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Starting my life over from scratch at age 51 - Is it worth it?

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VictimofLies posted 10/17/2020 12:37 PM

WH thinks everything is fine again because I haven't brought it up in a long time, but I am still considering divorce. We are about to put our house on the market so I need to make a decision. Since he thinks we are moving together, he has been looking online at beautiful houses that have all of the things we've wanted for so long, and after he goes to bed I'm secretly looking at cheap apartments. I can't help but cry as I look at the only ones I can afford. I worked so hard to get to the place in life that I am now, and the thought of going back to a dingy one bedroom apartment and living on Ramen noodles and peanut butter sandwiches like I was in college just kills me. I did nothing but give him loyalty and unconditional love and support for our entire 23 years of marriage, and yet I have to start my adult life all over from scratch at 51 years old because he was a selfish prick. Damn him for putting me in this position!

I know most of you will say that it is worth it to get out of infidelity, and you're probably right, but it's so hard to make these sacrifices at this age.

For those of you who were 50+ at the time of your divorce, did you feel this way? I'd love to hear about your experience with moving out and moving on.

DevastatedDee posted 10/17/2020 13:15 PM

Not 50+, but I left mid-40s and had to start over from scratch, even cashed out my 401k to buy a house and restart my life. Yes, starting over at this age pisses me off HUGELY. My retirement is impacted by this. My lifestyle has taken a hit. I don't go to salons, I dye my hair at home. No more manicures and pedicures. I took a second job to help make ends meet. I couldn't help my son with college like I had planned to. I make a decent living, but I had organized my financial life around two paychecks instead of one and I hadn't prepared to downsize when all this hit. I'll be in better shape when a number of bills that weren't a big deal before going back to being single are paid off. It will take about 2 more years for my lifestyle to rebalance with my paycheck.

I don't regret doing it AT ALL. I'm living now, not surviving. My part-time job is with an animal rescue and that doubles as therapy. It's meaningful to me and I enjoy it, so it's not a sacrifice. I have a smaller home and I do without some things that used to be staples of my life, but my life doesn't involve my XWH or infidelity and that is a massive life improvement. I have less money, but I'm happy. I have an inner peace and contentment that is worth more than everything I lost. Being okay with myself and my life decisions is worth struggling here and there.

Maybe stop crying over your potential apartment and start envisioning how you'd decorate it and make it into your own space. Envision the beauty of being at peace with yourself. Life can take us in a lot of directions and I'm betting your future, should you divorce, is not as dingy and sad as you're imagining it will be.

And seriously, I've discovered that any stress related to being on my own is nothing at all compared to the stress of infidelity, so I'm pretty tough nowadays. You're calling me about a medical bill? Ha, my husband fucked prostitutes, this is nothing.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 1:18 PM, October 17th (Saturday)]

InPurgatory posted 10/17/2020 13:35 PM

I hear you. I just had this same conversation with my therapist last week. I just turned 60, and it makes me angry that I am looking at starting over and having to go back to living on a much lower income level (WH makes twice as much as I do). I was deeply depressed after realizing that even small apartments in our town are at the top end of what I will be able to afford on my salary. I definitely couldn't afford our house or anything like it if the mortgage wasn't paid off.

Even so, the thought of having peace in my life again is what pushes me forward. I am planning on asking for the house in the divorce. I don't know what the odds are of having that happen, but I'm trying to keep a little hope. I live in an at-fault state, so I'm hoping that I can use that as leverage. In the meantime, the problem is that he won't leave, and I can't afford to move out with my two cats (nobody in my area seems to accept cats either )

I get the anger and sadness. It seems so unfair that we are forced to give up the future we thought we were going to have because of their actions.

BentandBroken posted 10/17/2020 14:43 PM

I was 56 at D-Day. Have been busting ass and building towards an early retirement. I had planned on five more years. That's out the window now.

But guess what? I have moments of peace now. I'm not quite a year out, so it's still pretty raw. But you know what's great? Not constantly trying to measure up, wondering why he's so distant, planning outings together only to have him cancel, bending over backwards because I'm assuming I'm the reason he seems angry. Gone is that nagging feeling in my gut telling me something is so so wrong, whilst I'm trying desperately to fix it. By myself.

Knowing the truth sucks. Living the lie sucked worse. The financial hardships are real. I'm concerned about my car which has almost 200,000 miles on it. I negotiated to keep the house, but every month I'm terrified that I won't have enough money to pay the mortgage. I don't buy clothes And I budget my groceries. I furnished the house with hand-me-downs from my family because I couldn't stand to look at the things that we had collected over the years. I had him take them all. My silverware doesn't match, my dishes came from my grandma and look like it! Towels are a little frayed, and my walls are bare.

I worry about my future. Especially the financial part. I don't see retirement on the horizon anytime soon.

Still better. Way better than living with him here.

Bingo posted 10/17/2020 17:13 PM

I was 66 when I found out about the affair last August. I spent two months waiting for him to go NC, but he couldn't/wouldn't.

I moved out last September and our divorce was final in March 2020.

I am financially secure because I received half of everything...profit from selling house/retirement/investments. I'll be fine.

