Starting Over After Divorce At 40 And Rebuilding Your Life

starting over after divorce at 40

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

How do I rebuild my life after divorce? I’ve sunken into a deep depression and feel scared about starting over after divorce at 40.

I’ve been with my husband for over 13 years and I found out that this is the third time he has cheated on me. Prior it was Internet/phone sex, second time he gave me an STD, and the third time I caught him on the phone with a girl “friend.” So now I have to put on my big girl pants and seek divorce.


Do I Have To Sell My House In a Divorce? Here’s What You Need To Know


We’ve always been the power couple that flourished and now we are getting a divorce and not only am I “ashamed” but I don’t know if anyone will ever be able to “put up or deal with me” the way he has for so long. I’m scared of being a single mom, I’m nervous about living alone, I’m afraid I won’t be able to live a normal life without him.

My gut reaction to this is to tell you to take a breath. A really long, deep one. In fact, if you haven’t started doing it yet, you should consider yoga classes immediately.

But let’s be honest, yoga isn’t going to heal your broken heart and act as the building blocks to rebuild your life. So, let’s back up for a minute.

I get that you are depressed. You are also probably devastated, deeply hurt, sad, scared, angry, and in shock that the divorce is actually happening. Been there.



Finding out you’ve been cheated on is awful.

First of all, it makes a person feel really, really stupid, and really bad about themselves, as if they didn’t see it, and/or weren’t good enough to prevent the other person from sleeping with someone else.


What the cheatee fails to understand initially (when they find out about the cheating) is that he or she isn’t stupid, but rather trusting and good, because he or she had faith in the spouse, they only saw the good and didn’t want to believe that someone who made a commitment to them to be faithful was ever capable of deceiving and hurting them like that. That doesn’t seem stupid to me.


The stupid one is the cheater. Cheaters usually have deep seeded issues that run the gamut of sex addiction to low self-esteem/insecurity to selfishness to simply bad judgment that they later regret. And honestly, not all cheaters are alike. There are some good guys (and women) who cheat, so I try not to make blanket statements.




A couple things. First of all, “The power couple?” Who cares. Get over that quickly. No one is the power couple. What people see on the outside isn’t what it really is, and the most important thing is not being a “power couple” but rather a “happy couple.”


What I think you will find is that as you start telling people you are getting divorced, they will be very supportive, and they will have respect for you. You will be surprised at how much they have picked up on. They will probably tell you they aren’t that surprised.


Secondly, why are you “ashamed?!” What on earth would make you ashamed of getting out of a bad situation and setting an example for your kids that it is unacceptable for dad to have girlfriends?


Next, (and this is big) you say, “I don’t know if anyone can put up with me or deal with me.” It makes me sad because that statement makes it seem like you don’t like yourself very much. Ask yourself why that is. Are you mad at yourself for putting up with his cheating all these years? (which you shouldn’t be.) Is it that you are unhappy with other aspects of your life, your job, social life, friends? You need to figure out what you don’t like and fix it.

That is how you deal with starting over after divorce at 40, and how you rebuild your life.


You start with yourself. You might want to engage in faith, physical activity, yoga, talk therapy, medication, friends and family, and of course your beloved children, and you take time to really be honest with yourself about who you are, what mistakes you have made, what you want for your future, and what is going to make you happy.


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Starting over after divorce at 40 takes time, and there is no getting around the rollercoaster of a journey you have to go on before you gain real clarity.

But, the beauty is, with hard work—looking within, you could end up living a life that makes you truly and fulfilled, and without a man who cheats on you.


Lastly, don’t be afraid of being a single mom. Don’t be afraid of living alone. These are the situations that are going to make you stronger, healthier and wiser. They are empowering opportunities for you to find out just how amazing you are. And, parenting is parenting, whether you are married or single. They are both wonderful!!


You might just realize, you don’t want a “normal” life. What’s so great about “normal?” Maybe you deserve better than normal. How about exceptional? It’s there for the taking, but that’s up to you.


Check out my advice in this video:

Like this article? Check out, “20 Things I wish I could have told my newly separated self”

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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

3 Responses to “Starting Over After Divorce At 40 And Rebuilding Your Life”

  1. Joan

    I agree! You start with yourself first. Take the time for a self-journey! Take time to really be honest with yourself about who you are, what mistakes you have made and what you want for your future. Have a date with yourself and get to know yourself as others know you.

  2. Sue

    Today I sold my engagement ring. I was thrilled but became sad because I feel why did I marry him in the first place and was bummed I didn’t get much for it.

  3. suzan allen

    I know its hard to think about moving on alone, but I’ve been there in the past two years, after my ex-husband of 27 years admitted to cheating, and I decided that he needed to leave my home and that I’d rather be alone than with someone who would do that to me. It was hard at first, getting accustomed to not being a part of a couple, but now I am happy with my choice. I know that his cheating is a reflection of his own shortcomings has little do do with me, and the woman he is married to now was his mistress during our marriage — to that I say “good luck and bye bye.” I am fine and have no regrets. Looking forward, I am open to to all of the good that has entered my life. My advice is that if you are ready to move on, get a trustworthy attorney to make sure you and your ex’s custody agreement will work for you and you will be financially okay. Oh, and get a good therapist who will help you process the pain, so you can work through it and become stronger than ever.I wish you the best!


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