Divorce turns a person’s life upside down.
When a marriage dissolves, there are child custody, financial, and property division issues to sort out.
Then there is the emotional turmoil, which often catches men off-guard after a divorce. Women initiate divorce twice as often as men, which might suggest that they are more prepared to cope with the fallout of a breakup. All of a sudden, many men find themselves in a state of shock that their marriage is over and the emotions can be overwhelming.
During this time, it is crucial to understand that these feelings are normal. It isn’t a sign of weakness that you’re feeling lonely, frightened or depressed. The emotions of divorce can affect anyone.
Country music star Miranda Lambert recently opened up about how she was feeling in the wake of her divorce from Blake Shelton. She admitted to having plenty of nights where her emotions have gotten the best of her. Fame and fortune didn’t provide any sort of shield.
“Some of that might mean nights on my porch crying, drinking whiskey, and going, ‘Man, this sucks right now,’” she said.
Former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders was one of the NFL’s all-time best at eluding tacklers on the gridiron, but when he and his wife split up, he wasn’t able to shake the emotions of divorce.
That’s OK, Sanders recently wrote, because looking back on the experience he is able to recognize that those feelings were part of the recovery process.
“You need to recognize that feelings of sadness or resentment are all part of the healing process,” Sanders said. “Ending a marriage is tough on everyone, so it isn’t abnormal to feel that way. However, the way you deal with these feelings is what separates the people who are able to bounce back from divorce and those who get stuck in a rut.”
As Sanders noted, it is incredibly important for men to face these issues head on or else they could develop into much more serious problems. Men are at a much higher risk of developing long-term health problems and divorce increases the rate of early mortality by up to 250 percent.
The recovery process includes avoiding certain habits and behaviors that can prolong the healing process, such as drinking and immediately jumping into rebound relationships.
Here are a few more tips to help you cope with the emotional turmoil of a divorce.
Seek out a support network
Perhaps nothing inhibits the divorce recovery process for guys more than the notion that men are too tough to open up and talk about their problems.
You need to find a network of friends, family members or counselors you trust who you can go to when things get tough and talk honestly to.
Find a new hobby
One of the positive aspects of divorce is it generally gives you more freedom to pursue different interests than you had when you were married.
Join a rec sports league, buy a motorcycle or learn to play an instrument. Whatever interest or passion you have, pursue it. It can help take your mind off things and gives you a new fun activity to partake in.
Always remember your divorce won’t define you
It’s difficult to maintain perspective when you’re in the midst of a divorce and the emotions are still raw, but it is important to keep in mind that this will pass and you will eventually be happy again.
In fact, a recent study found that those who have experienced a divorce tend to have a greater appreciation for life’s smaller pleasures.
“Divorce is a season, said Laura Petherbridge, author of, “When ‘I Do’ Becomes ‘I Don’t.’” “It’s a season of your life. It’s an event. It’s not who you are. It’s not an identity. It’s a season, and you will get over it.”