But, but, but.....it's rough starting a new life at this age. I'm now 67 and never thought this is where I would be at this age.

You know what really pisses me off? Yesterday, I couldn't open a new jar of pickles. I tried and tried and tried. I'm not kiddin'...I threw that sucker on the tile floor and it broke into a million pieces! It's times like that when I can really lose my sanity and the anger over the injustice of it all just totally overwhelms me.

Plus that freakin' pickle juice is sticky...what a mess!

[This message edited by Bingo at 5:15 PM, October 17th (Saturday)]

Justsomeguy posted 10/17/2020 18:21 PM

I'm 53. I was terrified at the prospect of being single again after 27 years. I get the dingy apartment thing. I've had to make sacrifices to give my teen girls a decent life. We live in a two bedroom apartment and they each have their own room. I make due with a little area I can stick my bed. I dream about having a bedroom with a door one day. But we make it work.

I can't say I am happy, but I'm not miserable every day either. I am learning to be content with my life. I have a good career, I'm healthy, I have friends, I do things. I take myself out as much as I can. Right now, I'm taking myself out for a pint. So, life is okay, and one day it will be good.

I imagine I might meet someone in the future, but if not, that's okay too. As long as the beer is cold and there's some music on the radio, I can get by. And whenever I feel badly about where I am, I just reread my old journals. That really hits the reset button for me.

cdagal posted 10/17/2020 18:40 PM

I was just about to turn 51 when the shit hit the fan. Infidelity was a dealbreaker for me so there was no doubt about what i had to do. I was the primary breadwinner in a no fault province so i ended up paying big time. I moved out of our spacious custom built house in the country to a small city apartment. Even gave him the car. But despite all the hardship, it saved my sanity to know that i alone was responsible for my happiness . The five years where i had to pay him a substantial portion of my paycheque (he also got 90% of the house sale on top of that), were humbling. I learned though that i could live on a very modest income. So much so that i decided to retire early, bought a small one bedroom condo while i still had the income from work to qualify for the mortgage, and retired on a pension that was 50% of what my work income was. I miss having a partner at times but donít miss it so much that i would take someone on. You have to think outside the box, determine your needs from your wants and know that each day is what you make it. Stay positive.

LadyG posted 10/17/2020 18:58 PM

I am 52 now and sitting alone in my Peaceful 2 bedroom apartment. I bought this for myself, on my own and I will be paying for it for the next 20 years but itís worth. I am worth it.

A new house was never ever going to fix my WH or mend our damaged relationship.

I did the whole build a bigger new Ďfamilyí home in 2004 after a DDAY and fake reconciliation / rug sweep.

Stbxwh and I were fake house hunting in June and July of this year. I just couldnít go through with it. I had freedom and I couldnít go back to our old house or move to a new 1 with WH.

I have been in my apartment for 16 months and itís Grand!

steadychevy posted 10/17/2020 19:17 PM

I was 68 when the divorce was final. Just before my 69th birthday. She got half the land which I now rent from her. She gets the surface lease from the gas well. She will make more net than I will from a years operation of the ranch. I got more asset value and I didn't have to average out the pensions.

I did okay in building assets. Not great but okay. Our 3 daughters got through their undergrad degrees with no debt. Together we could live very comfortably. Apart we have to be careful with spending.

It isn't the life I expected to have and planned for. There was no way I could continue to live with her. It was killing me. From that aspect it was worth it. How much is happiness and peace and joy worth? A lot.

hcsv posted 10/17/2020 19:42 PM

I was 58 when divorce was final. We were together 40 years, married 35. I got the house, but lost 65% of my retirement in order to do that.

I Went back to school. First got my certified nursing assistant, then my licensed practical Nurse, and at 61 I finished my Registered Nursing degree in May and passed the state nursing exam in August.

On Thursday, I got a job. An awesome nursing job.

I figure I'll work 10-15 years and hopefully will be able to retire at that time.

Financially, it's kind of scary, but I am so happy.

[This message edited by hcsv at 7:44 PM, October 17th (Saturday)]

crazyblindsided posted 10/18/2020 00:51 AM

Not constantly trying to measure up, wondering why he's so distant, planning outings together only to have him cancel, bending over backwards because I'm assuming I'm the reason he seems angry. Gone is that nagging feeling in my gut telling me something is so so wrong, whilst I'm trying desperately to fix it. By myself.

So much this ^^^

I just moved into my little two-bedroom apartment that costs more than the mortgage BUT my peace of mind is worth every penny and there are some days that I eat PB&J and Ramen, but I still love it. My friend calls it my peace palace and that is exactly what it is.

de.va.sta.ted posted 10/18/2020 06:15 AM


I really understand. To answer your question I would say yes - itís worth it.
Iím now 51 and divorcing because of d day 2. It sucks, financially, but as everyone said above me, itís the price of peace of mind.

Make sure you get a fair division of assets and then move from there.
One day at a time!

