You’re entering the second half of life as a divorced woman over 40 — and maybe you’re surprised, shocked or even heartbroken. How do you recreate yourself after a divorce? These five questions will help you start fresh with hope and joy. They represent the core needs we all have, and they have the power to help you recreate your life.
I’m not going to tell you to look on the bright side of divorce as a woman over 40, or help you cope with a husband who wants a divorce but won’t leave. I won’t tell you that your marriage failed for good reasons, and in the long run — when your tears have dried up and your broken heart has healed — you will actually be relieved about or even grateful for the divorce.
Nor will I give you a list of ways to stop feeling sorry for yourself even if your husband left you for another woman. You’ve already searched for divorce help, tips and counseling on how to get over a husband you love and miss. You’ve already received enough advice from your family and friends! Instead, these five questions will help you recreate, reinvent, and rediscover yourself as a 40 year old divorced woman. Your answers will change how you think and feel about yourself. And that, in turn, will help you heal and move forward into a bright, fresh new season of life. The second half of your life has the potential to be better, happier and healthier than the first half.
I found these five core needs in a women’s magazine. The article was written by a Christian psychologist whose goal was to help parents raise strong, confident children. As soon as I saw those core needs I realized they were exactly what we — adult women whose hearts have been bruised and even broken — need to survive a painful loss or difficult divorce.
How to Recreate Yourself as a Divorced Woman Over 40
These five questions are based on your core needs in the second half of your life. As a woman over 40, you’re facing a unique set of challenges and opportunities. These questions can help heal your heart and lift your spirits by motivating you to really think and dream about recreating yourself after divorce. It may be painful or even scary to face certain truths about yourself — especially since you’re hurt because of the divorce — but if you take time to consider my questions you will grow forward.
Don’t underestimate the importance of writing. Expressing your thoughts and emotions in writing will help you recreate yourself and process how you feel about being a divorced woman over 40. Writing forces you to slow down and catch up with your thoughts. Most of the time you don’t even know what you think or how you feel until you write it down! So, I encourage you to answer these questions by hand writing on a piece of paper. You’re also welcome to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
That said, however, you can simply reflect on these questions about recreating yourself after a divorce.
1. Who were you before you got married?
You are more than a divorced woman over 40! Recreating yourself means exploring all the possibilities — seen and unseen, dreamed and unknown, hoped for and imagined. Rediscovering who you are can be tough after you divorce a husband you love — especially if your marriage was long-lasting or the divorce was unwanted. You may have lost yourself in your marriage; it’ll take time and energy to recreate yourself in the second half of life. Focusing on rebuilding yourself and rediscovering your passions will get your mind off the divorce and on to the present.
Who were you before you got married? If that seems too long ago, think back to the last time you knew who you were. Recreating yourself in the second half of life isn’t just about starting over as a divorced woman over 40; rather, it’s about rediscovering who God created you to be in the beginning. And that means digging into your past hopes, dreams, passions and purpose.
2. Who can you trust in the second half of your life?
This question isn’t just about recreating yourself after a divorce. Rather, it’s about nurturing trusting relationships with friends and family members for all seasons of your life. Learning who you can trust — especially as a woman over 40 who has been hurt and betrayed — is crucial to starting fresh in the second half of life. Just as important is becoming a trustworthy woman others can rely on to survive their own losses and tragedies.
Who do you depend on? Can you trust your friends or family to stand by you? Are they honest with you; can they own their mistakes, apologize, and ask for forgiveness? Who was there to help you get through your divorce? If you’re a divorced woman over 40 who feels alone and suspicious, part of recreating yourself is leaning how to trust again.
3. Who accepts you for who you are?
You need to know that people believe in you and accept you for you are. Maybe you feel bad about yourself, unlovable. Maybe you even feel like a failure. This is a normal response to being divorced as woman over 40. You’re starting the second half of life in a whole different way than you expected. You didn’t think you’d be learning how to recreate yourself in this stage of life. You didn’t plan on being alone and feeling abandoned. It’s normal to feel unloved and even unlovable after a divorce…but just because it’s normal doesn’t mean you always have to feel this way.
