What Is Life After Divorce Like For Men Over 40?

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated April 8, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Life after divorce for men can be different for everyone. Some men may feel liberated, whereas others might feel abandoned, hopeful, or confused. Although some of these differences might be attributed to age or an individual's life situation, there are many ways to experience divorce, and each method can be valid. For men over 40, life after a divorce can feel challenging, but it may be possible to find healing and support as you navigate your unique situation.

Thinking about what divorce for men over 40 is like?

How is divorce different for men over 40? 

Although there is not necessarily a defining characteristic of a man over 40, there may be some statistical similarities in men at this age. For example, many men over 40 are established in their careers, have children, provide for their families, or have goals for their adult life. These areas can often be heavily impacted by divorce. Men under 40 may also experience these situations. However, many men under 40 may still be establishing a life. 

Regardless of the particular factors in a situation, men in their 40s are often established. They may have a set place to live, a job, a set vehicle, and a set routine each day. Losing their partner can disrupt their lives, and bouncing back and creating a new life can be challenging if that life has been their reality for years. How long it takes to move on from a divorce and create a new life can differ per situation. 

Life after divorce may involve relearning how to live alone, parenting as a single father (if children are involved), and determining what occurred in your marriage to work on yourself if you decide to reconsider dating or marriage in the future. Even if the divorce was your choice, healing from harmful, painful, or unhealthy dynamics from your past can be challenging and often requires work.  

Below are a few other areas divorced men may face as they navigate the process. 

Learning new patterns 

For many who have gone through a divorce, being single is a chance to readdress behavior patterns. Where you once may have slept beside your partner, you may learn to sleep alone. For many, being alone can be scary, uncomfortable, or confusing at first. For others, this process might bring relief. You might also go back and forth between multiple emotions. Feeling emotions after divorce is normal, and it can be unhealthy for your body and mind to suppress them.  

Learning new patterns is often as much about the long-term as the short-term. Long-term patterns to focus on can include decision-making, working, dating, and engaging in lifestyle habits, while short-term patterns concentrate more on the nitty gritty, day-to-day details. Perhaps your partner cooked your breakfast daily, and you are now forced to cook it yourself. Maybe your partner paid all the bills, and you are left to figure out where the utilities are and how to get hooked up to the internet. Perhaps your partner planned your vacations or helped you socialize. In these cases, you might be confused about how to spend your time or connect with others.

Reorganizing your life can be part of getting a divorce that may be overwhelming for men in their 40s or older if they were not in charge of all life duties in their marriage. Cleaning, cooking, and maintaining a home can take time to get accustomed to again. Reaching out to a life coach or therapist may be beneficial during these adjustments. 


Sorting priorities

Understanding your priorities can be another part of learning how to exist in the world as a divorced man over 40. While your priorities in marriage may have been shared with your partner, your time is your own when you're divorced, and your priorities are wholly yours to figure out and implement. In this respect, some men might feel freedom; men who were previously pressured by a partner might find that being able to create their own priorities is a freeing experience. 

Sorting priorities can involve making significant life changes. Men might have chosen their career paths, homes, and religious preferences based on what their ex-spouses wanted or what their immediate peers were doing rather than closely evaluating what they wanted or needed. In some cases, divorce can afford middle-aged men the opportunity to explore themselves effectively to create a life they feel excited about and fulfilled by.

If you're a parent, this process may be slightly different. Spending time with your children, navigating custody, and co-parenting with your ex-spouse can feel limiting. However, there are ways to find mediation and support to ensure the most freedom and healthiest dynamics with your family. 

Getting back out there

For many men, dating after divorce can cause fear and apprehension and may seem impossible. Try not to rush the dating process due to worry about age. Many people of all ages can find fulfilling and healthy relationships. If you're not ready to date yet, listen to your body and mind. When you're ready, there can still be opportunities to find love. People find love everywhere and all the time, including as older adults.  

When you're ready, getting back into the dating field may be a matter of feeling in tune with yourself, your wants, and your needs. If you are mourning your marriage, pining after your wife, or wishing for the life you had, you may benefit from taking some time away from dating or reaching out to a therapist to talk. Dating again can be seen as a future goal, and you can reconsider it at any time when you feel ready to. 

Learning to move on

Moving on from a relationship can be akin to losing someone to another cause and often causes grief, regardless of gender or age. Many men divorcing after age 40 have been married for at least a decade, meaning that at least one-quarter of their life has been spent with their partner. Moving on may take a few years. Deciding to move forward can involve regular, consistent behaviors that you actively hope for and work toward to create a healthy, whole version of yourself apart from your marriage. 

Moving on from a decades-long marriage can be challenging, as most of your adult life was spent with someone else. If you haven't been alone before, it might feel like you're experiencing life for the first time. Some people may feel as if they lose their identity after divorce. The solution can be similar in the case of a divorce after a five-year marriage or a 20-year marriage. 

Moving on may start with learning about who you are alone. Learn your likes and dislikes, where you might have benefited from growth in your past, and what you need to do to live the life you want. You might struggle to move on from your marriage until you can separate yourself from who you were as a partner and who you are now. 

Moving on might not be a linear journey; if you miss your past relationship, you might feel the urge to have another. However, giving yourself time to grieve and get to know yourself may allow you to feel you are bringing a whole and healthy personality to the table when you meet someone again if that's something you want to do. Moving on can involve taking a few steps forward and a few steps back until you feel you are ready to pursue another relationship and live your life without the marriage you once had.

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Thinking about what divorce for men over 40 is like?

Counseling options after divorce 

Many divorced men over 40 may face the responsibilities of co-parenting, child support, alimony, living their own distinct lives, grieving the loss of a relationship, and learning how to successfully balance these cogs to create a functional life for themselves. If you're experiencing these challenges, you're not alone, and support is available. Many divorced men choose to seek support through a therapist. 

If you feel embarrassed about seeking therapy, there are options for you. Online counseling with a relationship therapist through a platform like Regain can be beneficial. Studies have found that men often prefer online therapy because it can be more discreet and is as effective as in-person options. 

With an online therapy platform, you may choose a nickname instead of your real name and attend sessions from any discreet location with an internet connection. In addition, you can choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions to have the most control over when and where you receive support. 


Divorces at any age can be complex, challenging, and painful to experience, regardless of the reasoning behind them. Divorcing in middle age can present unique challenges. For example, many individuals divorcing at this age have children, family structures, homes, and jobs. 

However, with consistency, dedication, and the will to heal and move forward, men over 40 may enjoy a life filled with health, vitality, and enjoyment after divorce. If you're interested in learning more about how to get started in this process, consider reaching out to a therapist for guidance. 

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