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woman in all white outfit© Liz Hilliard

I found the love of my life in my 60s after leaving my husband

After 37 years of marriage, Liz Hilliard divorced her husband and found happiness with a woman

By: Liz Hilliard
June 1, 2024
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I was 64 years old when I ended my 37-year-long marriage.

My ex-husband and I had a rich and rewarding relationship filled with love and respect, but we had reached a point where our love felt habitual and stagnant.

It was at this time I found myself falling in love with a woman, Lee. I have always been heterosexual and never considered being in a same sex relationship, so falling in love with a woman was quite a shock.

Woman posing in shiny black leggings© Drew Furr
Liz found love again at 67

Acting on my feelings was the most audacious, courageous and healthy decision I have ever made. It turned out to be the best decision as well.

Ending my marriage

Ending a marriage is an excruciating decision even in the best of circumstances and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. 

While the decision to end my marriage was the correct one, and I stand by it six years later, it was also the most terrifyingly vulnerable time of my life. Everything felt foreign, unknown and hostile. 

READ: Divorced at 50: how I turned betrayal into joy 

Confidence in my decision

That said, I felt confident and assured in my decision, despite being in my sixties. It wasn’t about age at all for me, it was and is about quality of life.

I feel better at 70 than I ever have, which I attribute to doing the work inside and out, and having the courage to be accountable to myself and others by owning my own space and never compromising who I am for the sake of society.

Woman in denim outfit
Liz Hilliard feels better than ever

I feel excited every day as I move into the final third of my life with love and excitement about what’s next!

Falling in love with Lee

Falling in love with my best friend was the biggest shock of my life! It felt like it happened in one split second with one touch. All it took was one afternoon in my studio at Hilliard Studio Method , where Lee and I spent time together.

Lee is a hugger and she’s hugged me a thousand times, but on that particular day during a tough afternoon of business frustrations she threw her arms around me and said: "I've got your back, you’re going to be okay".

Two women in cream cuddling© Mache Griffin
Liz and Lee have been in love for six years now

But it wasn’t her words that jolted me. It was the electrical charge that pierced through me so strongly that I pushed her away in utter shock. 

Nothing like this had happened to me in my life. In that instant I felt confused, ecstatic and terrified – along with with a large dose of YES.

One thing became instantly clear; I was no longer heterosexual.

MORE FROM LIZ: I look better at 70 than I did at 30 – here's how 

Building feelings

In retrospect, I can see that the feelings had been building gradually without either of us knowing. I was going through a challenging time in my life, with my marriage was falling apart at the same time as hers.

We had just spent almost an entire year side by side editing and excavating feelings and thoughts for my book Be Powerful, Find Your Strength at Any Age, but it never occurred to me that I could fall in love with a woman, but it was and is the most natural feeling I have ever had. 

Addressing my feelings

For the most part, I tackle life head on and knew I needed to address this with Lee immediately as well as try to process my own feelings and figure out how to resolve them.

I was extremely hesitant to share my feelings with anyone besides Lee as it could destroy our families, alienate our friends and set in motion a plethora of issues I’d yet to consider.

LIZ'S ADVICE: I'm healthier than ever at 70 – here's how I stay at my best 

My initial decision was to squelch my feelings, go into therapy, and figure out what was happening.

My logical self begged me to stop this foreign, fool-hearted feeling, citing a long list of things that could go wrong with this scenario. My gut was having none of it. This was a heart thing, a knowing that came from every cell in my body.

woman in white workout gear© Arlene Vasil
Liz spent time adjusting to her feelings

This was not a feeling; this was a truth. It felt as if I was finally crawling into my real skin. Like finding a comfortable warm blanket realising I had been cold for a very long time.

After months of denial and a hefty amount of therapy, I began to embrace the concept that what I was feeling was real, healthy, and for everyone’s sake I needed to admit it.

Accepting my feelings

Accepting and admitting my feelings to myself released a freedom and joy that I had craved and only imagined existed.

Life began to feel effortless and light, yet significant all at once. The moving pieces of who I am began to finally shift smoothly into place.

Finding love in later life

If someone asked me about feeling scared about finding love later in life, I would laugh out loud at the absurdity of having any fear this close to death.

At this point in life, we simply have to trust ourselves and ask ourselves, "What’s the worst that could happen? Failure? No problem, move on."

We’ve experienced failures many times before and we’re still here. Success? Excellent and well done because we have lived and learned, forgiven, and healed. Life is a privilege at this point. And love is the point! 

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