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A Follow Up on Divorce: Ramblings From Last Week’s Post
Wow. I am speechless at the response from last week's post on divorce after 40. I received mountains of emails, texts, and DM’s not only from people I know, but more importantly, from many women whom I have never met.
I am really touched and a little bit saddened by the volumes of response. My goal of last week’s post was not to be a victim, not to whine, and not even to blame anyone. But just to openly share without judgement. Many of you wrote to me about how appreciative you were of “raw honesty,” especially in a world where everything is becoming less and less honest.
The questions I received ranged from asking about private investigators, to how to get the courage to leave your husband, to asking if it is it bad to stay with your husband if you know he is cheating? And one main thread that came through in the countless emails I received was the fear of leaving the security of your marriage even though you aren't happy.
I really can’t guide someone on whether to leave their spouse, to forgive their spouse, or their life’s next steps. But in response to the volumes of inquiry I received, I put together a few topline words of wisdom.
Given the countless requests, I will clearly need to follow up on with more thorough and detailed guides on how to deal with finances, lawyers, and PI's. This is apparently much needed content.
In the meantime, to all the amazing readers who reached out to me, here are my pearls of wisdom. Take them for what they are worth. I hope they help.
Get over the fear of being alone. It’s simply not rational.
One common thread throughout everything I received was the fear of being alone. I get it. I felt it. I was terrified. Terrified to be a single and divorced 40+ year old women. All I could think about is the age categories on dating apps: 25-20, 30-35, 35-40. Do men ever pick the search filter – over 40?
First and foremost – as someone said to me – there are hundreds of millions of people in the world – I guarantee you will find someone who will not only fall in love with you, but that you will fall in love with again. I promise. It’s simply math. Put that insanely irrational fear out of your head.
And here is something amazing I learned: The over 40 female dating pool is actually quite fucking desirable. It’s the opposite of what you would think. All those fears I had about dating were turned upside down. The 40+ dating pool is actually more desirable than the 20 something and 30 something dating pool. No kidding. Here’s why:
The amount of divorced men who are looking for a woman whom they don’t have the pressure of having kids with is much larger than you think. Often they have come out of another marriage where they married too young, married for the wrong reasons, or whatever the case may be. But, now they have grown up.
Believe it or not, many men in their 40's are actually looking for someone they can talk to, hang out with, spend the rest of their life with – without the pressure of having children again. And they are actually looking for someone with life experience. Shocking, I know. They may have made the mistake of marrying only for looks in their 20s, or marrying because they thought it was time. It was what they were supposed to do. But now they are on round 2 and they have a lot of lessons learned. And they are looking for someone like you.
You will soon learn that a 40 something intelligent divorcé is the hottest commodity.
And – as any smart man will tell you – when you date a woman in their 40s you know what you are getting. The same goes for women dating older vs. younger men. You already know how your partner will age (physically and mentally) - so there won't be any surprises. You also benefit from your partner already knowing what they want.
Women who are 35 and over are often independent and mature, and are a fuckload more fun to be around.
Personal freedom is fucking priceless.
Spending my time on me (and only me) is fucking great. Think about all that energy you expend servicing someone else. And often if you are in an unhealthy relationship – this amount of energy is massive.
Women often carry the burden of a relationship. Even in the age of women empowerment, women do the bulk of the emotional and physical labor of the relationship. They organize the household, they organize the date nights, the vacations, the kids, and if they work – they do that too.
When I think at how fortunate I am that I can actually do whatever I want, whenever I want. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Over the last year and a half, I’ve launched HALO, renovated a house, consulted on Sex And Good, traveled throughout Isreal, Australia, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. Probably a lifetime of what I could have done had I still been in my old relationship. And yup, I did it all alone. Gloria Steinem didn’t get married until she was 66. Maybe she was on to something.
Your time “invested” in the relationship is not relevant.
I was told so many times to think about our history together. I should forgive him and let him come back. Well, the time you have invested in someone is just that – it is history. What matters is now. You literally have a whole other life ahead of you. Evaluate “the history” as you need to; but, don’t let it rule your decision.
If you think your husband has a side dish, whatever you do, don’t confront them without solid proof.
More on this in later posts. But I just wanted to throw this crucial piece of advice in there.
Don’t take the “failure” of marriage as personal.
This one took a really long time for me to realize. Especially in light of an affair. Cheating is often not about the partner, it’s an emotional crisis of the person doing the cheating. Esther Perel says: “I see people in satisfying, happy relationships. They say, ‘I love my partner, I’m having an affair’. It’s not that they want to leave the person they are with, it’s that they want to leave the person they have themselves become.”
For whatever it’s worth, research shows that men who suffer from a mid-life crisis usually seek a woman who is not only younger, but also intellectually or financially inferior to them. If you are going to have an affair, trade up right? I mean, if he was sleeping with Gigi Hadid – I fucking get it. Often that is far from the truth. Just look at Jennifer Garner vs. the 28 year old Christine Ouzounian? Jude Law cheated on Sienna Miller with 26 year old Daisy Wright. Were these other women "better," "prettier," "smarter," or were they just there? According to the biology of infidelity (explained below), the one thing these "other women" had in common were being in the right place. A quite honestly, not much more than that.
The biology of infidelity is really interesting. It examines the myth of monogamy and why both sexes cheat. I was introduced to it from a great article on Fatherly. To paraphrase, since most male animals are able to reproduce with an unlimited amount of partners (and only minutes of work), it’s in their evolutionary interest to be indiscriminate about whom they impregnate. Female animals, on the other hand, are more limited in their reproductive capacities, and the survival of their occasional offspring depends on mating with only the healthiest males. So males cheat whenever the opportunity presents itself, while females would only cheat as a way of investing in a more eligible mate.
Bottom line – don’t blame yourself. Shit happens. Science happens. Life happens.
Talk it out. Sounds simple but...
How many of you have stress breakdowns or sometimes just want to bang your head against the wall? But when someone asks how you are - your answer is – “really good.”
Why not answer, “This week has been a really tough week for me.” Or, “I am having a really hard time being at home during COVID and I am feeling depressed.” Or, “ I am having a really hard time in my marriage.” We have the tendency to not talk about the “things” in our life. Talk to your friends, talk to your family, it might help you come to a decision one way or another. At a minimum – it’s going to make you feel better to get it off your chest.
Telling everyone that everything’s great all the time is a bit of a lie - isn’t it? And if your life is 'perfect' all the time - then your life is fucking boring.
Photo credit: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in By The Sea. That was the first film they did together as a public couple. The film was a total bomb and bashed by critics. It was painful to sit through.