By: Maria Davies
Divorce is a traumatic life event at any time. In midlife, however, it is even more difficult. I went through a particularly painful divorce which included leaving England, returning to Chicago after nearly a ten year absence with a five year old, four suitcases, about $300, no job, being housed in my best friend’s one bedroom apartment.
In spite of all this, somehow I knew that I would marry again. The intervening four years were quite a challenge. In the days before the numerous internet dating sites that exist today, the only alternatives were friends and family introductions, bars, workplace and chance encounters. My family and friends were not helpful, bars were never an option, my workplace offered no possibilities and chance encounter was too uncertain. Then I stumbled on Chicagoland Dating Service, started by two women as an alternative to the above choices. People looking to meet and date, sent in their info – no pictures- a brief biography, what they were looking for in dates and a phone number. Men paid a minimal amount for names to match their potential dates, women received names free. The dating game was another challenge. It had been 12 years since I had dated and things had changed in that time. Women now called men, they paid for the date, and sex in mature adulthood was seen as no big deal. I adapted where I felt comfortable doing so and kept my own ways where needed.
After kissing a lot of frogs, my prince came along and we were married a bit more than a year after meeting. That was 33 years ago.
So from my own experience, here are some items for consideration:
- To remarry or not
- What criteria to use to choose a suitable partner
- How soon to introduce the prospective candidate to family, especially young children
- How to handle the prospective partner’s children and other family members, who might not be eager to accept a new spouse.
- How to handle finances
As I said at the beginning, somehow I always knew I would remarry. As to the criteria, I worked backwards from characteristics I knew I would not accept as well as focusing on common interests and qualities I wanted: loyalty, humor, an ability to let me do my own thing, ability to communicate, handle conflict without being vindictive and definitely no jealousy.
When the relationship became serious, I introduced my newly intended to my then nine year old son, who seemed rather indifferent. I met his two teenage daughters, who were very sweet and supportive. His son was away then but when I finally met him, we got along well. I’m extremely lucky that my stepchildren are such great human beings, and his mother was willing to give me a chance.
It took a while to get finances into some semblance of reason since I was still hurting from having lost everything.
It’s good also to remember that family issues may not be easy. It’s best to not try to replace/outdo/out parent the former spouse but to be easy going, accepting and offer an open heart to all concerned.
While all this is hopefully a guide, what is most important is to be open, be willing to take a risk and believe that happiness is possible no matter how painful the past experience may have been.
For more Relationship Tips, click here.
MARIA DAVIES - Travel
Maria Davies has lived on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean since retiring from a successful, Chicago-based real estate practice. She keeps busy with managing her website, producing a monthly newsletter, gardening and exploring island-life activities. Her current project is videotaping a legendary native Grenadian who’s renowned for his knowledge of folk medicine and the history of the island.