Divorce Life Stages

Beating Holiday Stress During Your Divorce and After

Written December 4th, 2013
Categories: Divorce, Divorce Life Stages

Stressed young woman near christmas treeFor most people, the holiday period begins with anticipation and excitement.  Unfortunately for some, those happy feelings dissolve into stress, frustration and/or the blues.  People who have experienced the recent death of a loved one or are going through a divorce or separation often experience a sense of loss during this holiday.  Many of us want the holidays to go perfectly and when our visions of perfection are not met, we are disappointed.  The following are some ways in which people can prepare for or counteract holiday stress and/or holiday blues.  Dr. Deborah O Day, a well-known forensic and clinical psychologist in Orlando, Florida suggests:

  1. Plan ahead.  Identify potential times for the blues and get support of family and friends;
  2. Take time for yourself doing something that refreshes or soothes you (massage, card game with your buddies, etc.);
  3. Plan to “get away” – whether brief or extended; a new atmosphere or locale may help you get perspective;
  4. Don’t schedule too much; less can be more;
  5. Try not to recreate or create the best or the perfect experience;
  6. Don’t shop till you drop.  This only depletes your physical and financial resources and may set you up for becoming depressed;
  7. Consider catalog shopping instead of mall shopping.  Shopping at home could be a time and stress saver;
  8. Practice “being” rather than “doing”; enjoy time by yourself or with others;
  9. Use prepared snacks or foods for expected or unexpected guests instead of stressing about impressing your company; and
  10. Remember we all have different feelings and reactions to the holidays.  Live up to your own expectations – not to the expectations of others.


Divorcing Later in Life

Written January 30th, 2013
Categories: Divorce Life Stages, Divorce Trends, Uncategorized

Although the divorce rate in the US has declined slightly in recent years, one segment of the population has doubled its rate in the past 20 years: the 50+ year old category. Research sociologists Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin of Bowling Green State University will present their findings when they share their paper, “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” at Ohio State University in April.

“In 1990, only one in 10 people who got divorced was 50 or older; by 2009, the number was roughly one in four. More than 600,000 people ages 50 and older got divorced in 2009.” Wall Steet Journal online

So what seems to be the issue? The generation experiencing this trend, the Baby Boomers, have different ideas for the core meaning of marriage. Brown shares this thought, “In the 1970s, there was, for the first time, a focus on marriage needing to make individuals happy, rather than on how well each individual fulfilled their marital roles.” This shift has caused discontent among many couples who are facing empty nests for the first time in many years. They begin pondering life in terms of having an ending and looking at their dreams: fulfilled or unfulfilled.

One common element of those divorcing later in life seems to be a previous marriage. “Fifty-three percent of the people over 50 now getting divorced have done so at least once before. . . Having been married previously doubles the risk of divorce for those ages 50 to 64; for those ages 65 and up, the risk factor quadruples,” says Brown. In addition, simply having less experience at being married may increase the chances for divorce. “Nearly one half of those who divorced in 2009 had been married fewer than 20 years; of those who stayed together, nearly three in five had been married for more than 30 years.”  Family law attorneys from Jupiter to Wellington would agree that divorces in Palm Beach County are also reflecting this national trend.

Divorcing Later in Life: Is It Healthier for You?

Written April 13th, 2012
Categories: Divorce Life Stages, Uncategorized

Divorce is stressful. We can all agree with that. Sociological studies are proving it and demonstrating how it can affect a person’s health.

In a study published in 2009, Linda Waite, of University of Chicago and co-author Mary Elizabeth Hughes, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, discovered that “divorced or widowed people have 20 percent more chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer than married people.”

The researchers compiled data from four categories—chronic conditions, mobility, depressive symptoms and their self-assessment—studying 8,652 middle-aged people. The results were clear. Health suffers when an couple divorces gets divorced. Waite says, “What’s interesting is if people have done this and remarried, we still see, in their health, the scars or marks — the damage that was done by this event.”

In a more recently published study by Michigan State University sociologist, Hui Liu, reported that when older adults divorce, the event causes less health problems than with younger couples. Liu analyzed reports from over 1,200 participants in a 15-year national study, “Americans’ Changing Lives.”

Of people surveyed who were born in the 1950’s, the highest number of health issues was reported by those who divorced in the last half of their thirties. Their complaints outnumbered those who divorced in their late 40’s and those who stayed married during the study.

Interestingly, those who remained divorced or who remained married during the study, reported about the same health issues. Liu surmised that “it is not the status of being married or divorced, per se, that affects health, but instead is the process of a divorce transition . . . that it is stressful and hurts health.”

To find out more about either of these studies, click here or here.