Like my target audience, I am a divorced female and over fifty. I had been married thirty-two years when the world as I knew it came crashing down. My husband wanted to separate. He didn’t want to divorce, just separate. So exactly what was he trying to accomplish? Either he did or he didn’t want me. There was no in-between. Like a lot of women my age, my husband took care of everything. He paid the household bills, took care of the home, yard, and car maintenance. I had never cut grass in my life. He even washed my car. I didn’t know how much the mortgage, utilities, car insurance, and anything else was. I was almost sixty and had never lived on my own. Imagine that! He planned our vacations. I just packed the kids and my bags and hopped into the car. Talk about spoiled. He had made my life so easy and I had grown so accustomed to it. He was so dependable. Hence the reason I married him. During the time we dated, he was never late. My daughter loved him, which was another reason I chose him. They got along so well. She was four when we married. He also had good credit and was able to easily co-sign for my car which he did after dating me only a few months (I know that was sweet of him). Good credit was important to me because my father was not financially responsible. After dating several months, I decided he was the man for me. I proposed to him and we got married on our lunch hour. All this happened in approximately six months. What can I say! I’m a girl who knows what she wants and goes after it.
Throughout the years, we had our ups and downs, but we managed to stick it out. I had unexpectedly got pregnant six months into our marriage. He wanted to call it quits around that time. I found out he was having a year-long affair when my son was a baby. I forgave him after he promised he would never do it again. I found out he was planning on divorcing me at that time. He didn’t renew our lease. Instead, he did a month to month lease so it would be easy for him to leave. There would be other times during our marriage that he would plan to divorce me, and I would talk him out of it. I always seemed to hang in there. He was used to me hanging in there. I guess he figured this time would be like all the other times; I would hang in there and agree to the separation just to hold onto him. I guess he never knew the reason I always hung in there. I remember watching my mother struggle when she left my father with five kids. Looking back, she was brave to do this at a time when child support was loosely enforced, and she was only working as a nursing assistant. She later went back to school and became an LPN. She worked two full-time jobs to make ends meet. My father didn’t send child support regularly, and we struggled during my childhood. Watching my mother struggle through the years, I remember telling her, “Mama, I love you, but I don’t want to be like you”. Hence one of the reasons I tied my tubes after two kids at the young age of twenty-seven and hung in there. During the times my husband and I weren’t getting along, I threw myself into my kids, work, and friends and tuned him out. He thought the reason I was tolerant of him was that I was weak. He just didn’t know I wanted my kids to have a two-parent home and not go through what my mother did. Besides, I had gotten so good at tuning him out. As the years went on, I would take business trips and trips with my female friends when I needed a break. As I said earlier, he also paid all the household bills. This made it harder to walk away. I had become complacent.
My ex worked a swing-shift job for most of our marriage. If anyone has ever worked this type of job, he/she knows it is very taxing on the body. He generally spent his off days recuperating, so we didn’t communicate a lot.
He worked overtime a lot. I pretty much lived the life of a single person. I could come and go as I please. So, I had no reason to divorce. We always had a good love life. I was terrified to leave after thirty-two years since I was almost sixty and had never lived on my own. He had made my life so easy. Looking back, I think he did this for control. He was mentally abusive also. He always tried to tear my self-esteem down to control me. He would later tell me he would treat me badly and mentally abuse me to make me leave, but he couldn’t understand why I would never leave. This is why he thought I was weak. I just tuned him out and ignored him. Everyone else gave me compliments, so I didn’t pay him a lot of attention. Looking back over the years, it did take a toll on me even if I did not initially admit it. For some reason, he never complained about me taking trips. He was in a club and they took trips, so I guess he couldn’t say anything about me taking trips. I was self-employed and took business trips. I also took trips for a company I worked for. When they asked for volunteers to go to out-of-town seminars, I always raised my hand.
The real problem came when he retired. I was working from home as an independent contractor. We were together all the time. We had never spent so much time together. I couldn’t take enough trips. I was going to my company’s main office once a month and this wasn’t enough. Things were getting worse. One day I saw a list of rental houses in his bag and I asked him about it. He said he just wanted peace and to separate. I later found out this peace thing was just an excuse. You see my husband never really appreciated me even though I truly appreciated him.. No matter what I did. He criticized me from the onset of our marriage until the day I walked out. Right before I left, it came to me in a dream that my husband would never appreciate me as long as I was with him. I would have to leave him for him to ever appreciate me. My dream also told me that I would be fine. I got up the next morning and told my husband that he could stay in the home and that I would leave. You should have seen the look of shock on his face. He never thought I would ever leave him no matter how he berated me. He thought he would have to be the one to leave. I told him I agreed to the separation and I moved out the following week. As I said earlier, when I want something, I don’t waste any time. The truth of the matter, I had no intention of just separating. I knew if he let me walk out the door, I was never coming back. I had filed for divorce before I walked out. I just didn’t tell him. I was pushing sixty years old and stuff was starting to fall. I was in the gym trying to hold it up and pull it back up. I didn’t have time for a separation. I needed to end this, start my healing, and get on with my life. He was furious with me when he found out, but I didn’t care. I gave him what he wanted, just not the way he wanted. He had to put on his big boy panties and deal with it. Don’t get me wrong, I did love my husband. I just loved myself more. For some reason, he always wrongfully thought he was the prize.
I made it through, and I wanted to use my experience to empower other women going through the same situation and let them know they will be okay. To further enable me to assist other fifty-something and older women contemplating, going through or newly divorced, I obtained my certification in divorce coaching. My background also includes an MBA in Business, a BBA in Accounting, and certifications as a Job and Career Coach. I will assist clients with starting a side or full-time business, job, and career services, starting and/or continuing their education and budgeting. My goal is to assist clients with healing during the divorce process and help to ensure that they successfully rebuild their lives after the divorce.