Breakups & Divorce Support Group

Just broke up with someone or in the midst of a difficult divorce? Breaking up is difficult no matter what the circumstances are. They say that time heals all wounds, but sometimes a listening ear or a hug can work wonders for the heart. Whether you need a place to vent, someone to hold you to No Contact, or need advice about what to do, we're here to help.

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divorce after 39 years how do I cope?

after being what I thought was a happy marriage for 39 years, my husband sat down one day and said that he wants a divorce. That day was the day after Christmas. I know that there is no other woman, as he spends all his time out at a motorcycle repair shop that his friend owns. I just am in so much shock that I can not stop crying. We have a divorced daughter with her two small children living with us while she becomes an RN. She will be finished with school in july 2011. I was told that he would pay all the bills and that I could stay in the house until our daughter graduates. Then he wants to sell the house, if the realestate is still as bad as it is today he wants to give the house back to the bank, split the money and get a divorce. In the mean time he will live in our motorhome in a trailer park somewhere.
He had prostrate cancer about a year and a half ago and since that time he hasn't spoken to me like he used to.
This year he made me return all the gifts that I got him saying that he just didn't want them, I said that was a first for me. No one had ever returned something I gave them and said I just don't want it. That hurt but I didn't know what he was about to say the next day.
I'm lost! I don't know what to do. He has asked me to not cry in front of him. I go to a conlsor on a regular basis as I am by-polar and I need the meds and the support.
I can not sleep and I can not eat. I just had a by-pass surgery hoping that my extra weight was some of the problems that I could see. As I went through the vaccuming and cleaning the floors in the house on the 26th and crying I ended up in the hospital only to find out after 3 days that I have 2 large ulsers. I was told by the surgeron to take things easy and not over do things. I tryed to take myself to the hospital and he said that I was in no condition to drive, I was vomiting up blood. He came to see me every day, and kissed me good-bye each time he left, I just don't understand what that was all about.
Any advise?



Welcome to DS. I am so sorry for all you are going through. I was married for over 30 years. But there was another woman and him wanting a new life. Big hugs to you.

First off Welcome to DS.... So sorry that you're hurting but so glad you found us.

I don't see any reason for why your husband wants a divorce. Did he give you one? Is counseling an option? I don't understand how after 39 years something isn't fixable.....

Divorce is not an event; it's a process. Whether it takes three weeks, three months, or three years, nothing will be solved immediately. Take a deep breath and relax as much as you can.

There are steps most people go through in the process of a separation and divorce, similar to the steps in the grieving process after a death: denial, anger, grief, andacceptance. A person in the denial stage can go through the motions of filing paperwork, but will not be "ready" for a divorce until the steps are completed.

Often, partners do not progress through these steps at the same speed or same time. A spouse who has been secretly planning to leave the marriage for some time may have gone through all four stages before the spouse who's left behind becomes aware there's a problem. The process should and can wait until the second spouse works through his or her feelings.

Two issues should be handled expeditiously: 1) You and the children must be safe. 2) You and the children must have a roof over your heads and food on the table. These are survival questions. Once they're provided for, the rest can take as long as you need.

Unless a survival issue is at hand, there's no reason to rush to file a divorce. Often there is no advantage to filing first. Wait until you feel you can handle it, both financially and psychologically.

The longer you have been invested in a marriage, the more thought you should give to working to save it, if that's possible. Marriage counseling, if both parties put their hearts into it, often helps. If there is no hope, either because of misconduct or a lack of love, then you should give some thought to ending the relationship expeditiously. Life isn't a dress rehearsal. You don't have the opportunity to do it again, if you regret being unhappy for ten or 20 years by failing to take action.

You can always "win" a divorce the hard way, cutting and slashing, with a winner-take-all attitude. It will cost you a lot more, both in money and mental health. But will it really be worth it ten years from now? There are some people who can have a "friendly" divorce.

There are some people who can't. If you're one of the former, work through your settlement and go on with your lives.

If you're one of the latter, deal with the abuse or the adultery or the immediate problem as distantly as you can, and try to settle the rest. No one will expect you to be best friends. But you have the ability to take control of whatever issues are not too painful and work through them. Empower yourself.

When you're going through a divorce, everyone will have war stories and advice for you. What you really need to know is that each legal process is different, because the facts of each person's existence are never identical. Just because Joe or Sandy at your shop pays $100 a month in child support or got the house doesn't mean you will. Just because they didn't, doesn't mean you won't.

Laws change; the way people got divorced 20 years ago may be totally irrelevant. Ask a legal professional for the straight story, based on current law in your state.

Some people really get emotionally invested in concern about their partner's new love. You might take some comfort in the fact that rebound relationships hardly ever work.

Be aware that once you involve the court in your life, the rules change. Husbands and wives who may have cheated on their taxes for years find that one may use it in court against the other. Parents who may have smoked marijuana together the whole time they were married may get turned in to the police now that a custody action is pending. Casual babysitting arrangements that were fine when the parties were together come under fire. Think about possible consequences before you act.

Friends and Family

Your friends and family can be the backbone of your support at this time in your life. If you suddenly decide to quit your job and move to a distant city to get away from the whole situation (and the ex), you may be leaving the only support system you have in place.

