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Divorce after retirement: Too late to separate?

View profile for Liz Headley
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As the number of people reaching post-retirement age increases hopefully we can all look forward to a longer retirement. Will it be a happier time though? Can we look forward to making some of our dreams a reality with a partner we love? For some there will be the opportunity to live the dream. Sadly there will be others who face the stark reality of having to spend a lot of time with someone they no longer have feelings for.

Relationships are very complex and we are attracted to certain types, but these types can change over a lifetime and a consequence could be that we fall out of love with a partner and the relationship ends. Sometimes it takes a while to realise that a relationship isn’t working any more and that feelings of intimacy no longer exist. It may be that all is revealed only when two people are forced to spend far more time together during retirement. If so, what next? 

The pair may stay together making the most of what is left in their fragmented relationship and become like ships that pass in the night. Or they can face the fact that they no longer love each other and choose to separate. This is always a brave step and some may argue that it is an even braver choice in later life. Although there is always a period of grieving when a relationship ends, once over, a brighter more hopeful present can be embraced. Others may choose to remain in an unhappy relationship where there is no real hope of re-igniting the dying embers of love and affection, couples commit themselves to a dreary existence. They have nothing to look forward to but the chance to grab some time away from their partner. However, if they choose to separate they are creating a new opportunity for themselves, a chance to find themselves again as an individual and do some of the things they have dreamt of doing during retirement

Where eyebrows used to raise when someone over fifty announced their intention to divorce, now it is acceptable. For the less courageous, unhappily married retirees, it may be enviable. There are many more activities available these days for older people to take part in; there are a variety of groups welcoming more mature members, who encourage singles to make new friendships without the pressures of ‘dating’. Having said that there are a range of dating sites that do specialise in matching more mature individuals.

So maybe it’s about being honest about the state of your relationship and allowing yourself the luxury of considering how you would like your life to be for the foreseeable future and whether that can be a reality whilst remaining in an unhappy relationship. If that’s not achievable then maybe it is the time for change.

So if you would like some expert advice on the legal process and the financial implications of divorce and separation, Brethertons’ Family Team will be happy to help you make some informed choices about the rest of your life. As the firm’s Consultant Therapist I am also available to offer emotional support should you require it.