Emotional distress is often listed as the most unexpectedly challenging part of divorce. This can be particularly tough for men as research shows they deal with the psychological aspects of separation different than women do.
Women tend to be more vocal about their feelings, which leads them to seek out a support system that aids them in their recovery. Men usually take a little longer to move on as they struggle to come to terms with their emotions.
Many factors contribute to these differences, but it is critical to remove the stigma that men who ask for help are weak. Taking care of your mental health and sorting through the emotional turmoil you are experiencing is the only way you are going to move on and start the next chapter of your life.
‘Be a man’
Statistics show that women initiate divorce twice as often as men. This suggests women often realize there are problems before their husbands and likely feel some relief once the divorce is set into motion.
Things are even worse if children are involved. Dads are less likely to receive primary custody because of outdated gender stereotypes that still pervade the family court system. So on top of everything else, many guys find their role as a father diminished.
Despite all this trauma, many men still try to deal with their problems on their own rather than seek the professional and social support they need to help them heal. Some guys develop unhealthy and counterproductive habits during this stretch such as jumping into rebound relationships or attempting to numb their pain with alcohol.
All these dynamics contribute to a higher rate of depression and suicide in divorced men than women.
This cycle leaves a lot of guys feeling stuck in a situation with no path back to happiness. The first step to getting back on track is developing a sense of mindfulness about your life that prevents you from distorting how bad things actually are. (Daily meditation can help tremendously with this.)
This is, of course, easier said than done, but at least having some self-awareness about what you are going through can go a long way towards preventing a downward spiral.
More than anything, you want to avoid becoming totally reclusive. During divorce, it is human nature to want to shut down and seek isolation as you try to cope with so much pain and stress. Getting out and socializing might be the last thing you want to do, but doing so will help you avoid dwelling on your problems and help restore a sense of normalcy to your life. It can also help you build a support system, which you are going to need in the coming months.
Married couples often rely on each other for emotional comfort during difficult times. Divorce changes that and you must find a new means of support. This might mean reaching out to close friends and family or a professional counselor or therapist you can speak with in complete confidence. Just keep in mind that divorce is never something you should try to take on alone.
It doesn’t make you a wimp to admit you are hurt by divorce – it devastates everyone, even millionaire celebrities. Trying to be a tough guy through this process only makes the recovery process that much harder.