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How Men Can Move on After Divorce

Men after divorce often live an invisible life of pain and suffering. The absolute disintegration of their life and identity takes a toll that few people see, or want to deal with. Society is happy enough to see and deal with the tears of women, but we seem collectively uncomfortable seeing a man in distress and so ignore it.

To add to this problem, men themselves who are finding it hard to move on from divorce do not actively seek out help from other because of this problem. Often they feel it will make them look and feel weak, and less of a man.

This bottling up of emotions and lack of perspective leads men to feel they are isolated and shunned. In fact, many feel shunned because they often are shunned by a portion of the community who take it upon themselves to demonise the husband in a failed marriage no matter what the circumstances.

This hub will look at some ways men can change this situation to be able to live a life free of negativity and emotional pain of post divorce life.

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What Men After Divorce Should NOT Do

First I just wanted to point out a few things you should avoid doing at all costs to improve your chances of living a happier life for after divorce.

Do Not Try To Reconcile

The dream for many men is that at the last minute you can find some sort of reconciliation with your wife or ex wife and the whole horrible experience can be put behind you and you will start your marriage again with a whole new perspective.

This is a fantasy that men create to avoid dealing with the hard truth of the matter and the difficult task of accepting a divorce and being able to move on. This is denial which we all go through to some degree; getting stuck in this phase is the real danger.

So if you are calling your ex wife often, begging or pleading, waiting and not doing anything in your life 'just in case' she comes back and other similar things, then you need to stop that and take the first brave step into the unknown. This will bring on a wave of new and often horrible emotions but you will need to feel them rather than denying them or it becomes worse later.

Do Not Use Children as Game Pieces

This should seem obvious but when you start getting into tit for tat battles with your ex spouse you often do not realise just how harmful your actions are to your children if you have kids. Children are innocent victims of divorce and while it is often the painful reality that men become isolated from their children because of divorce, no good can come of trying to manipulate them or the situation around them for your own gain.

The best thing you can do is to give them the most stable and loving life possible in this situation. Being a good father is the best thing you can do even if it is in a limited capacity. Knowing that you are doing the right thing by your children in trying circumstances is also a way to gain more self respect for yourself which is an essential part of overcoming issues of self worth which bring misery to men after divorce.

Do Not Try To Boost Your Self Esteem

To follow on from the last point is another about your feelings of self worth. This is at an all time low in your life after divorce which leads to a very bad set of actions that too man men take to feel a little better.

What I am talking about is short term self esteem boosting action that make you feel more powerful, more in control, and more wanted. The problem is that anything done so quickly never lasts long. Alcohol, violence, loose women, drugs, and many other actions that make you feel good for a short time quickly fade making you feel even worse. In extreme cases these things become an addiction as you feed your ego over and over again with things that do not nourish it, but make it even hungrier!

What Men After Divorce SHOULD Do

In this section I hope to give some usable hints on what you need to be doing to survive a divorce, be happy and give yourself the motivation and direction you need.

Know the Grieving Process

When you get divorced you go through a mental process that is the same as any other situation where you lose a loved one. This is grief and it is an important process to go through to move on from the situation and accept it. This cycle follows these stages for nearly all people in this situation.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Just knowing that there is a process that we are all hard wired to go through is an important part of being able to move through these horrible bits of your life quickly and learn from it as well.

So do not be afraid to feel these emotions, just make sure to view it in context and learn from each part as much as you can. Once you have let out all of the negative feelings it is like purging yourself of a poison and being able to live without a bleeding and festering wound.

Know You Can Always Control Your Actions if Not Your Feelings

Another thing that I see many men say is that they could not control themselves when they get angry, or spiteful, or depressed or take any sort of destructive action. While it may seem harsh, the truth is you must always own your actions no matter what.

If you do something you let yourself do it, your emotions and feelings influenced you but they did not force you to do anything. No matter what rage or injustice you feel you are on total control of your own actions. Lack of self control is a lack of self respect which we have discussed is an essential part of being a happier and better adjusted person.

IF you cannot control anything in your life, your ex wife, your financial situation, your children, your work, and of course your volatile emotions ... you can always ONLY control yourself. If you seize this opportunity to control your actions and words you are taking a step into being a stronger and more capable person who will cope and be happy in time.

Work Towards Forgiveness

This may seem laughable to many men and I can understand the feelings completely.

"Me? Forgive that woman for what she did to me? Never!"

I said that to myself a number of times before I saw the truth at the heart of the matter. Resentment is the most punishing thing you can do to YOURSELF. Being bitter, holding a grudge, storing away your anger to serve as some sort of misguided warning to yourself and to others you talk to about the perceived "evils" of marriage is all to common and serves no purpose. It will never inhibit your ex wife in any way at all but instead you restrict how happy and fulfilled YOU can be.

