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How to End a Toxic Relationship: Divorcing over 50

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

divorce over 50 toxic relationships image

It’s never too late to start over.

Ending a relationship or marriage is never easy – at any age, but once we are in our 50s and beyond it can appear to be more daunting.  Is the relationship really toxic or are you just going trough a bad patch? If you are in a toxic relationship you have probably had your confidence eroded gradually over a number of years, with your partner convincing you that any issues in the relationship are totally down to you. You have probably been isolated from family and friends as your partner has attempted to exert more control over all aspects of your life. Do you want to escape? You may feel trapped and worried, but there’s hope. You can get out of a negative relationship and move on with your life.  I know. I’ve done it. It wasn’t easy – financially it was a disaster for me, but it is possible. I now have the freedom to do things I wasn’t able to do during my marriage – simple things such as wearing what I want, wearing makeup without criticism, meeting with friends for a coffee, eating the foods I like, going the theatre or cinema, chatting to friends on the phone. Not being limited to doing only those things on ‘his’ list!

How to escape from a toxic relationship:


  • Start by asking yourself questions. The first step to ending a toxic relationship is to ask yourself several important questions.
  • Are you ready to move on and end things with this person?
  • Do you have emotional and financial support from family or friends to help you through this process?
  • Have you tried to end things in the past and changed your mind? How can you prevent this from happening again?
  • How will your life change after the relationship is over?


  • Decide on your next steps. Toxic relationships can vary a lot. You may be in a controlling or abusive situation. You may also simply feel trapped and unhappy in a negative situation that sucks the life out of you. Depending on the type of relationship you’re in, the next steps can vary.
  • You may need to alert family and friends about your plans. Be careful about who you confide in. Be prepared for your partner to start a smear campaign to undermine your credibility and resolve .
  • You may need to put together a survival bag, separate your finances, or take other measures.
  • If you have children, plan for their safety. Seek legal advice to find out your rights and responsibilities 
  • Make a list of everything you need to do and follow it.


  • Plan your break-up. You may want to ask a friend or family member to stay with you, or you may be able to do this on your own.
  • Figure out the best way to have a conversation with your partner about ending things. You may want to use a public location if safety is a concern. You may choose to not have a face to face conversation if things are extremely difficult, preferring to set the legal process and making arrangements for your personal safety first.
  • Practice what you’ll say to your partner. You can write this down and say it in front of a mirror. You can also put the text on your phone to make it easier to remember.
  • Remember to stay calm and confident throughout the planning stage.


  • Leaving your partner. Once you’re done with the planning, give yourself a specific day to  leave your partner or confront them if that is the route you choose to take.
  • Put this date in your planner or schedule and stick to it. You may be tempted to ignore the set date, but it’s important to stay confident and go through with it.
  • Stay calm when you talk to your partner. Don’t let your partner convince you to give it another chance if you know this will be dangerous.


  • Let your partner go. Avoid dragging out the break-up with your partner.
  • Learn to let your partner go with ease and confidence.
  • Don’t check on them on social media, respond to their texts, or read their emails. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated back into their life.
  • Instead, make it a clean break so you can move on with your life.


  • Figure out how you’ll handle the backlash. Unfortunately, people in toxic relationships may have a hard time letting you go quietly.
  • How will you handle it if your ex calls your job and complains to your boss?
  • What will you do if your ex annoys your family and friends?
  • Are you prepared to handle gossip and rumors after the break-up?
  • It’s important to keep a level head and not seek revenge as a response because it can only make things worse. Instead, figure out how to protect yourself emotionally and legally.
  • Surround yourself with supportive and loving people who are on your side.


You can move on after a toxic relationship. The key is to free yourself and learn to love again. Avoid going back to your ex by constantly reminding yourself why you left in the first place.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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