Share There are well over 1. In the first part of this series, we found out how these mid-life singletons tackle the novelty of dating and having sex with new people. But how do they fare once the dust of divorce has finally settled? Can women ever really get over it? And how likely are they to find lasting love second time around? Or is it possible that modern divorcees, having devoted much of their lives to a man and bringing up kids, prefer the peace of one in a bed to the compromises and quarrels of two?
From the dozens of women I've spoken to, and from surveys here and in the U. While some may never recover, the majority pick up the pieces and refuse to give in to self-pity.
One survey conducted earlier this month, for which 1, women were interviewed, emphasised how much more independent women over 50 are compared to their mothers' generation. Almost half had opted to learn a new skill after reaching 50, with computer courses, a foreign language, cooking and salsa dancing among the most popular. These are just some of the ways women slowly re-build their selfesteem after divorce. Contrary to popular belief, if finding new love is an issue, it's not necessarily the priority.
Can women ever really get over a divorce? More than half said they were happier than they had ever been. And while the majority were open to the idea of a good relationship, they weren't obsessed with finding a new partner.
Thirty-one per cent of the women interviewed had since found themselves in an exclusive relationship, 32 per cent were dating non-exclusively and around one in ten had no desire to date at all.
Fourteen per cent said they'd date the right man if he came along, but weren't going to knock themselves out trying to find him.
Counsellor Keren Smedley says: The AARP survey also contradicted the belief that as women get older they want to slow down and get a few more cats. Over 63 per cent say that getting older, with grown-up children who are financially independent, gives them a chance to pursue their dreams and do things they've always wanted to. And 80 per cent agree that as they've grown older they're more free to be themselves. So many women say to me that it's lonelier being within a lousy relationship than being on their own Charlotte Friedman, a former barrister specialising in family law, retrained as a family therapist and two years ago launched the Divorce Support Group to help people work through the psychological and emotional impact of divorce.
Such has been the demand for Charlotte's services that divorce supportgroup. Whereas the ultimate aim of the groups - taking a ten-week course - is to give individuals a better sense of independence and an ability to take control of their lives, it is also an opportunity to share all the emotions from loss to anger to fear about the future. By the tenth week, they may be laughing about going on dating websites.
And having men as well as women there is important. It's very powerful to hear about experiences from the other side of the fence. Jane, who lives in Maidstone, Kent, has two daughters, aged 13 and It's harder dating in middle age because I have my own home and my independence, which I'm not prepared to sacrifice.
Many women find it lonelier to be in a bad relationship than to be on their own Jane also acknowledges that as you get older, you sometimes grow more selfish and more set in your ways.
Also it can be a challenge to fit dates in between caring for my daughter and having a generally busy life and career. But I'm honestly quite happy with my life - even on my own. Barbara Mills, 55, who lives in Essex, took a lot longer to find her feet after her husband walked out. What made it so much worse was the fact that he was having a relationship with a younger woman.
He'd met her through his work in finance and they went on to marry. My confidence was on the floor, and it is no exaggeration to say that I was suicidal at the time. I had to have counselling, and it has taken me a long time to rebuild my self-confidence and get my life back on track.
I believed that marriage was for life. We had a very normal, middle-class marriage - my ex-husband worked and I stayed at home to bring up our three children. Their love life had suffered as a result and her husband spent more and more time away at work until he dropped the bombshell. I felt unwanted, frumpy, old. I retreated into my shell and didn't want to go out at all. I spent my nights crying and I really think I might have done something stupid if a friend hadn't rung me at a crucial time.
I have two very close male friends with whom I go to the theatre and out for meals. But I am very fussy. Now I have a very full life with my grandchildren, and I am happy, but it's taken me years to get to this point.
You cannot brood indefinitely - you have to move on. I got myself a new haircut, swapped my Victorian family home for a contemporary flat and was determined to start afresh. When I went out with friends, to my delight, I received lots of male attention. Just six months into their marriage, Derek decided he wanted to leave.
It's only now, looking back, I can see that perhaps he just wasn't over his first wife. That is the problem when you're older - you have so much baggage. Now, 12 years on, she's back to where she started, living alone. I am choosy and I can't have casual relationships. But I still long for that special someone, a soulmate. For some, starting over is an exhilarating opportunity; for others, it will always be second best.
What's absolutely clear is that with age no longer a barrier, divorce rates in mid-life will continue to rise. Today, putting up and shutting up is not an option for most of us. But while few of the women I have spoken to will admit to regretting divorce, how many of them have truly found lasting happiness? Only time will tell. The lonely truth about middle-aged divorce: How finding a new partner mid-life can be soul destroying Most watched News videos.