9 Things No One Else Will Tell You About Getting Divorced in Your 30s
I was newly divorced at a time when most of my friends were getting married or having kids.
At the age of 32, I was packing up my belongings in the apartment I shared with my husband. After being together for just over 10 years, we were beginning the process of a divorce, when most other people were getting married or starting to expand their families with kids.
By 33, the relationship had officially ended, and I had moved to a new country to start my new life. At the same time, it was hard to scroll social media and watch my same-age friends going through happier times. It also doesn’t help that the D-word can sometimes feel like a scarlet letter stamped across your forehead.
If you’re in your 30s and going through a divorce now, or are recently divorced, it can be helpful to know you’re not alone. In fact, statistically speaking, you are in the majority. The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old, and 60% of all divorces involve individuals aged 25 to 39, according to wf-lawyers.com.
To help you on your journey, here are some stories and pieces of advice from other young divorcees.
Don’t write off your in-laws
Just because you’re not married to your ex anymore doesn’t necessarily mean you have to let go of his family, too. If you are close to your in-laws, make time to provide closure for them, and let them know they are still an important part of your life.
I wasn’t able to see my in-laws in person because of COVID restrictions, but I still send them birthday messages and holiday gifts, and chat with them via text every so often. It’s nice that we’ve been able to connect and still maintain a relationship even though I’m no longer married to their son.
Tara Eisenhard was 25 when she got married, and by age 27, she was divorced. Today, she’s a divorce coach and mediator, helping others navigate their own relationship challenges, and the life changes that come with them.
“My advice is to elevate your own expertise,” she explains. “Other people don’t know what it’s like to live inside your marriage.” Especially with social media, it’s easy to share only the happiest moments, and people can easily misconstrue what they think your life is like, versus what is actually affecting you,” she adds.
Your divorce, and the reasons behind it, are nobody’s business. “Only you know if the relationship is healthy, if your long-term goals are compatible, and if you’re able to grow with your partner,” Eisenhard says. “If the marriage isn’t appropriate, you don’t have to stay to make other people more comfortable.” And you certainly don’t have to explain the reasons for your decision to anyone, either.
Keep tabs on your finances and assets
“Divorce sucks, at any age… but in your 30s, it can be especially disappointing because while you’re still young enough to move on and even have kids with someone else, you feel too young to already have a failed marriage under your belt,” explains HelloGiggles editor Jene Luciani Sena, who got divorced at 35.
She stresses the importance of financial transparency, especially if sharing assets. “My husband handled ALL the finances,” she explains, “When the D word happens and lawyers get involved, it’s scary to be the one in the dark. Be involved in where your money is and where it’s going,” she advises.
“Also have your name on all accounts and properties as a protection,” Sena adds. “I learned this the hard way when we were negotiating who got what percentage from the sale of our home.”
Of course, property laws vary by state but it’s definitely a YIKES! situation you want to avoid, and one that will save you a ton of heartache (and cash) in the end.
Assess all legal options
While it may have felt like romance and roses in the beginning, marriage is a legally binding contract. You’re not wrong to be scared off by the lawyer situation in the movie Marriage Story. Divorce lawyers often make money by pitting their clients against each other to gain the maximum financial benefit – for their client, as well as themselves. You have to know that you’re preparing for battle, before going in.
Other options exist however. Mediators cost less money, and help both parties decide on the divorce terms together. And especially if you don’t have any assets (like a house, children, or shared financial accounts), you can do what my ex and I did: file for divorce online. The paperwork takes time, but we only spent a total of about $1,000 between the filing fees and administrative services, as opposed to tens of thousands using separate lawyers and potentially battling it out in court.
If you do decide to lawyer up with separate ones, note that many attorneys will offer a free consultation. Before to ask, before you go.
It’s okay to not be okay
You might feel you have to put on a brave face when going through a divorce. But Melanie Rud, who was married at 26 and divorced by 32, knows that trying to keep it all inside can be damaging in the long-run.
“Stop telling everyone you’re fine,” she writes in an essay for Glam. “I mean, if you’re actually fine, go right ahead…it’s tough to be vulnerable and let people see that your life has gone down the toilet…. reach out for help when you need it. Cry in front of your friends.”
Look into therapy
Rud also highly suggests working with a therapist who can help you learn coping methods and build up your confidence again, or simply have someone with a professional background in listening to get you through the tough times.
Many therapy services can be covered by your insurance, and some virtual options, like TalkSpace, can be paid out of pocket for a lower price than in-person sessions.
Reach out to others
It’s easy to feel incredibly alone in the aftermath of a divorce, no matter what your age is. One way to find comfort and hope is to discuss your feelings with other women who have already gone through it, with more time and emotional distance.
“I follow the over 30 sub[reddits] r/askwomenover30, r/askmenover30,” states reddit user abloodyminge in a thread about women who divorced relatively young. “I was curious about dating, so I posted in this sub[reddit]… and received a lot of good advice.”
Women in their 30s have the rest of their lives to seek fulfilling relationships, and many in this article have done just that (Luciani Sena, for example, is happily married to her second husband). Still, at times, we might wonder if we could have done things differently. It’s important to remember that we aren’t alone, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel.