Has Anyone Started Life On Their Own after 55, And How Did You Do It?

United States
December 3, 2007 10:45pm CST
Since I have been a member here (over a year), I have told you all that I have been in the same relationship for almost 25 years. December 23 is when it will be 25 years. Usually after I say almost 25 years, I add (and I think it will last). I add that because it is a lesbian relationship and most people have the misconception that GLBT relationships have no lasting power to them. Now I am coming to you (I wish I had tears in my eyes - it would feel so darned good to cry, but antidepressants prevent the tears from falling) and pouring out my soul. My friends know that I was a mental health professional. They also know that I was in physically and sexually abusive marriages before I met my present day partner. I have also worked as well as volunteered at at Domestic Crisis Intervention Shelter. I can't begin to tell you how many times the phrase, "There is no such thing as a little abuse!", has come out of my mouth; as well as, "Verbal abuse is ABUSE! Emotional abuse is ABUSE! ABUSE IS ABUSE IS ABUSE IS ABUSE!" I would start the chant, get the first woman in the circle to stand, hold my hand, chant with me and then reach for the woman's hand next to her, until the entire circle of women were chanting. They all felt so energized and empowered after that. When did I lose sight of this? When did I allow myself to think that I am second rate? Was it when I became disabled and could no longer bring home a pay check? Maybe. I don't think so, though. Things in my relationship have not been going well for quite some time and I have been thinking of leaving. My biggest decision to make was when to actually make the break and how to tell her without hurting her feelings. When we first got together the only thing that I asked for was "fair fighting" rules and the only one of those was that she never "threaten" to leave unless she really meant it. She has never honored that rule. Although I am only now involving my children (ages 35-41), and only because I need their help, I am taking stock and looking back over the past 25 years. I realize that I have simply chosen to overlook the emotional abuse (her overriding my decisions regarding the children, her telling me what tv shows we would or would not be watching, her telling me where I would or would not be working, her telling me who would or would not be my friends, her telling me on and on and on - I think you can see the pattern here). I have chosen to overlook the verbal abuse (after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and being in bed for several months propped in pillows) "what are you, about 200# now?", "is supper really supposed to taste like this?", "do you think your hair looks good that way?" Then a few months back I realized how bad it was when she was telling me about a friend at work that she was discussion the loss of our son with. It came out in our conversation that he was not aware that she was in a relationship with another woman because he would never be a friend to her if that was the case. She has been to his house, is friends with his wife and his children. When I asked her who they thought the other parent of MY son was since they could not know of my existence she faltered....I pressed...she faltered...I insisted. I demanded that she tell me who the other parent of the children and grandchildren that she discussed at work was. She finally told me that everyone thinks she has adopted them. That was the end of the relationship for me. I have been more than willing to give this "butch" woman who never wanted to bare children herself, my children to share; and she stole them from me. I don't even know if there is an Abuse title for that. Last evening as I was making supper she spoke to me in a very disrespectful tone of voice and I was at my total end. I asked her if she could name me 2 other people that she would use that tone of voice with. At this point, yes, I will admit, I was goading it on when I shortened it and said I would settle for 1 other person she would talk to like that. She told me that when my daughter from Indiana comes in for Christmas she thinks that I should go home with her for a couple of weeks so we can have a "cooling off" time. I was already planning on moving in with that daughter as soon as possible and I told her that if I went it was not going to be for cooling off, it was to be for good. Last night that was fine with her. Tonight she came home from work and pretends as though all is wonderful and that we should just forget last night ever happened. Obviously I am not going to do that. I have forgotten last night for 25 years and am not forgetting this time. My question is has anyone else started over at my age or even close to my age (in February 60)? If so, what do you recommend? I would love to live in a Senior Building but my children are so set against that. The daughter in Indiana and her 17 year old daughter really want me to be with them and I know that my disability income will help out in their household. But, I am so afraid that after awhile they will tire of me. Please, has anyone done this? Has it worked? Thank you so much ~Donna
9 people like this
14 responses
• United States
7 Dec 07
I am so sorry all of this is happening to you. I really wish you all the best with starting over. I know it can be done, and I know you'll do it and thrive. If there is anything I can do - just ask. I'm also sorry that I haven't gotten to this discussion sooner. I have gotten myself backed up again. Wishing you all the best.
