Midlife-Crisis Divorce Regrets: How to Deal with a Choice You Might Regret

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Going through a midlife crisis can be difficult for the sufferer and everyone around them, especially since it triggers the desire to make significant changes in one’s life. There are many different ways it can manifest, such as having the desire to get a new job, engaging in an affair, or even purchasing a brand-new car. It is also incredibly common for sufferers to desire a change in their marital status, which typically results in divorce.

However, before you act on your midlife urges and start making major decisions, it is important to think about what you are doing and how it is going to affect your future. You will also want to consider how it is going to affect the people around you, and if you will be left with any longstanding regrets.

Below are just a few of the most common midlife-crisis regrets you might experience during a divorce—if you do not take a step back from your current situation and consider how your actions can have consequences.

1. Taking a midlife crisis too seriously

If you believe that your midlife crisis is the end of the person you once were, it could be the worst thing for the mental health of both you and your spouse. It can seem easy to just “go with the flow” and follow through with random aspirations, but it can also wreak havoc on your relationships.

If you assume that your desire to divorce during a midlife crisis is your only option, it is a clear path to the destruction of your marriage. You will find that many people believe the only way to feel whole is to follow through with their feelings, which typically do not have a logical foundation. The feelings during a midlife crisis are generally the complete opposite of what you will want after this phase has passed.

2. Making too many decisions at once

Everyone has a list of things they want to accomplish at some point during their lives, but during a midlife crisis, you might be motivated to facilitate a complete overhaul of your life. Making too many decisions at once is only going to become overwhelming, and force you to make rash choices.

It is important that you focus on self-improvement in a rational way, rather than following impulses motivated by a midlife crisis. To help catalyze change, try making smaller decisions, rather than jumping straight to divorce and assuming it is going to fix all of your worries.

3. Overanalyzing your current situation

Since a midlife crisis is a time in your life when you are going to feel like you are ready to change everything, it is easy to get swept away in the idea that you made a mistake by getting married. But remember: in the past, you made the sound decision to commit yourself to one person for the rest of your life.

A midlife crisis can be incredibly tricky, and it will try to persuade you to believe your marriage was not the best decision, which in most cases is not the truth. It is important to try to guide yourself through an analysis of everything to ensure that you are making the right decisions for your future self.

4. Jolting the emotions of loved ones

If you were to ask a group of divorcees (who went through with their separation during a midlife crisis) what their biggest regret was, the most common answer would be hurting their loved ones. Typically, a midlife-crisis divorce is due to the desires of one spouse, not a failing marriage.

You might find yourself itching to destroy your old life and start rebuilding a new one, but there are people in your old life that you will want to carry with you into your new life as well. The last thing you will want to do is hurt anyone while you are on your temporary journey of self-discovery. Otherwise, you will find yourself alone.

If you are 100% sure that there are things you want to change in your life, thoughtfully proceed, as your best option is to choose the less destructive path.

5. Dreaming about unrealistic wishes

Midlife crises affect everyone differently. Some people want one or two changes, while others want a brand-new life. Unrealistic wishes are only going to put you in a position where you will feel like a failure once you realize they are unattainable at this point in your life.

Stay away from ideas that are not within your grasp, or notions that will force you to make terrible decisions to accommodate your current desires. It is better to focus on positive changes and more attainable goals. They will keep you occupied as you go through your midlife crisis, and they will help make you a better person in the future.

For example, consider taking more courses in college to build a better acumen, save up to go on a world trip (either by yourself or with your spouse), or start a side business that you can channel your energy into.

Everyone knows that a midlife crisis is not an easy thing to deal with. As you start to experience one for yourself, it can be difficult to see clearly enough to make the right decisions. If you feel like a divorce is the right thing for you, it is important to make sure that you are not leaving yourself (or anyone around you) with regrets. Otherwise, the heartbreak will become too difficult to deal with.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA is the host of the “Divorce and Your Money Show” and Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, with offices in Dallas, New York and Hanover, New Hampshire.

 

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Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.