Divorce at retirement: the advice of a psychologist to live it well


A diminished love, divergent priorities, a need for independence… There are many reasons that push a couple to take different paths after years of living together. In recent years, separation has been on the rise among seniors.

According to the latest figures from the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED), the proportion of people aged 50 and over in the total number of divorces increased significantly between 1996 and 2016. Among the factors mentioned to explain this trend, the The institute notes “less social disapproval” vis-à-vis breakups.

If the divorce of seniors is less and less taboo, it remains no less painful. After a whole life shared as a couple, the separation sometimes has a taste of failure, even of unfinished business. Worse still: it can leave the bitter impression that one is too old to find love again one day.

How to open up to new relationships after a late breakup? How to deal with family life, shared friendships or a common heritage? And, if you haven’t taken the plunge yet, how do you know it’s time to end your marriage?

Answers with Sébastien Garnero, doctor of psychology, psychotherapist and sexologist.

After years of living together, it’s hard to know when it’s time to go their separate ways. According to the therapist, a couple that is going badly tends to settle into a scenario where one has to comply with the demands of the other. “At first on an ad hoc basis, then more and more regularly until you completely deny yourself and be at the service of the other until you are no longer the subject of the relationship but the object of the other”, explains Sébastien Garnero.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of elements that can spell the end of a marriage:

Once the divorce has been pronounced, other elements must be taken into account: separation of property, mutual friendly relations, family ties… How to achieve a successful divorce in retirement?

According to Dr. Sébastien Garnero, cultivating one’s social, friendly and family life is one of the main levers for coping well with a breakup, which is moreover late. “Numerous studies confirm the interest of developing these bonds of friendship, proximity and intimacy with others as much as possible”, explains the specialist. You should also continue to assert your new family roles, whether you are a parent or a grandparent.

You can also get involved in causes, associations that have meaning according to your values. The psychotherapist also advises to “take trips that punctuate and punctuate the year, leaving outside holiday periods in order to benefit from advantageous rates and enjoy a certain tranquility of the place”.

Finally, and this is very important: do not neglect the financial aspect. Take the time to anticipate a possible drop in income. “When possible, it is preferable to become the owner of your house or your main apartment and to favor safe investments (real estate, rental, savings, etc.) which will allow you to have sufficient financial security”, concludes the Dr Sebastien Garnero.

You will have understood: a late breakup does not mean that you have failed, nor that your life is over. Take advantage of this time to refocus on yourself, your loved ones, your passions and… Who knows, love might come knocking on your door again?