Emotional Wellbeing


Mandy Kloppers

Leaving your husband in your 50s

Breaking up is hard to do, even if you’re over 50. Or is it? Some might say it’s a long-awaited relief, while others might look sadly upon a long marriage that was unable to go the distance. Leaving your husband after 50 involves emotions that are unique to everyone, but there are some typical factors, reasons for leaving and ways to tackle life after your divorce. We look at what it’s like splitting up with your husband when you’ve reached 50 and beyond. 

Reasons for leaving your husband in your 50s

Although experiences vary, there are many common reasons why you might opt for divorce in your fifties: 

  • Lack of shared interests – when children have left home you may come to realise that their lives were at the centre of your marriage. However, being 50 is not what it was a generation ago, and as life expectancy increases, on average, you still have a large portion of quality life left to live. This may spur you into thinking there is another, happier life out there for you, and that you don’t have to spend it with someone who no longer has the same shared interests. 
  • A new you – if you have recently spent time investing in yourself, exploring your inner needs, qualities, and new ambitions you have for yourself, then can cause a divide that can lead to divorce. A fundamental shift in the way you think by nurturing personal growth can leave a gap in the connection and communication you once had with your husband. 
  • A growing difference in personal habits – as we reach our fifties, many of us form new habits, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. If you have worked hard to eradicate old habits such as changing your diet, spending too much money, or drinking too much while your partner hasn’t – this can cause a gulf that can impact finances, social activities and day to day routines.  Many women 50 or over want a new lifestyle that is healthier or more varied. If these new pursuits are not shared with your husband, then it can be difficult to reconnect in a new way.


How to tackle life after divorcing at 50 

  • Give yourself time to grieve 

A feeling of loss is to be expected when you go through a divorce. Although we all have our own way of grieving, there are five key grieving phases we will go through. These are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Knowing this process will help you realise it will be tough in the beginning, but it will come to an end. 

  • Seek talking therapy or counselling 

Going through a divorce can take its toll, even if you don’t realise it. A lot of women over the age of 50 have been married for a long time, they have shared lots of mutual big life experiences and you may have never envisaged it would end in divorce. Coming to terms with a new reality can take a lot of adjustment. Talking with friends is good but a counsellor will help you explore your emotions and suggest strategies of how to navigate your future.

  • Utilise your support network 

Having good and understanding friends around you can be the best tonic post-divorce. If you had mutual friends with your husband, it can be a good idea to seek support from those who were not closely linked to your marriage. Friends you are also divorced – try new thing with them, 

  • Practise more self-care 

Use this new period in our life to focus on yourself, spend time thinking about what you want. Divorce after 50 can leave you feeling low and wondering what your future will be. Focus on what is good in your life. You may have spent a lot of your marriage caring for others, but now is the time for you to focus on your own needs.