baby boomer divorceHow to Make Your Home Your Own After Divorce
According to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, overall divorce rates among people age 50 and older has doubled. The reasons are many and I won’t go into them here. No matter the reason, it’s a time of great emotional upheaval with changes that affect the entire family and sometimes beyond—sort of like watching ever widening ripples when we throw a rock into a lake.

Home as a Haven
How is our home affected by divorce? In many cases, there are still children living in the home and it’s much easier for them to deal with a divorce if they can remain in a familiar place. For other women, it just makes better financial sense, especially with the current real estate situation, to keep their home.

So here we are, living in a home that screams with memories. Some terrific, some not so much, but memories shared over many years cannot be discarded, nor should they be. All of these memories make us who we are today.The good ones we hold onto and the others we learn from.

A Renewed Focus
I had a client contact me because she she was divorced after 38 yrs. of marriage. After this much time sharing a home, she wanted to know how to make it her own. It’s not easy to see and live in a place that’s been shared with a husband or significant other. She realized she needed to see her home with new eyes. She needed a plan, a step-by-step action plan. Through a series of dialogue, she came to see who she is now, and where she wants to go. Recognizing that, she became excited with a renewed focus for the direction she wanted her life to take and it started with her home.

This kind of planning is important because it’s not just re-arranging furniture, but re-arranging a life.

What To Do
If you are stuck and divorced, or about to be, the following suggestions can help get you started:

A) Paint- Nothing can change a space better or, more quickly, than new colors.  Now’s the time to paint your living room or bedroom that perfect shade of pale pink that would have sent your ex-husband screaming into the street. It’s your choice and it can be whatever makes you feel good.

B)- Goodby to the easy chair that he left and you’ve always HATED. This goes for any pieces you may have chosen together, but were not necessarily your first choice. Better to have an empty space than fill it with something you
don’t absolutely love. Few of us can get rid of everything at once, but we can do it gradually. I had another client who had to get rid of the “marriage bed.” New bedding wouldn’t suffice. It had to be a bed that had never been slept in. For her, this was moving forward in a positive way.

C) The Man Cave- No longer needed, unless you have teenage boys, and maybe not even then. This might be the perfect time to turn that room into your dream space. A place where you can enjoy your interests that you couldn’t fully
embrace while married.

D) Re-arrange your rooms to whatever suits you in your new life. Too many T.V’s and you don’t watch that much? Sell or give away what you don’t need or want. Think that his office is o.k. the way he set it up? Make it your own. Make it a space that allows you to work and be your most creative.

The same goes for all the rooms in your home. With a pad and pen, do a walk-through and look around. What feelings do you get? How would you like to feel? If you can’t make big changes, make small ones. You want to feel in charge and in control.

Whether divorce was your choice, his choice, or mutual, you have opened a new chapter in this book that represents your new life. Make it a best seller. In spite of the pain and upheaval, it also allows you possibilities for a life and a home you never dreamed of before.

Until next time…

Blessings,
Nancy


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