This question — “who accepts you?” — is different than “who can you trust?” A friend or family member may accept you for who you are, yet you may not be able to trust them to follow through on their promises or responsibilities. Questions like this will help you rediscover who you are by showing you how different people show up in your life. As a divorced woman over 40, you’re starting the second half of your life with a different set of eyes. You can see more clearly. You’re not as gullible or innocent as you were — but you’re also not bitter or angry. Find friends who accept you for who you are, not who you were as a married wife. And, remember that people who accept you fully won’t necessarily support every choice you make or let you self-destruct. Your true friends and family will be honest with you. They’ll help you see the reality of this second half of your life — including the reasons your marriage failed and perhaps even the best ways to rediscover yourself after the divorce.
If you have a birthday coming up, read 17 Creative Ways to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday – Updated! Consider tweaking it to be “17 Creative Ways to Rediscover Who You Are as a Divorced Woman Over 40.”
4. What have you always been good at? What do you wish you were better at?
Taking care of yourself during and after a divorce is easier when you’re good at your job, passionate about your hobbies, or working with your strengths in the community. What do you do well? Just as importantly, how are you using your strengths to improve your corner of the world? If you need help adjusting to the idea of yourself as a 40 year old divorced woman, you may feel like you’re not good at anything. Maybe your self-esteem or self-image took a blow. Maybe you even feel like you’re the worst, most unlovable woman in the world. This may not be the best time to try new things…or maybe it’s the perfect time!
You can’t recreate yourself unless you try new things. Allow yourself to be scared and show up anyway. Tell yourself that you are a 40 year old woman — a grown up who is smarter, savvier and even sassier than ever before! Learning how to recreate yourself isn’t a straight upward process. It takes time and effort. And it’ll be as fun and interesting as you make it.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? Here’s an assignment for you: write an article called 5 Ways to Recreate Yourself as a Divorced Woman Over 40. You’ll find yourself writing about things you’re good at — or want to be good. Voila! You’re rediscovering (or discovering for the first time) who you are. Well done!
5. Why did God create you and call you good?
Ah, my favorite question! You can’t recreate yourself without knowing why you exist. Even if you knew why you were alive during your marriage, you now have to answer the question in a different way.
What are we doing here, why were we created, who are we, where are we going? I used to struggle with these questions a lot. I still do, but much less because my self-identity is now firmly built on Jesus Christ. I not only believe in God, I follow Jesus and spend time soaking up the presence of the Holy Spirit. God gives my life meaning. My purpose is to empty myself into my writing to help people who are suffering. I’ve been recreating myself as a woman over 40 for almost a decade. I’m not divorced, but I will be 50 soon…and I’ve already learned a lot about the second half of life.
What is your purpose in life? This is a good question to help you recreate yourself after a divorce. As a woman, your purpose may not be as clear-cut as your husband’s was (men are typically more work-driven). Figuring out why God created you will help you rebuild your self-image and rediscover your self-identity. If you no longer know what you think or believe about yourself, now is the time to re-evaluate your life. Getting divorced and recreating your life as a woman over 40 may be one of the most painful experiences you’ll ever face…but it doesn’t have to destroy you.
In fact, growing into yourself as a divorced woman over 40 can help you blossom into who God created you to be. But before all that can happen, you need to learn how to let go of someone you love.
Are you clinging to your husband and past life? Are you stuck in “divorce mode” or even bitter about your failed marriage? This will prevent you from moving forward and recreating yourself in the second half of your life. Learn how to let go of the past and start fresh in the second half of your life.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love is my ebook — immediately available — filled with practical “how to” tips and heartwarming insights about life, love and loss. You’ll also find several stories from me and a few She Blossoms readers. Our experiences with love and loss will bring you comfort and companionship, hope and healing. You’ll feel better about your past and more hopeful about your future.
This divorce can change your life in ways you never expected — both good and bad. Which you choose to highlight, feed and grow is entirely your choice.
What do you think, how do you feel? Your big and little comments are welcome below.
In peace and passion,
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