Everyone knows the divorce rate has hovered around 50 percent since, well… forever. The rate is much higher for second and third marriages. But statistics only matter to you when you become a statistic yourself. For men, divorce can feel like a loss of identity. It’s a failure and a source of shame.
Pop culture paints a picture of men happily playing the field as soon as their single. In reality, they’re stuck in this stereotype. Men are supposed to just move on. Emotions are a sign of weakness and yeah, it’s time to have some fun. It’s long overdue to shatter these myths.
First and Foremost: Practice Self-Care
In most cases, it’s the male partner who moves out — even if kids are involved. This loss of place and structure is dangerous. You’ll be challenged to create new routines for yourself. If not, you can fall victim to:
- Unhealthy eating
- Self-medication (drinking, drugs, etc.)
- Loss of your exercise regimen
- Loss of a major chunk of your social circle
To lay a strong foundation amidst the grief and upheaval, a diligent commitment to self-care is essential. From there, there are some important steps for any man to consider, post-divorce.
A Few Ways Men Can Cope With Their Life Post-Divorce
You may be one of those guys who is chomping at the bit. You can wait to have a fling or three. What about all those poker nights and sporting events you’ve missed? Some men might want to jump right into a career change or relocation. Any or all of that may happen. For now, take your time.
You have grieving to do. You may also have a divorce to legally finalize. And if kids are involved, you have plenty of responsibility to limit the stress in their lives. Take things slowly and allow space for some adjustments to happen.
Feel What You Need to Feel
There’s not “strong” or “masculine” about denial. Even if you feel the divorce is for the best, grief must be processed. Such a separation causes many different types of loss, e.g.
- Your daily life has been turned into chaos. You probably live someplace new and this means new rhythms, a new commute, and more.
- Even if things became dysfunctional, your home is no longer where your family is.
- Things like birthdays and holidays will never be the same.
- Divorce also means you will mourn countless dreams, goals, and plans that will never reach fruition.
- You are literally mourning the loss of a potential life path while somehow trying to carve out a new direction.
Let yourself feel the emotions all of this stirs up. If things become overwhelming, ask for help.
Take a Social Media Break
Your mind could use a rest. Those heavily curated social media accounts can make anyone feel inadequate. Do you really need to see wedding or vacation photos right now? Perhaps most importantly, do not fixate on your ex’s page. It’s probably best if you block him or her — even if only for a little while.
That said, this is not a time to disconnect in real life from your friends and family. Lean on your support system. Face-to-face social time is necessary.
Reconnect With Some Old Interests and Hobbies
Firstly, you don’t want to sit around and ruminate. Secondly, sure, relationships cause people to give up certain parts of their lives. Is there something you used to do that you miss doing? Slowly ease yourself into a new way of living.
Through it all, there is no need to suffer in silence. Therapy is a powerful path toward healing and resolution.
If you need some additional support right now, I urge you to reach out.
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