Baby boomers are divorcing at an ever increasing rate according to a June 2016 article in Fortune Magazine. Since the early 1990s, the 55 to 64 year old boomers divorce rate doubled. Meanwhile, the over aged 65 boomer divorce rate has tripled.
The reasons why are myriad. Retirement years mean different things to different retirees. Some want to spend those years playing miniature golf in Florida, others want to fulfill lifelong dreams. Travel, giving back with their expertise, and becoming involved in their community in a significant way are just some possibilities. Life expectations at this stage can be very different from your partner.
As a bona fide boomer, I would say an urgency quietly builds. This is the time to do the things you might have been waiting a lifetime to do.
After many years of marriage, a couple can look at each other and find that they have drifted apart. Family, children, grandchildren, friendships -- all play into the burden of decision making about a next step.
Be pragmatic, seek professional advice, and make decisions that are well thought out. Maybe a relationship tune up is all that is needed or maybe it is time for a fresh start.
All of this is to say there are a lot of boomers starting over at this stage of life. Bewildering could be one way of describing the situation. Some may feel giddy, child-like in facing the future alone. Maybe after years of marriage, alone is just how you want to continue. For others, finding new love might be the goal.
Decisions need to be made and new life experience need to be addressed. Time is of the essence as the boomer is no longer twenty one with a whole life ahead. Priorities need to be made.
Beginning the dating scene again, if that is something you wish, can be intimidating. First things first. What did you learn from your marriage about the type of partner you would be interested in today?
In my case a few things were non-negotiable. My benchmarks for a future relationship -- honesty and integrity. It all sounds a bit mercenary in print, a loss of spontaneity, but necessary after the trauma of my marriage.
Readers know I am a fan of T charts as a problem solving tool. Draw a large T chart on a piece of paper and write what you want in a partner on one side and what you don't want in a partner on the other side. Whether those wants are philosophical or practical, it all helps in the decision making process.
One online dating profile I read a few years ago began with the sentence " She must have good teeth." He had his priorities.
Take it one step at a time. Will you remarry is a decision for later. Right now the task is to meet new people.
There are any number of ways you can do that. Online dating has come into its own in recent years. Today eyebrows generally don't arch if you admit to meeting online.
Use discretion. Instead of flitting from one online site to another, get to know the site you choose. Take care meeting new people. Don't be ashamed to bail. In the past I've had many dates that never went beyond the first coffee together. Listen to your gut and accept that, in some ways, it is a bit like a shopping spree.
An unforeseen bonus is that I have made lifelong friends through dating sites. The relationships worked best as friendships. Although a rather worn adage, there are no rules.
Loneliness is another worry for recently divorced boomers. Always used to having someone around and suddenly it is only you on the couch on a Friday night.
Meeting new people does not necessarily mean online dating. There are many ways to make new friends later in life.
Volunteer. There are so many ways to volunteer. Some of the happiest boomers I know are the ones that volunteer. Nothing like a little altruism to boost morale.
As well, I started a book club five years ago. I put an ad up on an online free classified ad site. I have made many new friends as a result. My experience has proven that meaningful new friendships can happen at this stage of life.
Check out your local library which usually offers special interest groups. If nothing suits arrange to start your own group. Maybe you like movies but don't like going alone. Perhaps add in coffee and discussion afterward. Don't be afraid to push out into this new world of singlehood.
What about you? Are you a baby boomer starting a new life? Share your story.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost
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