2 people like this
• United States
25 Dec 07
All of these wonderful best wishes and all of the loving support I am getting here, are probably some of the best Christmas presents I have ever had. Thank you so much for taking the time to come to this discussion and respond. ~Donna
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Jan 08
You are so welcome and I am so sorry I didn't get to this sooner!! I seemed to have missed it!! *kicking herself*
@Adoniah (7523)
• United States
4 Dec 07
I have always been on my own. Even when I was married I was basically on my own because I supported everyone and took care of everything that needed doing. Do you get along well with your daughter and granddaughter? It will be her home and her house rules. Could you live that way. After 25 years of abuse, do you suppose you might enjoy your own company at least for awhile? Whats wrong with a senior building as long as it's not an assisted living thing? I live in a place like that. I come and go as I please and have a vehicle etc. Do you have palimony in your state? You can get that down here, especially if one is disabled. You have a lot to consider. Don't react--act! Think first!
• United States
4 Dec 07
Adoniah, Thank you for your kind response. I understand being on your own with others around! My daughter, granddaughter, and I get along wonderfully. At least one of them calls or texts me daily. My daughter works such long hours that she would be appreciative of someone being home to let her dog out so he doesn't have to cross his legs and wiggle for such long periods of time. I would hope that we have a good enough relationship that if I started to smell like old fish we would notice the aroma before it became too bad and we could get me into a senior building. As far as palimony, that is something that I had not thought of, but really would not be interested in. Once the ties are cut I would wish for them to remain that way. Your last words are great words of advice. Thank you so very much. ~Donna
1 person likes this
@Adoniah (7523)
• United States
5 Dec 07
If you move, stay in touch even if you stop posting here.
1 person likes this
@villageanne (8579)
• United States
4 Dec 07
Your story just broke my heart. I cant say that I know what it is like because I dont. I cant say everything will be alright because I dont know that. I cant say that it will be easy to start over at 60. I can say, I am so sorry for the situation that you are in. I am sorry that anyone has to feel that kind of pain. I am so sorry. Now I can also so that many people have started over at 60. Not in your situation but when they loose a spouse. They have to start over. We took care of my husband's Grandfather for 7 years in our home. He was a wonderful man but he was so lonely. He had lost his wife the year before. He was in his 80's. If you have the love and support of your family behind you, I dont think you will have too much trouble. Of couse I do not know but I do know that support from your family is the most important thing when it comes to feeling special. Family is great when you need them. They will support you and make the adjustment easier for you. Note: I did not say "easy" I said "easier". I am sure it will not be easy. Remember, you are a child of God. You are special. You have royalty within you. Dont let anyone take that away from you. Heavenly Father loves you. You are not alone and you wont be alone. Stay strong and remember that you are a special person. You are not second class nor are you a nobody! You are A Child Of God!
2 people like this
• United States
4 Dec 07
I forgot to tell you, The 22nd of this month makes my husband and I being married for 29 years.
2 people like this
• United States
4 Dec 07
Of all people, my sweet loving Annie, it would be you who would finally release the tears from my eyes. Thank you. I feel like such a turd complaining when I know the REAL things that others are going through. I know that I have been blessed with many good things. And look at you, you don't even point that out to me, you give me love and compassion. I hope you realize that no matter what is going on in my life, there isn't one day that I don't think of you. There isn't one day that I'm not grateful for the honor of meeting you on the internet. You are so much more than a person inside a computer to me. I truly love, respect, and admire you. When people ask me to tell them the women I most admire, it is always my maternal grandmother and my mother. With all sincerity, you will always be added right along with them. Thank you so much, dear friend. ~Donna
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21671)
• Canada
4 Dec 07
Hi Donna, To have reached this point after 25 years must be very disheartening. I agree that you have to leave, but I would not advise moving in with one of your children, unless you have a separate apartment. It great that your children are supportive, but you need your own privacy. You may want another relationship someday. I was 55 when my first wife passed away, and after three years alone I'd had enough. I am now happily married, and at 68 would do it again. Never give up on finding happiness. Blessings.
