Divorce for men – What are the first few steps when hit with divorce news?
When hearing that one’s wife wants a divorce, it is a blow that some guys even feel physically. Acknowledge that you are in shock and do not expect to make any rational decisions right away. It may feel like you are a robot going through the motions of daily life.
- Get some emotional support. Guys that I talked with said that they were too stoic – keeping a stiff upper lip. They did not know where to turn when they were numb with shock. Talk to a relative whom you feel close to and let them know you need to vent. This is not the moment to be on the receiving end of a lengthy list of tasks to do in divorce. Detailed divorce strategy comes later after you had time to process your feelings and to regroup. Maybe confide in a cousin or uncle because your parents may be in shock themselves.
- Reach out to others. This was the hardest thing to do, according to my male sources. They felt like they would be a burden to others or be perceived as weak if they mentioned their divorce woes. Go out for a pint with your mates and tell them what you are facing. Most likely they have pals who are divorced, if they are not themselves, and can clue you in on what to do next. Just expressing how you feel can take a weight off your shoulders. I guarantee that your wife has talked about getting a divorce with at least twenty girlfriends.
- Feeling like you are teetering on the brink of a breakdown is normal in divorce. Many have felt this way too, and we made it through our divorces with our sanity intact. Balance having alone time with interactions with friends. Men said it was easier to think about their situation and come up with solutions when they were in motion, such as running on the treadmill, or taking a walk. Exercise is important as a way to burn off anxiety and strong emotions while lowering stress hormones and getting your body back to a healthier place.
- Man up and seek short-term help if depressed or feeling stuck, as some fellow have advised. Divorce coaches specialize in getting a person from Point A to Point B and beyond. Click on The Divorce Magazine’s resource tab for links to classes, workshops, or where to have a chat with a counsellor. Look at it this way. You go to a professional to get your car or other machinery fixed and a divorce professional can do the same for you.
- Keep in mind that the divorce process is a continuum and one moves back and forth on it. One day you feel fine and the next one you may be despondent – then back to okay. Feeling good then backtracking to not so good is normal. Some parts of the divorce process itself are bumpy, which can affect your emotional state, such as figuring out shared care time with the children. When a divorce is going along smoothly, it can be disconcerting when it hits a snag. Be open to negotiation and getting the process back on track.
Take it day to day and focus on what is at hand. Worrying about the future is not going to help and instead use your energy on getting through the divorce. Take your time making decisions, such as with dividing assets. Take your divorce step-by step and you will get to the other side and be done with it.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.