5 Survival Divorce Tips For Men

Written by Mary Stearns-Montgomery
May 16, 2013

While the divorce process can be an emotional and stressful experience for women, it can be just as challenging and difficult for men to accept divorce and move forward with their lives. Research has shown that men typically recognize their marriage is in trouble later than women and once the divorce is final and their ex-wife has moved out, the emotional reality sets in and the grieving process for men begins. It is important to your divorce attorney that your emotional health is taken care of as you will be making critical decisions during the process and it is important that your judgment is not clouded.
Consider the following five helpful tips men can do to recuperate from their divorce and move forward with their lives.

Five Tips For Men To Recuperate and Move On After Divorce

1. Forgive. While it is natural to feel a roller coaster of emotions, have a series of questions, and play the blame game, it’s important to forgive. Forgive yourself first. Everyone makes mistakes and there’s the obvious feeling of regret, but that is life. The way to prevail after your divorce is to forgive yourself and to move on.
2. Build Your Support Team. Divorced men are twice as likely to commit suicide as married men and are prone to alcohol problems due to isolation. To combat isolation and break feelings of anger, depression and loneliness, surround yourself with the right people. Your support team will include trusted family members, colleagues, and close friends. These individuals will accept your divorce, confide in you, and support you through your new journey.
3. Keep Yourself Healthy. After your divorce has been settled, the last thing you would want to do is lose yourself. Keeping yourself healthy doesn’t just mean going to the gym. As archaic as it sounds, maintaining a balanced diet, having a consistent workout routine, and getting the right amount of sleep each night will give you and your body peace of mind.
4. Redefine Yourself. A new life will call for new habits, new interests, and a brand new outlook. This is the golden opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. For example, take a cooking class or join a recreational sports league. You will find by learning something new, you will meet new people and overall be moving in the right direction.
5. Keep An Open Line Of Communication. Lastly, try your best to establish an amicable relationship with your ex-wife moving forward after the divorce. After you’ve forgiven yourself, established your new home base, and taken steps to move on, forgive your ex.
In a situation where children are involved, it’s in the children’s best interest that you keep peace in both households, be cordial to your ex-wife, and keep the lines of communication open. Keep the conversation civil and healthy. Never bring up the subject of your divorce especially in front of your children.

Communication: Is it the leading factor in every Divorce?

As divorce takes hold of the Baby Boomer generation with a vengeance; we are experiencing another round of studies focused on the major causes of divorce. There are hundreds of articles chronicling the many factors contributing to a marriage’s failure.
These reports reference the below factors as being the top 4 factors leading to divorce. However, I think there is only one…

Money
Relationships end because of money. Marital couples, business partnerships, and friendships have been destroyed over money issues. Regardless how much a couple has, or doesn’t have, money issues and a lack of communication around finances can have a profound effect on a marriage. When interviewing couples for a University of Pennsylvania report, some couples stated money issues were more detrimental to their marriage than an extra marital affair.

Expectations
We are all human; we all have faults. Some marriages start out with one partner thinking they can “change” the other. Well it doesn’t work that way. We are who we are. We can modify our personal actions; but we cannot change who our partner is. Openly communicating hopes and desires surrounding children, sex, religion, life styles, and finances helps manage present and future expectations.

Mid-life Crisis
This one is particularly interesting in light of the recent up swing in the Baby Boomer divorce rate. The definition of mid-life crisis can be vague at best. Ultimately it boils down to the desire for a “life change.” A mid-life crisis can seem abrupt and selfish. The desire to change jobs, location or lifestyle can place an enormous amount of stress on a spouse and marriage. Communicating, and discussing this new lust for life with your spouse, can mitigate most of the scary and intimidating feelings. Most spouses do not want to leave their marriage in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Studies show that most individuals in a midlife crisis intend to bring their loved one along for “the new ride.” Lack of communication, assumptions, and unilateral decision-making allows this potentially exciting new “stage in life” to damage and undermine the strongest of relationships.

