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And then, three months on, she did something completely unexpected and out of character: she started sleeping with other men.Like many newly divorced women I've spoken to, it wasn't that she'd developed a voracious appetite for dating, but that in doing so she found an effective distraction from the pain of divorce.Confused and upset by the shock of their relationship falling apart, particularly if they hadn't wanted or expected it, they embark, initially at least, on a self-destructive pattern of seeking solace through sex with near-strangers.'I certainly hadn't ever expected to be single again at the age of 47,' says Judy. He was my first love and I never imagined a time when we wouldn't be together.' Judy felt her world had collapsed and spent most of her time in tears.She explains: 'I'd never even slept with anyone other than my husband, and suddenly I found myself using sex with men to make me feel better about myself.' Judy joined a couple of internet dating sites and found it surprisingly easy to meet men in their 40s and 50s who wanted no-strings flings.But it's not necessarily what most women are after.There was no suggestion of seeing one another again.'I thought I was fine with what had happened, but a few days later all I could think about was that I'd slept with someone other than my husband.
Between 19, divorce in England and Wales in the 45-plus age group rose by more than 30 per cent.And these soaring figures are set to surge still further in the decade ahead, as women, in particular, feel less inclined to put up with flagging relationships. In my own social circle, I've witnessed at least a dozen marriage breakdowns in the past two years - including the demise of my own relationship after 25 years.