Men have their own way of expressing their emotions. Hurt, anger, and grief might not be as obvious to others; they tend to express emotions differently than women. Others may misinterpret their emotions. Others may hold the belief that men are tougher and therefore can accept a divorce better, are less emotionally shocked, burdened by the experience. In my practice, I can assure you this is far from true. Men need help too, crossing the marital ”bridge over troubled waters.”
Whether it was your decision or hers to divorce, you are still suffering the loss of a friend, a constant companion, a partner in life, someone to whom you were once married with the assumption that only death would separate you. Will you regain that companionship in some form? Will you share enough of the bonds of friendship with her outside of the dissolved marriage to make the breakup bearable? Do you even want to?
Will you be able to love again? When will the hurt go away or dissolve to a point where you’re ready to share your life again with someone new, be a better mate, have a happier relationship and perhaps marriage. Will you know when it’s the right time to rebuild a life and know when a prospective mate is the right one?
If you’re a divorced parent, the kids “share” their parents in separate households. Your kids may not be around every day to send off to school and greet at the end of the workday. You may not be as involved and up to speed with their schedule, daily routine, everyday life… like before. That can create a distance in the relationship, not to mention a void that you yearn to fill.
Will a court take away your time with the kids or other parental rights and responsibilities? Will you get to see them enough during visitations? Will they treat you the same? Will it feel strange and unnatural? Will they take out their hurt and confusion on you? Will you still be their father in their eyes? Will they come to you with their problems, for comfort, guidance, to share activities? Will you be around to experience them growing and maturing?
Or will your relationship have changed? Do they view you as the bad guy, as having abandoned them? Are they getting what they need to thrive and not suffering from deep emotions that will leave permanent scars? Will someone in your ex’s life take on the role of father?
A Single Life
How will you handle life as a single man? How will you fill the hours, have enriching experiences? Will you be able to laugh and be happy again?
Are you able to focus and be productive at work? Are you worried about your emotional and physical health? Is that affecting your ability to maintain employment?
Does your financial situation post-divorce allow you to live comfortably in a lifestyle to which you were accustomed during the marriage? Are you worried about what you had to give up financially and will that sustain you?
People in your circle of family and friends may not understand the breakup. They may take a step back at a time when you need them most for emotional support. Is there something you can say or do to keep them in your inner circle?
Life as you once knew it is gone, replaced by something new. You are in uncharted territory. A lifeboat may not be in immediate sight. Whether you realize it or not, you need a map to navigate your new world.
You also know deep down there is a way out, that you can work out a plan that will put you on a recovery path. Whether you take it on as a solo project or get help, know that it’s important to look back only to the extent that you know what you want to avoid going forward.