There are numerous challenges facing dads after divorce. Getting back on your feet is a difficult process, to say the least.
Many fathers end up with an unfavorable child custody arrangement that limits their access to their children. They also might be shouldered with significant child support and alimony payments that decimate their finances. And of course, there is the emotional anguish and turmoil of going through a breakup coupled with the breakdown of the family.
The combination of these hurdles result in an enormous amount of stress, which can lead to serious health problems. It is a vicious cycle.
Making sure you retain a family law attorney focused on helping men and fathers can alleviate a lot of these issues, but moving on after divorce still is a process.
During this time, it is helpful to take a step back and breathe to assess your situation. As harrowing as the divorce process is, it is not a death sentence. Life will go on. It might take some time, but you can find happiness again.
Here are some tips to help you get back on your feet after a divorce.
Be the best divorced dad possible
Depending on your child custody arrangement, the amount of parenting time you have with your children might be limited. Nonetheless, it is your responsibility to make the most of it.
Be as active and engaged as possible. (Fortunately, that is something modern dads are especially good at doing.) Do not fall into the trap of becoming a “Disneyland Dad” and trying to plan elaborate outings every time your kids stay with you. Instead, focus on the little but meaningful moments that end up being way more impactful in the long run.
Help them with their homework. Talk to them about how they are doing in school. Learn everything about their interests, passions, fears, and frustrations.
More than anything, being a good divorced dad is about remaining as present as possible when you spend time with your children.
Take time for yourself
Although as a father your No. 1 priority is going to be putting your children’s best interest first, it still is important to take plenty of time for your own self-care.
Self-care means making sure you are eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. It also means partaking in healthy activities you enjoy that leave you with a sense of fulfillment. In fact, the days following a divorce present a great opportunity to develop new hobbies and explore new interests.
Find someone to talk to
A lot of guys have the natural inclination to clam up when they are going through something stressful or heartbreaking. They might be hurting on the inside, but outside doing everything to maintain an image of toughness or stoicism.
Keeping your emotions bottled up can have disastrous consequences. You are not weak for asking for help or finding someone you trust to discuss your issues with.
One of the reasons divorce is often harder for guys is because they are not as good as women at developing a reliable support group. If you are not comfortable talking about the details of your divorce with friends or family, you should consider enlisting the help of a licensed counselor or therapist.