There’s a lot of information online about how to cope with divorce but not much about how to cope with divorce as a man. Experts tell us that, second to death, coping with life during and after a divorce could be the most stressful, traumatic, and emotionally draining period you may experience.
The experts also tell us that, in general, women somehow seem to cope better than men during this painful period in their lives. So we’ve put together some tips on how men can cope with divorce.
Tips on How to Cope With Divorce As a Man
Take Time to Grieve
Taking time to grieve is a necessary stage when moving on from divorce. During this stage you may feel a multitude of emotions including hurt, anger, disappointment, blame. and loneliness. Caring for your children, moving, and financial difficulties all add to the trauma. These issues, responses, and emotions are quite normal and to be expected.
Men tend to suppress their feelings and are afraid or embarrassed to open up and seek support from friends and family, or even consider seeking professional help. Remaining in a state of grief for too long is not healthy and can lead to depression, which will have a detrimental effect on everyone around you, especially your children.
Acceptance of Your New Reality
The first step in the healing process may be to come to an acceptance of your situation by appreciating that this is a temporary phase you have to go through. Remember that you are not alone. Remember that there are millions of men who have gone through, and are going through, the exact same thing.
You have family and close friends around you. It’s time to lean on them for support. Do not isolate yourself from them or society. In most cases they really want to be there to help but are waiting for you to ask rather than to interfere.
To help at this stage, try to establish new routines. This is much easier to achieve when you have moved into different homes. Work out when you will have the kids with you, who will do school pick up, and who will take the kids to their sporting activities. This predictability and stability are also extremely helpful for your children.
There is life after divorce. Once you accept that, you are halfway there. Now is the time for action.
Time to Do Things
Chances are, you might have children to look after. To do that you first need to take care of yourself – it’s the old principle of the oxygen mask on the plane: get yours on first before helping others. Eating healthy and getting enough sleep and exercise are all vital. Spend as much time as possible with your children to minimize their grief. They have been affected too, no matter how old they are.
It could be time to make some new friends or reconnect with some old friends you may have neglected for a while. Perhaps now is the perfect time to do something you always wanted to do but never had the time to.
Take a trip somewhere or try a new hobby or sport or create a new routine in your day-to-day life. By keeping your mind occupied with regular positive activities, you will be giving yourself more time to heal.
At the same time, do not neglect your job or your business – you and your children may be depending on it. It is easy for one to become entrapped in the constant feeling of loneliness and despair and neglect their work, which often leads to financial pressure, raising the level of stress even more. Stay focused.
Try to keep your mind free of negativity and avoid saying hurtful things about your ex-spouse, especially in front of the children or on social media. Keep all your communications with your ex as cordial as possible. The time for blaming and bickering should be over by now and any further quarreling will slow your own healing process. You don’t need that.
If you are still experiencing parenting difficulties with your ex, keeping to the terms of your Parenting Plan agreed through your family mediation should resolve any conflict.
If you are trying to cope with divorce as a man, remember that all divorce situations are unique and all men respond differently, so the healing time will vary with each individual. There will always be days when your emotions get the better of you and you will not cope so well. That is unavoidable and is part of the process.
Remember that with each day, life will become easier and the pains of divorce will slowly begin to fade as your new life starts to become more meaningful. Rest assured you will emerge on the other side a far stronger person.