Life can go on after midlife divorce

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As I settle into life in Minneapolis, I’m looking to make some new friends. With great online tools, it’s now fairly easy to connect with people who have similar interests and also live nearby. I’ve joined a few walking and writing groups, and also signed up for a “separated or divorced” social group, which I refer to as S&D.

Recently, I went to my first S&D gathering of about 40 men and women at a local restaurant.

Everyone was extremely friendly, and overall, it was a nice event. It had the feeling of a casual support group — only with wine, food, lots of talk and some 1990s piped-in music. And, everyone had one thing in common: they were ending or had ended a marriage.

However (and you probably knew there would be a “however”), while I enjoyed myself, I also experienced a revelation.

I’ve moved on.

At the S&D event, I was surrounded by people who were all talking about their former partners — sometimes with anger, bitterness and tears. Always with sadness. The stories made me realize how removed I am from the divorce journey, and how grateful I am of this fact.

Yes, I am divorced woman, but I am not in the midst of a divorce. It is not fresh, raw and so very, very painful.

That terrible chapter of my life is basically sorted out. It’s not that I never think about it, but I certainly no longer obsess constantly over it. Of course, my 21-year marriage will always be a part of me. However, today, it is a part of my history, not my present.

Moving on is a funny thing. You can’t seem to will it or move it any faster. I guess it takes place with the passage of time and the willingness to let go. Life moves forward and one day, perhaps over a cold beer at a social gathering, you realize it is no longer center stage in your life and you wonder why it took up so much energy and emotion.

Yes, I am a divorced woman, but I’ve moved on.

Nancy Wurtzel writes about making big changes at midlife. Her column, Dating Dementia, covers topics such as single parenting, empty nests, baby boomer issues, families, dating and caring for aging parents. She is based in Minneapolis.

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