Gray Divorce: Trends To Know; Tips If You’re In The Process
Once upon a time, it was ” ’til death do us part.” Now it’s “there’s no time like the present” when it comes to divorce, especially for those over 50:
- While divorce rates have decreased in most age groups, the rate for those over 50 has doubled since 1990.
- There are many reasons for gray divorce, among them: facing an unfulfilling relationship over a longer life expectancy, the stress of second marriages and blended families that do not work out and women working longer with independent and higher incomes than in the past.
- The social and religious stigma attached to older people divorcing no longer seen as an issue.
Here are seven things to know if you’re involved in a gray divorce (or thinking about it):
Gray divorce is typically very expensive, because couples together for 20 to 30 years amass greater wealth and property that must be equitably divided, and because they have no minor children home needing financial support. The greater the wealth, the more complicated and costly the court proceedings and attorneys. Both parties in a gray divorce facing living on less income, since retirement savings may be reduced by legal fees and payments to their ex-partner.
Funds in a 401(K), 457, 403(b), IRA or pension accounts must be divided correctly, or both parties face fines and penalties. An attorney who specializes in the documentation needed for this, called a QDRO, can help you avoid expensive legal issues later.
The kids are all right…maybe: Your grown children and their kids may be fine with the divorce, or they may experience their own collective meltdown, with the younger generations taking sides and worrying about what’s now left of “their” inheritance. And less money for the divorcing parties means less money to help them with any plans or expenses they incur.
And if you’re a member of the “sandwich generation,” will you have the means to help your parents post-divorce? Or will they need to assist you? Will all of you have enough money to last the rest of your lives?
Your health and health insurance both become major financial factors later in life. While you cannot prepare for every eventuality, you need to budget for as many “what ifs” as possible as you age, including home health care, long-term insurance and nursing home care.
Doing what you love, not just what you need matters to your quality of life at every stage. Will you have the means to travel, visit family, socialize with friends and pursue your hobbies after the divorce?
Even in the midst of divorce chaos, it’s possible to have calm and rational discussions with both your attorneys and a financial planner. Before you go your separate ways in anger, try divorce mediation first, to work out the dollars and sense details. While both parties will give up and compromise during the process, neither will walk away feeling like the biggest loser.
Dealing With Your Partner in a Non-Judgmental Way:
3 Tips For Overcoming Your Fear of Being Judged
People are going to judge you, and that is an unfortunate reality. Sometimes it will be for big things, and other times it will be for little things. Maybe it will be about how you dress, or what you do for a living, or the way you talk. Sometimes it will be your co-worker, your family, or even your significant other. With so many people evaluating you every day, it can begin to feel like you’re performing a role, instead of living your life. That you are trying to be a perfect person for those looking on, instead of being happy with who you are.
If you find yourself constantly being judged by your partner, you need to talk to them about that behavior. You need to establish clear communication, and set boundaries about what is and isn’t okay in your relationship. However, if you find you’re afraid of being judged before any judgment actually occurs, here are some small steps you can help you deal with that fear of potential future reactions.
Step #1: Realize That Most People Really Don’t Care
We are all the main characters in our own stories, which means that we often put ourselves in the center of our own universe. Of course people are judging us, because why wouldn’t they be? We are at the center of the story. Of course, once you realize this tendency, you also realize that most other people are so concerned with being the center of their universes, that they never even notice you. Even your partner, whom you share parts of your life with, is not going to think about every little thing you do.
Once you realize that, you realize something else. A lot of the time, when you think other people are judging you, you’re really judging yourself. You are projecting the things you worry about yourself (that you’re unattractive, that you’re awkward, that you’re simply not good enough) onto other people. If you accept yourself, and you make peace with your flaws, then you’ll find you focus on them less. As a result, you won’t feel people judging you as often. And if you think your partner is judging you, talk with them about it. A lot of the time you may find the thing you’re worried about is something they didn’t even notice.
Step #2: Ask “Why Do I Care?”
Many times we get so caught up in the feeling of being judged, that we forget to ask why someone else’s opinion should matter to us. After all, if you’re happy, or you’re having fun, what does it matter what someone else thinks? Even if that person is a significant other, a spouse, etc., there are certain matters where their approval or disapproval is irrelevant.
Too often we lose perspective when it comes to who is judging us, and what their judgment actually means. Think about when children dance or play. They don’t care that adults are shaking their heads or laughing at them, because they’re having fun. As adults, though, we often forgo doing the things we want to do, or enjoying ourselves, because we worry that people will shake their heads or laugh at us. So what if they do? You’re the one having fun, and enjoying your life.
Step #3: Don’t Judge Others (It Helps)
One of the best ways to help stop your fear of others judging you, is for you to stop judging others. This is just as hard, if not harder, than any of the other steps, because we’ve often been taught to value certain things in other people. We judge people based on their looks, their jobs, what they eat, and even who they’re related to. It gets exhausting, taking all of the factors you know about someone and creating a judgment.
Now just imagine all of the factors you can’t see. It’s just as impossible for you to know someone else’s life as it is for them to know yours. If your significant other, whom you are intimately close with. So, instead of judging someone based only on a list of things you can tell, instead, reserve your judgment. Instead, be accepting of people, and try to learn about them. The more often you accept other people, the less often you’ll be concerned about other people judging you. In fact, you’ll come to see that, more often than not, when other people judge you it says more about them than it does about you.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! May you all have a day filled with love, peace and happiness.