With approximately 50% of marriages failing in the US, divorce advice for men is a popular topic as men adjust to this new life situation. While everyone’s experience will be somewhat different–and there may be big differences depending on whether you have an amicable or acrimonious relationship with your ex–some key areas of divorce advice for men are quite universal. This article highlights these areas.
Use time to your advantage - Some people say that time heals all wounds. That may or may not be true, but time will be your ally. Your healing process will unfold in a way that’s best suited to you. It won’t happen overnight and it can’t be rushed. You’ll have lots of changes going on and many things pulling you in different directions. This can be overwhelming, so you need to be realistic about what’s most important and prioritize (your children, job, living situation, finances, etc.).
Get organized – Whether you use a tablet, computer, notepad or handheld device, organize the information (like phone numbers, addresses and account numbers) you’ll need easy access to, for example, your lawyer, accountant, therapist, bank, etc. Whether you have primary custody of your children or are sharing custody, log the pertinent details about their lives–physician, dentist, eye doctor, caregivers, school contacts, hobbies/recreational activities (when and where). You’ll save time and avoid frustration by being on top of these things.
Deal with your emotions – Dealing with emotions is a very individual thing. For some men, it may be enough to talk with supportive family or friends. You might benefit from individual counseling with a therapist you like and can trust to help you move forward. You may be involved in counseling with your children and/or your ex. Keeping a journal (just for you, not for anyone else’s eyes) can be a helpful vehicle for expressing your sadness, anger, guilt, frustration and fears.
Take care of yourself – Now more than ever, you need to take care of your mind and your body. This is a major aspect of divorce advice for men. Divorce is stressful and stress can affect both your physical and mental health. Make an effort to eat right and exercise. Don’t slip into the trap of using alcohol or drugs to numb your feelings. Find fun things to do to take your mind off your troubles.
Learn and Grow – When the dust settles, make an honest assessment of what went right and wrong in your marriage. Hopefully time will give you a perspective that it wasn’t all wrong, nor was it all right. Some of these answers might lead you to future behavioral changes, particularly if you eventually get involved with someone else. You will also, if you have primary custody or visitation, learn a lot about your children and the meaningfulness of the relationship you share with them. Not only can you help them, as you listen to their concerns and honestly communicate; their feelings can help you grow as a person as they reflect back to you what works and what doesn’t work as you move forward post-divorce.
Seek a silver lining – While it may be hard initially to see a silver lining, eventually you’ll be able to look ahead and figure out your “new” life. Maybe it’s time to refocus on your career and figure out what you really want to do if you’re not already doing it. Or travel to places you’ve never been able to go. Perhaps you can look for a broader social circle or take up hobbies you’ve never had time for. Or you may be able to build new, more positive interactions with your children.
For some families, separation and/or divorce may be the best solution to resolve spousal relationship issues. If you’ve reached that point where the marriage can’t thrive, embracing divorce advice for men can help you survive.
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