[This message edited by de.va.sta.ted at 8:22 AM, October 18th (Sunday)]

homewrecked2011 posted 10/18/2020 10:43 AM

I was 52. In my opinion, and from what Iíve read on SI, most people are mad at themselves for staying into their 60ís. So, Iím very happy Iíve had the last 10 years to get my $ in order. I also too on a part time job-in a garden center, and it didnít seem like work at all!!!!

I live in a fault state and I did get the house. If I hadnít, I still could have gotten my share of the profit of the sale. I got extra 401k $$ money bc I didnít want to count on him living to get alimony (OW was involved in a murder 20 years ago).

Some days Iím pretty mad that he and OW have a New house, new vehicles, new boat.

But as soon as possible, Iím moving with friends to a small beach town in Fl.

One friend of mine D her husband, got all the cash she could, then got back together with her xh, because she wanted to, as he went to counseling for a couple of years and she still loved him. But, she didnít remarry him, she wants to have the financial security of her own $$$.

LittleRussian posted 10/18/2020 10:44 AM

Oh yes!!! I was 51 when we separated. Slightly unusual position in that I was the higher earner (by quite a lot) but that I also did 95% of the child stuff so I held most of the financial cards.

I won't be retiring imminently (as some of my friends are) but I'm 100x happier than I was

siracha posted 10/18/2020 10:56 AM

I want to be clear that I am not passing judgement on anyone else ; i do know people who have had successful arranged marriages and often there is mutual respect but no chemistry. Some of these husbands end up having affairs - with their wives blessing . Wives stay monogamous . Everyone seems quite ok with the arrangement. Marriages like this have a zero divorce rate
But For most people its a bad idea to hang in their just for the life style because unless you are an oscar winning actor your spouse probably can sense you aren't in love with them and will start looking elsewhere . In many cases serial affairs follow till they have their final exit affair.
Its best to get a good divorce attorney and press for the best financial settlement you can get . At any age this stuff is painful but at 51 you can still find some version of the life you wanted with someone else .

Ratpicker posted 10/18/2020 13:25 PM

VictimofLies- I was 53 when the divorce was filed. In a fault based divorce case that was to be a jury trial but last minute a bench trial. I was sure it would end up with me in subsidized housing, bussing tables at IHOP & toothless . I think my therapist wanted to shake those thoughts out of my head. My friends would tell me it would end up ok - that I'd find a little house and settle in. Everytime someone said the words, "little house", I'd start bawling. And I hated the "big" house!

Judge awarded more alimony than any of the settlement offers I'd made. Everything was split 50-50 - including the profit sharing he got during the wait on trial. The house equity was ordered to be split 70-30 - I got the 70%. Since it was close to being paid off, I bought him out (mostly with his own profit sharing).

So it wasn't the worst as I'd feared. It took me a while to settle into my new life. And frankly when I look back, I feel like I had the mind-set of a fearful toddler. There were no monsters in the closet or under the bed - I was going to survive & thrive. I just didn't know it- yet!

It might be good to decide - one way or the other- before buying a new house together. Unless the marital estate is large enough to divide things, a new mortgage can be a complication.

phmh posted 10/18/2020 14:28 PM

You know the old adage about the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is today? 51 is young! One of my very good friends found the true love of her life at 63, and I know many more who found love in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and even a few in their 80s. You could have another 40 years to live -- how do you want those years to go?

Have you spoken with a lawyer to see what the likely outcome would be if you split? Lots of times people think it will be worse than it is, especially in a long-term marriage. Have you read the fear vs. reality thread that is stickied at the top of this forum? So many of us had giant fears, and yet our realities turned out so much better than we imagined.

homewrecked2011 posted 10/18/2020 15:57 PM

The other thing is, you can move into the new house, but keep in mind he can spend all the $$, quit his job, then divorce you.
Whatever you decide, put lots of money aside for yourself.

I am much happier without xh, in my small house that needs lots of work.

BrokenheartedUK posted 10/18/2020 16:28 PM

I was 49 on Dday 1, 50 in Dday 2, and 51 when my D was finalised. I was terrified after Dday to D. I was terrified on Dday 2 not to. Itís been an adjustment being divorced and resetting my financial goals. But I figured I have at least 20 years left of living my life and there was no way I was going to waste more time in my M. Sunk costs are a fallacy that keeps us bound to previous decisions/relationships but if youíre unhappy and youíre H doesnít/wonít/canít do the work you donít have to continue to hang in there at the expense of your own life.

Iím turning 56 next week. Iíve been seeing a fantastic man for 3 years. Iíve launched my youngest child to college successfully (even in a pandemic) and Iím halfway through my masters to expand my career. Iíve NEVER BEEN HAPPIER.

See a lawyer. Get information. Expand your education and determine what career prospects you can pursue to enhance your lifestyle. And donít waste more time in a marriage thatís surviving on fumes.

dblackstar2002 posted 10/19/2020 06:41 AM

I can't speak for everyone my age, But I am 55 and have been single for quite some time and let me tell you. I AM HAVING A BLAST! Young and older women are looking for men our age. But you have to put yourself out there, Also pick up those hobbies you always wanted to do. You will find thing are not going to be as band as you may think they will be now that you are single.

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