The way to truly get over this is forgiveness. This is not condoning anything, this is not forgetting anything. Forgiveness just means that you no longer carry this burden and you no longer have the capacity for hatred even if you may never understand what happened or what they were thinking!

This requires you to have a better grasp of your own self image and self worth first and is the final stage in your journey of divorce recovery.

I hope that this article has been useful to some men after divorce looking for some advice to help them cope. I understand first hand how unbearable the situation is, the loss of identity, the feelings of emasculation, loss of contact with children, loss of emotional nourishment and the feelings of rage and hopelessness that invade your every day.

You're not alone.

Comments 27 comments

Darknlovely3436 profile image

Darknlovely3436 6 years ago from NewYork

Great Hub.


Anoyomous 5 years ago

Thank you very much for this. It surely should help many men heal. It is refreshing to understand that not everyone demonises the husband in a failed marriage no matter what the circumstances. I sure had the perception that everone would see me differently. This is comfoting; thank you!


Aunt Mollie 4 years ago

Aunt Mollie applauds this good advice.


Kirstine Hales 4 years ago

my boyfriend has just got divorced after waiting 2 years to get it sorted he is glad about this as his ex - wife has a borderline personality disorder and made his life hell for the last 4 or 5 years, however i would like to know how to help him now that this has happened and what emotions he may be going through


MenAfterDivorce profile image

MenAfterDivorce 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Hi Kirstine,

Have a look at this article i wrote - it may help:

http://menafterdivorce.com/blog/how-to-help-a-frie...


Daryl 4 years ago

There is no such thing as life after divorce for a man. At least not for me. I died two years ago, my body is just too dumb to stop breathing. There has not been one day worth living since, nor will there ever be again. Women are pure evil, and the courts are totally corrupt and unfair.

The Muslims have it right "Women should be owned like slaves and beaten like dogs". Come on death, I'm waiting!!!


MenAfterDivorce profile image

MenAfterDivorce 4 years ago from Sydney Author

Hi Daryl,

Many men have learned to survive and thrive after a divorce. Many of course do not - but that is not the fault of women or thr courts. No matter how aweful some women are, and how unfair the legal system can be sometimes towards men.

The only people who can change our own forturnes is ourself. It is not easy I grant you that - it takes time and effort and a lot of anger, depression, and even hate yes - but eventually you can cmoe through the other side with a redefined sense of self.

I will ignore your comment about Muslims as I know that is anger talking.


Ross 4 years ago

Helpful hub... I just went through a divorce and I'm not sure where I stand on how I feel about everything. I want nothing more than to reconcile just like you said in the first thing men should NOT do, ironic that is the first thing I read...

I will say this however, I don't know you and have never heard of you before Mr. Author, but you sir, have my utmost respect... That was a very composed reply to a comment that most sites like this would have deleted or ignored, if nothing else I will take your advice to heart solely because of that good sir.


Fosters 4 years ago

Thx a lot for advice but I'm stuck in the first thing to not do.how can I forgive myself?how?what a lost.where can I find all that love and looking after?like they say u appreciate things only when u loose them.i don't think I can love anymore.im suffering , I'm slapping my face when I wake up and before sleeping. I hate myself and I never thought that I'm such a stupid guy.


Zach 3 years ago

My divorce finalized this week. It's weird to read that. After over a year of separation, I suppose in some small way, for better or for worse, the fact that it's finished is a relief. The biggest and dare I say "scariest" problems are just now beginning to show themselves. I feel two inches tall. I feel I've been set adrift with no land in sight.

Compounding the issue is the severe depression I have struggled against since a young age. On a good day, it's hard to see much positive in life. It's harder still to find any worth in myself. But, now I'm standing at the edge of this cliff, and looking down at what remains of my life. Honestly, just the idea of having to start over is exhausting. I would like to say it's just overwhelming, and I simply don't know where to start, but it's more accurate to say that I just don't see the point.

And where do I begin? The depression caused by the divorce is fueling my naturally occurring depression and visa versa. It's a self-perpetuating cycle, and I'm stuck smack in the middle. I can truly say that if I didn't have a daughter (who I will now see for 48 hours every 14 days), I would have already opted for a chunk of hot lead through the back of my skull.


MenAfterDivorce profile image

MenAfterDivorce 3 years ago from Sydney Author

Hi Zach,

Depression is a terrible thing and fuelled by divorce greif I know this must be difficult. I will not pretend to know exactly how bad you must feel but the one bit of advice that might make a difference is this:

While after divorce we think we need to 'Start Again' this is not really the case. We are starting something new - but it is not the same thing we were doing before.