2 people like this
• United States
4 Dec 07
Thank you so much for your response, Pose. I have to giggle about me wanting another relationship though. In all honesty, all I really want to do is what I want to do and not what someone else wants me to do for a change. I'm a bit more nervous about the noises from my daughter's bedroom! LOL! She is a great mom and has been a single mom for about 8 years. I think she will love having me there at least for awhile so she can go spend weekends away from the house and not have to worry about her dog being fed, taken out, etc.; and actually allow her daughter to stay at home and not time her "outings" with her daughter's weekends at girfriend's houses. I am thrilled to hear success in love stories like yours. I hope that you fall asleep in each other's arms every night (or at the very least, feel so comfortable with each other that you can let stinkers out loud in front of the other and not be embarrassed!) ~Donna
1 person likes this
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
4 Dec 07
Well first off Donna, i would like to say that i admire you for stepping forth and baring your soul to us.You are very brave for doing this..My heart goes out to you , your letter here was very upsetting to me, and at the same time very close to my heart.I have to ask you a few questions and i do hope you do not mind my asking..I see that you have had relationships with men in the past because you have children, and also i see that they were abusive to you..I am assuming that this relationship that you are in is your first lesbian relationship..I am also assuming that you began this relationship due to the fact that men disappointed you very much with their abuse, and therefore you turned to a relationship with a woman..I may be wrong but this is what i am feeling concerning your situation...This same thing has happened to many women, they were abused, used and disappointed by the men in their lives...and someone comes to you (a woman) she is kind, understanding, and you fall for her hook, line and sinker,am i right? you fall in love because you have never really been loved and treated right, and she won you over, you opened your heart and gave all of what you had, only to be disappointed once again..I am so sorry.Woman who are "butch" have somewhat of the same temperment as men do, but it sometimes takes it longer to appear or as you said you over look it, but abuse is abuse, regardless of who it comes from..You are every lucky that your children were young when you got into this relationship, many women have gotten into lesbian relationships and have lost their children because of that relationship...I understand how you got where you are , and i see how you could have overlooked so much for so long, and i also see that you are terribly unhappy..Donna you are not to old to start over, you are never to old to start over ...As far as moving in with your daughter, that is up to you.It depends on where she lives, and how happy you would be at your daughters house...I see that you are disabled, do you draw a social security disability check? if not you need to try and get on disability.,this is what i would suggest that you do.Go and stay with your daughter, but if you draw a check,sign up for one of those apartments that go according to your income,get on the list.If you do not draw a check then sign to draw your disability, while you are at your daughters house...Get you an apartment of your own , i think you would be happier on your own, but do stay with your daughter for awhile until you get your life straight.If you get an apartment and fix it up you will soon be happy again, put all this behind you and move forward, you are never to old to recover...I was in a marriage for 38 years and i left, it was hard, but you can do it..I had to get on disability because i was sick, but i made it and you can too, i was almost your age when i left..Your relationship with this woman is the same as a marriage and you will go through a bad time, but you have your children to help you, so do it, you will be happier and keep your dignity..God Bless and Please keep us up to date on what you decide.i will be wondering about you..Take care, and remember, you are never to old...
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
5 Dec 07
Well if you feel like you would be happy living with your daughter then give it a try, if that works out then great,if not you can always change your living arrangements..If you really plan to do this now is the time, you are young enough to make changes now, but if you wait around and let time go by it will be harder for you.I can see that your partner is a disagreeable person and you have had enough so just go and be happy.Life is to short to live like this..Good luck to you...........
1 person likes this
@reinydawn (11651)
• United States
5 Dec 07
Oh, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I do hope that you pull through with your chin up, it's very difficult ending a relationship. It is wonderful that you have the support and friendship of so many here - as evidenced by the responses you've gotten. I would like to say something though... And I think you already know this. Starting over after 55 has got to be better than going on as it is. I wish you the best and keep in touch!
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Dec 07
Reinydawn, You are so right! I am in awe when I think how much internet relationships mean to me. I can't believe that just on the other end of this screen that I am staring at are people that I actually have strong feelings of love for. It is totally amazing. Blessed Be ~Donna
1 person likes this
@reinydawn (11651)
• United States
25 Dec 07
Ya know, people used to think I was nuts for having "friends" on the internet. I had a group of friends I met right away when I started chatting about 12 or 13 years ago. They hepled me through my divorce, kid problems, going back to college and becoming a CPA, and a few breakups. I keep in touch with lots of them still. Quite a few I have met in person. They mean a lot to me and I think it's great that we have this medium to meet people through.
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
4 Dec 07
Obviously I haven't been in your situation since I'm not that old yet. I'm here, however, because I wanted to tell you how wonderful it is that you have stood up to her, and how I wish the best for you, because you deserve it, and I hope you get some excellent advice from those who have done it! If you don't, then go with your gut.