Intimacy
Yes, sex is important! Both emotional and physical sex! The emotional and physical intimacy of a marriage should not be overlooked. It is an area where most couples lack the ability to effectively communicate. Why is that? Without respectful and open communication around intimacy, couples become angry and resentful. As humans we strive for intimacy, when denied we feel empty. Studies have linked a lack of physical and emotional intimacy with alcoholism, adultery, and binging. When interviewed, most couples said they were still attracted to and desirous of having intimate experiences with their partner; unfortunately, they were unable to adequately communicate their needs and/or desires.

Communication in any relationship is essential. If you don’t deal with what you need to deal with, it will go underground for a while but eventually it will raise its ugly head; often  resurfacing with an increased level of anxiety and resentment.

Poor communication is a cancer to any relationship.

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Leave My Marriage?

People always ask me “How do I know when it’s the right time to leave my marriage?” My answer is simple. “When it’s more painful to stay in the relationship than it is to leave, it’s time”

This can seem a bit vague, however there is a very clear message being given. Marriage is not supposed to be painful. It can be at times difficult, frustrating, and/or disappointing, but not painful. Again, when it’s more painful to remain in a marriage than to leave it… It is time to get out!

Pain in a marriage usually creeps in very slowly. We recognize the pain because it feels different from previous emotions. As the pain edges its way into the relationship more frequently, the thought of escaping to a safe environment (divorce) starts developing.

Most people think about leaving a marriage for years prior to actually making the decision to divorce. Usually, they begin taking small steps towards emotionally preparing themselves to leave their marriage. A step may be as simple as looking up “divorce” on the Internet.

A common pattern in this stage of marital indecision is to think about divorce, make a few attempts towards gaining information about the divorce process, then tuck the idea of dissolution in the far recesses of your brain. You may even try to forget you contemplated leaving your spouse… I call this the “It’s more painful to leave my marriage than it is to stay” stage.

Your emotionally destructive cycle of pain will continue to repeat itself over and over again. As a result of this continuous assault on your relationship, a shift in how you perceive each painful experience begins to happen. The desire to escape the relationship strengthens and the idea of divorce becomes an everyday occurrence. The word divorce will pop up in the heat of an argument with your spouse, or you may mention the idea in a conversation with a close friend. You could also find yourself visiting an attorney or buying a book to further educate yourself on marital dissolution. The three hottest selling relationship self-help topics are: How To Save Your Marriage, How To Get A Divorce, and Emotional Abuse.

As you start feeling more comfortable about ending your relationship, another more gripping emotion begins to develop… fear. Regardless if you have been married 6 months or 60 years, everyone goes through the cycle of “fear of an unknown future.”

We are all creatures of habit. We find comfort and security in routine. A marriage, irrespective of its healthiness, provides the platform for everyday behaviors and activities. Divorce shatters this foundation; and the fear of an unknown future can be as paralyzing as the relationship pain is devastating. Some fears are as basic as “Where will I live?” “How will I pay my bills?” “Will I need to get a job?” “Are the kid’s going to be okay; who will they live with?” Others are more emotional. “Who will continue to be my friend; who will be my spouses?” “Can I live alone after all this time?” “How can I not see my kid’s everyday?” “Will I be alone and lonely for the rest of my life?” Your fears can potentially immobilize you and inhibit your ability to make that final decision to divorce. Unfortunately, these people focus their energies on their fear instead of the possibility of a happy healthy future. Others realize the pain will remain a constant in their marriage. No amount of counseling, pleading, or threats will change this pattern. This is when you realize “It is more painful to stay in my marriage than it is to leave.”

Once you have decided divorce is in your future; the pain actually begins to lift. Some of the interactions that caused you heartache in the past no longer affect you in the same way. It’s almost as if some of the hostility and anger bounces off your shoulders. But one thing continues to hold you back…timing.

There is no perfect time to leave your marriage. Life, being the obstacle course it is, will keep throwing situations and circumstances in your way. Usually, an action of some sort finally pushes you to make your very hard decision. It can be something as small as not remembering to put gas in the car, or as significant as forging your name on a document. The faith in your marriage is gone. Your trust in your spouse is gone, and the love that is needed to sustain your marriage is gone.

Although the divorce process is fraught with self- doubt and sadness, and some of your fears of an unknown future remain… the pain stops. And in time the self-doubt, sadness and fear are replaced with a fresh new future.

When it is more painful to stay in your marriage than leave it, it is time to reclaim your life, your happiness, and your self-respect.