Coping with divorce, in general, can be a difficult task.
However, it can prove to be even more difficult for men. Society has taught them time and time again to swallow their tears and to just “be strong.”
Now, we know there’s always an exception to the “rule,” but there’s a good chance you’re having a difficult time talking about your feelings during this divorce.
This process isn’t easy and your family is probably bombarding you with their own opinions on what you should be doing to “get over it.”
Hell, even strangers are probably giving you some “sage” advice on what to do after a divorce.
But the only truth is that you have to do what’s best for you… and you have to give it time.
How To Cope With Divorce For A Man
In the meantime, here’s some advice that might help you out. But again, just choose what seems best for you and your situation. Not everything here will apply to you, so no need to make a square peg fit into a round hole.
It’s Okay to Admit That Coping with Divorce is Hard.
Sometimes you’ll go days without thinking about your divorce. The rest of your life is chugging along just fine.
But then one random morning it hits you and you might find it hard to think straight.
Mood swings can have you going from 0 to 100 real quick and without any notice.
Or perhaps you find yourself locked in your room, avoiding as many responsibilities as possible. Ramen for dinner again? That doesn’t sound so bad.
Not coping with divorce doesn’t mean you’re weird. Quite the contrary, actually.
It’s pretty dang normal.
Not coping with divorce is, in a way, the first step to actually getting over this stage of your life.
It teaches you that sometimes life sucks. And sometimes there’s not really anything else you can do but to make it to the next day.
It also teaches you that feeling like shit isn’t such a bad thing… You are human after all.
And it’s kinda impossible to keep that manly, stoic facade on all day every day.
Accept the fact that things aren’t necessarily ok right now… and that’s ok.
Don’t Get Hung Up on the Divorce Emotions You’re “Supposed to Feel”
You’re allowed to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.
Some people try and tell you what you should be feeling because that’s how they felt during their divorce.
But just because your friend at the gym felt relieved when it was all over doesn’t mean you have to feel the same way.
Just like all our marriages are different, all of us as individuals are different. None of us experience the same things in the exact same way.
Advice from others is all well and good, but when someone is making themselves an authority on how you should feel and what you should do… perhaps it’s best to just let it go.
Depending on the man and the situation, you might move through your emotions of divorce pretty quickly. Others might dwell on things a little longer, like constantly going back to how you felt when originally getting those divorce papers.
And sometimes random things might “trigger” you.
Like seeing a couple laugh together, driving past your favorite date-night spot, or hanging out with friends that used to be “our” friends.
It’s common to try and bury those feelings. But the bottom line is that if you’re feeling a certain way… you’re allowed to.
This is all part of the grieving process. Move through your emotions at your own pace and never let someone tell you that you’re not allowed to feel a certain way.
You’re Not Alone – Divorce Support Group
Don’t be so naive to think that no one has ever felt what you’re going through.
Yes, I know they probably aren’t going through your exact circumstances.
But let’s be real. Divorce is very common.
You’re now part of a group of other men who have made it through their divorce.
And although men tend to stray away from anything that even looks like a “divorce support group,” reaching out can usually help out tremendously.
When you exile yourself, you’re doing more harm than good. Maybe you’ve noticed but guys tend to torture themselves a lot more.
Criticizing their decisions that lead to divorce. But when you connect with a group of like-minded men who can help you, it can make a world of difference.
And like I said before, divorce is really common.
So there’s probably a group of guys in the exact same stage of divorce you’re in. And there are even more who can be like a mentor, reminding you that you’ll be ok at the end of all of this.
As cliche as it sounds, there’s strength in numbers.
No Rebound After Divorce
Some people say that the best way to get over someone is to get with someone else.
It might be really tempting to jump right back into another relationship to help stop the loneliness.
And although it’s not always a bad thing… it’s not always the best idea either.
Divorce comes with a lot of feelings to process. It’s not something most people can just bounce back from after a few weeks.
Instead, try focusing on your new version of normal before you add another person to that equation.
Because let’s be honest, there are still some details that need to be figured out between you and your ex. Such as what are boundaries you two have?
Are they totally out of your life? Probably unlikely if there are children involved.
And speaking of divorce and children, are you going to introduce them to this new potential lover?
There’s a lot that goes into relationships after divorce, and the reality is that you might not be able to devote the energy required to end one relationship while also starting a new one.
Take a look at your emotional state, physical health, and mental health. Being honest with where you are in each of those areas will let you know whether or not beginning a new relationship will be fair to you and your new potential partner.
Is It a Funk? Or Is It Divorce Depression?
If you’ve been keeping all of your emotions during your divorce bottled up, there’s a chance you’re in dangerous territory.
This could set yourself up for the real deal: divorce depression.
It’s more than just funk or a crappy day.
Burying your feelings can lead to an endless loop of hopelessness and critical self-talk.
These symptoms of divorce depression come straight from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
- Decreased interest or pleasure in formerly enjoyed activities.
- Significant changes in eating habits, either more or less than normal.
- Significant changes in sleeping patterns, such as the inability to sleep or excessive sleep.
- Loss of energy on most days.
- Difficulty concentrating, staying focused, or making decisions.
- In severe cases, suicidal thoughts.
Experiencing any of these is a reason to reach out and seek professional help.
Needing Divorce Help Means You’re Human
Seeking out a therapist doesn’t mean you’re weak. It shows that you’re ready to move past this and face it head-on.
Some men and women experience divorce-related PTSD, which can happen even if the divorce itself wasn’t drama-filled.
There could be a lot of underlying stress associated with it that sticks with you further down the road.
Symptoms of this can be very similar to depression or they might reveal themselves slightly differently.
Seeking help after your divorce shows you have the courage to be vulnerable.
No one is better than you if they think they can work through these very difficult times on their own.
There’s no trophy for going through depression alone.
But there can be a relief if you seek out a professional.