Divorce is in many ways similar to death. Like death, there are different stages of divorce a person must transition through before they can completely move on.
The final stage, recovery, might be the most difficult. It’s natural for many men to want to cling to that failed relationship and replay in their minds what went wrong. It’s a vicious cycle that can lead to feelings of blame, self-loathing, anger and depression.
Men and women often deal with breakups differently, and men face a myriad of different health risks after divorce, including an increase in early mortality rate by up to 250 percent.
During this recovery process, it is important to realize that life will eventually go on and you can even come out of it better off than before.
It is critical during this time to take the proper steps to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. There are many positive things you can do to help speed the recovery process, — including taking up a new hobby, working to maintain a positive social life, and giving yourself the proper amount of time you need to grieve.
At the same time, there are quite a few things you need to avoid that can hinder your divorce recovery.
Here are four habits to stay away from during the divorce recovery period:
Avoid holding everything inside.
Many people consider divorce to be a private matter. It’s incredibly frustrating and annoying when you know there are friends, neighbors and family members gossiping about what happened between you and your spouse.
When that’s the case, it’s natural to want to shut everyone out. While it’s not necessary, or healthy, to share details of your divorce with everyone, bottling everything up isn’t a good idea either.
Depression is a common side effect of divorce and it isn’t something you should have to take on alone. Find some people you know you can trust to confide in. Simply venting and letting off some steam can be one of the most effective coping strategies post-divorce.
You might also consider counseling. Counselors and therapists can play a key role in your divorce recovery.
Don’t cope by turning to alcohol.
One of the most common mistakes men make after a divorce is trying to numb their pain by drinking alcohol. This is one of the most self-destructive decisions you can make.
Statistically, men are more likely than women to turn to drinking after divorce. Abusing alcohol or other substances can delay the recovery process and lead to a myriad of other mental and physical health problems.
Throwing back a few beers or cocktails probably will numb your pain temporarily, but alcohol is a depressant that has been linked to depression and many other health problems.
Don’t become a recluse.
You’re probably not going to feel very good for a while after your divorce as it takes time to adjust to being single again.
That’s OK. Just don’t totally shut down and become reclusive.
Try to turn the idea of being alone into a positive. Look at it this way, you now have more freedom than you’ve likely had in years. This is a perfect time to take up new hobbies, refocus on your career and reconnect with old friends you’ve lost touch with.
Embrace being a bachelor again!
Don’t jump into a new relationship right away. (But don’t give up on dating again either.)
While it’s important to stay active, you can also go too far the other way by immediately getting back into a relationship.
Just because your last relationship failed doesn’t mean you will never find love again. Plenty of people resume dating following divorce and are able to build happy, healthy relationships with a significant other.
However, immediately jumping into a rebound relationship before you’ve had time to fully recover is a crucial mistake many men make. Like alcohol, a new relationship can help take your mind off your pain temporarily, but if you haven’t taken the proper time to heal, it will likely lead to more hurt and confusion.
There is a reason the failure rate of second and third marriages are so high.
Additionally, dating too soon after a breakup can create stress and hurt for your kids. If you introduce a new girlfriend to them too soon, they might resent you both for trying to replace their mother. While you need to look after yourself, it’s also important to put your children’s best interest before everything else after a divorce.
Just because you’re not actively dating doesn’t mean you can’t lead an active social life, but make sure you take your time before getting back into the game.