Our traditional marriage vows date back to the 1500s, and are still in use today. Even if a couple modifies them to better suit their personalities and interests, they all include some statement that means, "forsaking all others" and "being faithful to him/her as long as you both shall live". Unfortunately, many break this promise and leave one half of the partnership lost and adrift.
Being left for someone else, especially someone younger, will knock your self-confidence sideways. It's hard not to assume that your ex saw you as old and frumpy, and it's even harder not to start believing that about yourself.
More from YourTango: 6 Myths About Sex After 50
We project onto others what we feel about ourselves, setting up a cycle of depressing and debilitating feelings. We stop feeling attractive, useful, fun, interesting, and valuable. We suddenly imagine we represent the opposites of such traits; moreover, that we don't matter.
1. How do I see myself now?
2. How would my closest friend/children/work colleagues describe me? (If you don't know, ask them. If two or more people agree on something, it's more than likely to be the truth).
3. What's stopping me from feeling all right — or great — about myself?
4. How does feeling like way affect my life
5. How would I like to feel?
6. What three things would I like to do that would make me feel good?
OK, now that you know what you want, you've completed the first and most important step! The following tips will help you to survive and thrive after a middle-age break-up:
1. Allow yourself to be sad and grieve.
it's a painful process. As time goes by, set yourself a daily limit of grief so you're not wallowing in it.
2. Stop trying to be brave.
Enlist the help of close friends and family so you have someone to call in the middle of the night if you feel desperate.
3. Remind yourself of the reasons for the split.
Don't idealize your past or create notions of a fantasy relationship which never existed.
4. Take some of the blame.
I know this is hard when you're left (especially for someone new), but no relationship ends without there being some problems. Accepting this will help you ensure you don't repeat the same mistakes with someone else.
5. Keep a journal of your feelings.
You'll find it cathartic. When you write something down, it helps you to see situations more clearly.
6. Keep up with your daily routines and add in something special for yourself each day.
This can go a long way to make you feel better. It might be exercise, cooking a favourite meal, watching a DVD or listening to music you love.
7. Change your home around if you're not moving out, so you're not constantly reminded of your previous life.
If you do move, make your new home look different and individual from your prior space. This is a perfect chance for a fresh start!
8. Focus on your future.
A good way to do this is to write down all the things you want to achieve. Then write the date by which you're going to achieve each goal — and the steps that need to be taken. Make sure you take on this project in bite-sized chunks or you'll find yourself overwhelmed.
9. Let go of negative emotions.
A good way to do this is to remind yourself of positive moments with your partner and re-live them.
10. Make sure you go out and meet people.
Don't let a day go by when you speak to no one. Human interaction is important to the healing process.
11. Join new groups or classes where you'll meet people who weren't shared friends with your ex.
12. Seek professional help if you feel stuck.
More from YourTango: Matters of the Heart and Sexual Relationships - concluding part
More personal development coach advice from YourTango: