I would share, and in italics below are my comments. Thanks so much, Mike!
I wanted you to know that I loved your piece from Sept 3. Happy Birthday! I crossed that personal Rubicon in 2012, and can say with certainty that I’ve learned more in the past 3 years than I did in the previous 50. I’m not sure, though, if that means I’m a life-long learner, or just really slow on the uptake! I was widowed at 38, and divorced at 51. Both experiences were bad, but in very different ways. So I just thought you may like to know some of the clarity that an additional 3 years of life could possibly provide ☺.
1. There is a time to let go and move on. I’ve learned that the letting go is easy – but it’s often harder to move on.
I’m not sure I know the difference between letting go and moving on, but I have never had an easy time letting go of things-especially when romantic relationships end. I tend to forget anything negative, and live with the falseness of remembering that everything was perfect. People who do that are just torturing themselves unnecessarily.
2. Heartbreak always hurts, but it’s OK to risk possible pain and vulnerability. It’s not ok to settle though. Life is far too short.
Those who have the guts to show vulnerability in their romantic relationships are the most fulfilled. How great does it feel to be so afraid that the person you love won’t accept you knowing certain behaviors, and then you find out they do?? The best. Oh, and as I get older, I have zero tolerance for settling. Why would I at this point in my life?!
3. After spending some time fly-fishing on beautiful Montana rivers, it’s clear to me that trying to think like a fish is hard. They win much more often than I do!
4. The day your child lands a job after college is almost as sweet as they day they were born!
I won’t know that feeling for a long time but I can imagine feeling immense joy, relief and pride.
5. The hope of experiencing true love and trust with someone is still exciting in the “mature” years. I have faith in finding it!
I love that attitude so much because I believe that people who do find it, talked like this.
6. This could be “the year” for the Cubs! And Go Bears!
7. I still have all my hair, it’s not gray, and I don’t need glasses – This amounts to trash talk for me now.
I color my hair and wear glasses now. Not bitter or jealous.
8. If you water your own grass, it won’t be greener on the other side of the fence.
Everyone has problems. I wouldn’t trade mine with anyone else I know.
9. After 50, the stages of growth bring deeper happiness. The best is yet to come!
10. “…only someone who is ready for everything, who doesn’t exclude any experience, even the most incomprehensible, will live the relationship with another person as something alive and will himself sound the depths of his own being.” Rainer Maria Rilke
11. This all rather hokey, perhaps. But I embrace hokey now after 50.
I’ve always embraced hokey and I’ve always been a pretty happy person–hokey meaning corny, not phony. Then again, I might be the most sentimental person I know.
Like this article? Check out, “I Can’t Get Over My Ex-Wife”
I loved reading your blog. I’m heading into the permanent separation stage with the outcome being divorce. I have been married for 27 years and have two grow children. The last 10 years have been absolute misery. I hung in so my kids could launch. I am now setting the stage for my new life . The problem is this; I met a gal on line and we really connected. However, she does not want to proceed until my divorce is finalized. That could take 2 years! Should I forget about her or text her from time to time?
I hate the divorced lifestyle and culture especially at 52 and only 5’6”. It is a very narrow band to operate in and may be flat out impossible. All of my single friends; both men and women have met someone. I am demoralized and don’t believe in hope. Now what.
52yo married male with sons in early 20’s that will likely never leave the nest and a wife that is not helping. My marriage is good enough, but we are just going through motions to finish the job and it’s been extremely boring and predictable for long time now. I don’t see that changing and worry and almost hope it will not survive. I imagine a life without them as stress free and adventurous but also lonely, hedonistic and even self-destructive. I can’t imagine ever wanting to have another meaningful relationship, building anything real or (god help me) blending families or playing dad again. I imagine fading into nothingness with both an evil grin and a tear in my eye. I always want to be available for advice and help but think i got nothing left in the tank to play grandpa. I think I’ll make a run to the store .. be right back.
I am 55 years old and my son just graduated and turned 18years old. I have ask my wife several times for us to get some counseling. She refused , I then said your making good money and you should save some for retirement. Her reply was, I want to live for today. I then told her I wanted a divorce. Her comment was, I have to have too much invested in this marriage to give you a divorce. I can’t tell you how I felt like nothing more than some kind of slaves.did I mention she makes more money than me know for he past 4 years. I have filed for divorce because She destroyed a house I built and used it up for her own satisfaction. Then she use my son from me at a time kept us apart. So having trust in a new relationship is far from my thoughts moving forward. I put my heart and all my strengths in everything for us and my wife destroyed it. Happy hunting
Man, I feel like you just told my story. I just walked away from my home last week, rented a shit-hole. I had to get out. Her mental health, aggressive bullying and lies kept me literally locked in my bedroom. I don’t miss her, nor am I sad. I’m 50, financially insecure and have no idea about the future. Damn, I hope it gets better. Good luck friend.
