Over sixties dating
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I wanted the rest of my life back before I got too old to enjoy it.I am so much happier now I am on my own, and I don’t have any contact with my ex at all.’A similar desire for self-fulfilment propelled Rita Whitfield-Coups, 64, an executive assistant in a management consultancy, into divorcing her husband Mark, 70, a retired ICT programmer, and father to her two grown-up children.
Rita, who lives in South London, adds: ‘The irony is that men of this age are slowing down and looking forward to retirement, whereas women want to scale mountains and re-establish their careers.
Relationship coach Francine Kaye observes that many of her male clients reach retirement age and find themselves propelled unwillingly into divorces because they have failed to heed the warning signals as their once deferential, stay-at-home wives seek new autonomy and fulfilment.‘These men have bought one kind of wife off the shelf — the shorthand typist and home-maker — and the deal was that she wasn’t supposed to change,’ says Francine.
‘But people do change and couples are not recognising the signs and implications until it’s too late.
I looked in the mirror and thought: “I can’t do this any more.” My ex-husband ran his own window cleaning business, but he only used to work in the mornings.
And while he sat in front of the television every afternoon, I came home from work to a schedule of domestic drudgery.
But, like so many women today, I wanted more out of a relationship than boring routine.
It was as if all the fun had leached out of our marriage.’Sue and her ex-husband duly joined the only group of divorcees in Britain that is growing in number.
There was no rancour, just a sense on Rita’s part that her own identity had been subjugated during her marriage.
She explains: ‘I was typical of my generation: I met Mark through work and married young.
‘I grew up in an era when you stood by your husband through thick and thin.
Years ago, women stayed in unhappy marriages largely because they couldn’t afford to leave, but I have always had my own career.‘I took the final decision to leave on the morning of my youngest son’s wedding.
He also seemed threatened when I started a new job in human resources and met new people, and tried to undermine my confidence.