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16739)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
5 Dec 07
I feel like I should write more here, Donna Momma. I know you're going through a really hard time right now. I wish I had some advice for you, since you're always giving me advice. I can completely understand how you would block out all that was going on for so long, but I'm glad you've come to your senses on the abuse issue. No one should ever treat a sweet woman like yourself badly. I really don't have anything for you here, but I just wanted to let you know you are loved. *hugs*
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Dec 07
Thank you so much for your sweet words of love. I am still in the processing stage; and know it is going to happen, but just don't know how to go about making it happen. I guess it will be "With A Little Help From My Friends" ~Donna Momma
@Savvynlady (3686)
• United States
7 Dec 07
I'm going say this because I have been in an abusive situation. I will say first of all that Love is not supposed to hurt, belittle or demean. if it IS any of those things, then I believe it is NOT. Please get going and if you want me, forget the lady and keep going.Easier said than done, but self respect is important.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Dec 07
Thank you for coming to this discussion and giving me your support. I am most appreciative. ~Donna
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
5 Dec 07
you do not deserve this abuse and obviously you know that. I am 51 and live on my own after surviving some very abusive relationships. at first it was scary but I have grown to absolutely love being non=dependent on anyone. I say that you should go live with your daughter. She wants you to be with her and it looks to be your stepping stone out. While with her, i think you should be looking to be on your own so that you don't feel that you are intruding. your esteem has obviously taken a beating and y ou need to do things to make you feel good about yourself. reclaiming your independence will be a huge step in the right direction.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Dec 07
Sid, Thank you for your response. I don't believe I have ever run into you before so I really appreciate it that you took the time to come to this discussion to comment with compassion. I will be visiting your home page soon. ~Donna
@RebeccaLynn (2256)
• United States
4 Dec 07
I can't say from personal experience but I can tell you what I saw my mother go through. Both of us have fibro, so I understand the pain and frustration that go along with that. My mother was married for 17 years to a man who sounds scarily like your partner. Like him, she sounds like she is all ready trying to push you away by asking for a cooling off period. Mom picked up and moved to Canada. It was scary for her at first but then she started to rediscover herself and she is very happy now, three years later. She was a strong, intelligent woman, just like yourself, who lost a chunk of who she is because of her love for her partner. She sacrificed what should never be sacrificed. Just like you. I would say to you, move in with your daughter until you find the place where you really want to be. You can enjoy your child and grandchild while looking around for a place of your own and you'll be in a safe, loving environment while you persue your interests amd make new friends. Everyone knows a break-up after a long term relationship isn't easy, but you sound like you are more than equipt to get through it. I wish you well and I'm saying a prayer that you find happiness.
• United States
4 Dec 07
RebeccaLynn, Thank you for this most sincere post (Happy 500!). Your reply has given me a lot of hope for the future. Maybe there really is some Donna left inside of me. ~Donna
1 person likes this
@subha12 (18462)
• India
4 Dec 07
i think the situation is quite complex. I do not have words to say you what is right and what is wrong. I think you are the better judge of the situation you are into. Hope you find the solution for it soon. Best of luck.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Dec 07
Thank you for your response. I appreciate that you took the time to do so. ~Donna
1 person likes this
@royal52gens (5380)
• United States
7 Dec 07
We are divorcing after 17 years of marriage. I am 50 and looking at starting over. It is scary. I have two children who still live at home with me. This will be my second divorce so I know I will survive. You will also survive your situation. Yes, it will be tough. After you get settled at your daughter's, find a therapist or counselor that you can talk to about the abuse. As you said, there are some aspects to this relationship that you can not put a name to. A professional might help you find the proper name so then you can maybe understand why you were forgetting things in order to get to the next day. May God watch over you as you pass through this time of your life.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jan 08
Your story touched my heart. It is never too late to start over, Donna. It may seem scary, epsecially after 25 years, but you must do what feels right. Is it out of the question to get counseling or is the relationship kaput (I see you posted this dischussion a month ago, so I'm wondering if anything has changed)? If nothing has changed then I hope you find the strength to move on. Best of luck to you!
• United States
23 Dec 07
Hey there! You really have been dealt a crappy hand my friend. Sorry that this is happening to you. You do not deserve to be treated in this manner. Moving in with your daughter may be a good thing for both of you. Keep in mind that you need to have seperate quarters that you can call "your own". It is not easy to live with other people, but if you establish boundaries prior to moving in, it should work out. As to your question about starting over, look at it as a fresh start. Life is full of new adventures. Go out and find yourself...again. You know how to get in touch with me if you need to talk. I am home in the evening hours. I send big huggers to you.