At the same time, those you care about can do a lot to help or harm your children during the legal process and after. They should never run down the other parent in front of the children. This is still the child's mother or father, due a certain love and respect simply because of that relationship. If that person is a deadbeat, a liar, or an abuser, the child will learn that on his own as the years pass. Let him keep that idealism -- we all lose it soon enough.

Encourage children's relationships with extended family when it's not harmful. Just as you will always be your child's parent, these people will always be your child's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives. Sometimes when parents are fighting, it's nice for the children to have familiar places they can escape to, with family members to remind them they're loved.

If friends offer to take the children for an evening to give you a break, say yes! There seems to be a SuperMan/ Woman expectation in our culture that encourages single parents to make martyrs of themselves and prove they can do it all. You deserve to take time for yourself -- make it a weekly gift to you.

Often, friends and family members who always disagreed with your choice of partner (but who never said so) will be glad to tell you once you've broken up. Give yourself permission to tell them to butt out when you've heard enough.

At the same time, take advantage of the opportunity to renew closeness with those who may have grown distant because of conflict with your partner. Get past those petty resentments and rejoin the family!

People you know will often encourage you to "get back on the horse" and start dating soon after a breakup. There is no "right" period of time to wait. Some consideration should be given to the legal consequences; ask your attorney if dating will affect any upcoming custody or support matters. If it won't hurt your case, and you feel up to it, go ahead!

But, if you don't feel like dating, speak up and tell people you're not interested. It's your life. Only you know what progress you're making.

If you have a new companion, that person may want to be supportive of you to the point that he/she involves him/herself in the conflict with your soon-to-be ex, particularly in areas of custody and support. While it's commendable for them to want to help, often just the fact of that person's existence is enough to drive the other party mad. Remember that these are your kids. You and the other parent should be the ones discussing any children or money issues. Don't complicate the situation by allowing third parties, however well-intentioned, to interfere in what should be simple negotiations based on what is best for your children.

After It's Over

Take a deep breath. Divorce has probably been one of the most difficult periods of your life, even if it's something you chose. If you have children, you're realizing that you're still tied to their other parent after the divorce, at least until they're 18, and probably on through graduations, weddings, and even grandchildren. (But take heart -- many find after the pressure cooker of the breakup is done, they can become civil again, at least for the sake of their children.) There are final documents to sign, deeds to draw and record, pensions to be collected, houses to be closed up and sold. That life is done.

One door closes behind; another opens ahead. How you spend the rest of your life is up to you. Empower yourself to say "Yes!" to all that awaits, and step through that door. You have survived. Be well. Tread your road gladly, armed with the lessons you've learned. Be good to yourself.

Heres a manual weve put together to try and help:

Z will be along with some more links.....

My ex told me three years ago that he wanted a divorce after 43 years. I never saw it coming, and have spent the past three years trying to come to terms with it. I was doing pretty well until he gave someone an engagement ring for Christmas. It hurt, but it is also helping me toward closure. (FINALLY) Believe me, I know how it hurts when you've loved someone for that long and it ends in an instant. I don't know if it will help, but I've been writing some of my feelings in my journals if you'd like to read them. (((Sue)))

I would definitely lawyer up. I would also suggest you join the Divorce After 20 Years group here on DS. You need to get advice about alimony, insurance, etc.

Get an attorney right away. Sign nothing--you are very vulnerable right now and he may try to take advantage of that to screw you out of assets.

And don't be surprised if there is another woman. My attorney said that in her 30+ years of practice, there is almost always someone else in the picture.

Stay strong. I would also recommend you post on the Breakup/Divorce forum. It gets a lot more traffic.


SO sorry to hear about your pain. I was (and still is) in a similar situation. I thought my wife and I were soul mates. Then out of the blue she said she wanted a divorce. I found out from her email that she was having an affair. I asked her if there was someone else and she denied it. I even asked "is there anything between you and XXX (the person she was having an affair with) that you want to tell me?" "Nothing." She kept denying it until I finally told her I already knew about it. Like hurtandhealing said, there's almost always someone else involved.

All I can say is that we know how you feel. Stay strong. It's going to be a long road. I'm still hurting very much so and I don't know when is this pain going to end. We're here to support each other. Take care.

Prayers for moments of peace as i know there early days are very, very difficult to endure. I was married about 35 years. It hurts.

Welcome to DS.

#1 is to take care of yourself right now. Try to use the advice here to supplement your therapy and other resources. Tears in my eyes for you.


Hugs. I was with my ex over 20 years. I know it's hard.


Go see an attorney. Get a separation agreement, fast. You two are so entwined (financially), you need to get that separated out and you need to know where you will stand after he leaves, monetarily. They say, "don't worry, I'll help you" but they are not obliged to unless there is an agreement. It can change very fast - I went from having everything - the perfect house, the country club membership, beautiful clothes to Foreclosure in less than six months.

39 years together is a long time. Have you asked him if he would go to marriage counseling with you? If he is willing that might be an option. I suggest you look for divorce support groups in your area. Being around other people who are going through the same thing may help. you can look for one from the site Im sos orry your hurting
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