The Queen of My Self

By Brandon Kruse/The Palm Beach Post

…continued from Friday, October 21st…

With children out of the house, a couple’s growing incompatibility can become too glaring to ignore, said Amy Sherman, a Lake Worth mental health counselor and Sedacca’s sister. Together they authored 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!

“Previously, people divorced because of infidelity or money issues. With boomers, it’s a different criteria. Now that the kids are gone, some realize their relationships are boring and full of resentment,” said Sherman, whose website is called

For many women, their 50s are a time of reinvention, when they’re ready to loosen the ties that bound them to home, children and husbands, said Sherman. They’re weary of the incessant work of housekeeping, not to mention husband-keeping, especially if the couple has grown apart through the years.

“Women want fulfillment at this stage of their life, they’re ready to find out who they are. They’re feeling stronger and more empowered. They don’t need to rely as much on a man,” Sherman said.

That’s exactly what drives women to her office, said West Palm Beach divorce lawyer Robin Roshkind.

Men leave marriages because they find someone else, she said. But by the time a woman gets to her office, she’s simply fed up with an unsatisfying relationship.

“Women are working and feel they can be economically independent and are tired of picking up after him,” she said.

Re-evaluate bucket list

At 50, women – and plenty of men – are doing the calculations and figuring they still have 30 years ahead of them and will never look better or be healthier than they are right now.

“You re-evaluate. You look at your personal bucket list one more time and realize, it’s now or never,” Roshkind said.

Then there’s the clash between women’s midlife energy surge and their husbands’ recliner time.

“Women are much more active as they get older, where men really slow down. All they want is the computer and TV,” Wellington psychologist Shirley Bass said. “Many women leave just because they’ve just had it.”

After a certain age, following a lifetime of nuturing others, some women long for an independent life alone, posited Dominique Browning in a New York Times essay last month. Unlike men, most have built a strong social support networks of friends and family for when they want company.

It was certainly true for Cornet, whose loyal cadre of friends and family helped pull her through her life’s radical changes.

“My friends, especially my sister, came to my rescue,” she said. “That’s something women have that men don’t.”

Looking back now, she credits her divorce with a newfound confidence and independence she didn’t have during her marriage.

“Before, I would never have gone to the beach, or a movie or restaurant by myself. Now, I’m not afraid to do those things,” Cornet said.

And one more thing, something she almost – but not quite – feels guilty about.

With the old resentments and tangled emotions wiped away, “I’m having a lot more fun,” she said.

Between 1990 to 2009, the divorce rate among those 50 to 64 more than doubled. 25 percent of all divorces are among couples over 50. In 1990, it was 10 percent. 66 percent of divorces among those over 50 were initiated by wives.

Sources: National Center for Family & Marriage Research, U.S. Census Bureau, AARP


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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to

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