59 year old facing divorce and scared of what lies ahead, so lonely and sad, I cant visualise the future.
Willing to talk and help similar people.
Mate I feel for you. My wife is going through menopause and she just can’t see it. Her constant mood swings became so unbearable that I just had to leave. I keep to myself and havnt told friends and relatives. I’m so lonely. I rented a room in a shared house and trying to find this to do as work is slow during winter months. There should be a place where men on similar situations can meet and talk. That might help
There should be a place where men in this situation can meet and talk..I have a similar story. I’m 56 yrs old and had been in a relationship for over 35 yrs..last 5 yrs have been like hell.
I’m about to turn 49 and headed into a divorce. Two kids at ages 5 and 7. I dread telling them and breaking their hearts. They are the loves of my life. This is going to be so hard.
As for my soon to be ex, she was my rock for so long and have up on waiting for me to change. I’m better with her and I know I’m going to struggle without her. However, now that I have my kids in my life, this won’t be the typical break up for sure. I’ll get through it like every other struggle I’ve had.
I’m headed for divorce as well. Tomorrow is the pre trial and I gotta say, I’m excited. I’ve been married for 27 years. She is bipolar and I’ve done everything through the entire marriage. Cooking, cleaning, child raising. Oh and worked 45plua hours per week. Worked weekends in some cases. The mood swings and her anxiety over everything has torn me down to just not caring. Ironically, she was the one that filed. Imagine that. I’ve been the primary bread winner so I’m Hosed financially, but I’ll survive. I just keep telling myself that. But you know what, I will. You will too. Some of this hasn’t fully settled in, but she’s nuts. I see it now. I’m not a dull man, but it did take 30 years to see that I can’t fix her. It wasn’t my job to fix her. She is the only one that can fix her. I sweated the small stuff for decades and to what end? I’m not doing that again. I’m going to live MY life and maybe it won’t be as financially great, but it will be mine. I can learn from my mistakes and grow as a better person. I’ll find someone and so will you. I’m 52 and maybe that’s old, but I don’t totally believe that. I started running and plan to complete my first half marathon in January. I’m in the best physicals health I’ve ever been. Fueled by knowing that I CAN be better. You just gotta want it. Again, I know that sounds played. It’s true though. Only you can make yourself see it. Good luck guys. This doesn’t have to be the end. It’s the start of a new beginning and only you can make it into what you want or can dream.
I cannot believe it you guys are my people I have been married for 30 years! I have been with a girl now woman that has been bipolar,and I felt guilty ever leaving I thought I could help her and I do love her but not any more we had 2 kids together which are fine.Her family and me thought that the kids would change her ! She got counseling and meds but would never stick to it ! She was always angry and never had patience for the kids . I took the blame for everything that failed and still do , I built up college funds for the kids and paid y home off once. Well her dad committed suicide shortly before my first was born and then my wife was trying to do the same I stopped her several times and got her help so we had a second child things were ok at first but she slowly sank into depression for several years I gave her everything she wanted but it didn’t help I was just trying to hid it we were falling apart her depression affect my kids and we were fighting every weekend the police were involved and I was told that my kids would be takin if we didn’t separate . But my wife was good at lying I got kicked out of my house and had a PFA on me, but she was not taking care of kids. Well I got the state help welfare checks done and luckily I got my house back my kids in my custody and she had four gals from her work coaching her to destroy me financially and mentally. It’s a really long story on how I found all this out but some angel was looking out for me! I did love her so it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done! But my kids are happy and I don’t discourage them being a part of her life but I’m broken for 30 years i thought I was building a life for my family but I cannot get myself back to what I was ! She left me broke and cleaned out my house and all college funds gone I’ve been working 2 jobs for several years now and I’m trying to dig out but my social life isn’t very buildable. I have no skills left to trust another woman and I have no patience left . It is really nice to to I don’t stand alone I think the world of you guys
Hi the article and the comments are all a great read. I’m a 53 year old, married and miserable going to be 25 years this year. I try to think of the last time I was really happy in this and I don’t remember when, and I’ve got one of those borderline superhuman memorys. I have a lot of baggage in this and a lot of responsibility for the failings. It feels like we’ve been roommates for over a decade. Sex happens like once a year, more and more frequent quarrels about the same things, agreements that last less and less time. Having gone through many of the posts I can’t seem to find anything that helps us discern when it’s time. And also when it is time how did you deliver the news?