This is a chance to reinvent yourself. A chance to change priorities and focus on a new path. The only thing that remains constant in this is your love and attention to your daughter - but everything else can be looked at from a new angle.

If anything though - please see a doctor about the depression. I do not usually advocate medication but if it helps you through this tough time go for it. The most improtant thing though is CONNECTING with other people. Make sure not to feel isolated as there are always people who care for you.

Good Luck Zach


R. Dunn 3 years ago

I am not divorced yet I still live with my wife and kids but you know the old proverbial I love you but not in love with you crap. A cop out why is it that woman get this poor them men are aholes syndrome and they all get together and man bash until they see the next cute guy and they wear him out and they start the cycle over again.everybody talks about the divorce rate that's so high but what I've been reading is women are the ones filing at a rate of 75 to 80% of the time and women are becoming the one that does the cheating nowadays. You commit you love them then they stop having sex with you, you get frustrated angry and hurt then they us that to say your mean and don't meet my needs so they cheat its all about the chemical high they get when its new and gitty and exciting but if they would keep having sex with us we would do and be what ever they want or need how is this ever going to change. I always told myself I would never go through that again and I didn't for 10 years I told myself I would never trust a woman again but when you think you really found the one. But of coarse it followed the same path great sex alot of it for a few years you get married have a couple kids but then you start feeling your wife just doesn't love you the same anymore she doesn't hug you as tight she doesn't kiss you the same way just a peck no passion no feeling what is wrong with women why can't they make the long haul and live up to there vows they made before god is there any women out there like that my wife always proclaimed she would never cheat and was appalled by the fact that people did that and always agreed that she would divorce me before she would ever do anything like that and she really is a very moral caring person so what is happening to these seemingly innocent women can anyone tell me


peanutlee33 3 years ago

My ex bf (like so many) dealt with mental/emotional abuse during his 20 yr marriage. I state EX because we took a break..

Anyway.. he dealt with infidelity (her).. repeat infidelity. He held on for due fact that miraculously things would change (of course they didn't) One of the red flags during our dating was his low self esteem or poor self image. I actually made him cry a few times with my kind compliments RE his appearance because the EX was so cruel to him.. (fat/overweight/smelly/repulsive/get away, you're filthy/etc) And NO she wasn't being playful. Yes, I had met her a few times, and it was obvious their relationship.

During our break, I cried and grieved endlessly for his damaged heart.. we fell in love, and are right for each other (God bless).. but the hurt he dealt with became to great (no, he hadn't gotten counseling or divorce care just yet.) You cannot fix someone. They have to seek professional help themselves.. I pray for him regularly. No one should have to endure spousal abuse, in any form.


honestly 3 years ago

it isn't worth living after divorce......all the suggested coping mechanisms are merely tricks for rationalizing an intolerable situation. ....any "moving on" is nothing but making due with a life you never wanted and will never want.....you'll be a hollow man........a 2 legged dog that drags itself in the muck while people applaud your plucky perseverance .....enforce your marriage vows to the literal letter .......the only way to save you both.


Bob 3 years ago

It has been about 1.5 years since separation. Divorce is nearly finalized.

I'm happy that it's over in the sense that she was a miserable person to be around. But, there is a nagging feeling that no one could ever love me. To add to this, the reason I filed for divorce was because she made false allegations against me to send me to jail and kidnap my children.

I can't forgive that and expect any sort of relationship with her. "Forgive her? After what she did to me?" I don't know if I can or should get past this. I can forgive her, but that doesn't mean I want to be her friend or anything like that.

I don't know.


Joe Dinh 3 years ago

I'm going through divorce now and I am forgiving her cause I am a Christian and I know god will forgive her and me so I am soon it... It hurts at first yes but please try for I am trying


Hopeless 3 years ago

I want so bad for the man I love to heal from the hurt of a past marriage led to divorce because of u faithfulness. I see him falling into a depression that has probably been masked over a 2yr period. We're taking a break from a relationship b/c I can no longer deal with his frivolous behavior & his constant need for validation from people on a social network. He posts everything, every intimate detail of his past marriage and our relationship for 'reassurance' that he is a good man. The pity party has gotten old. I need him to move on because I'm wanting to call it quits permanently this time. Not even wanting to remain friends...I recognize his ego is bruised although the marriage was over way before the divorce he wanted to be the one to walk away 1st. I know that I'm limiting myself to having a meaningful relationship holding out for him to get it together. He keeps talking marriage to me but I'm not sure he's mature enough or strong enough to handle a marriage as sometimes issues arise. I really feel for him as we've been friends since high school & I want to always assure him I have always thought the world of him. I too am divorced longer than he but I understand the feelings or pain & guilt when it's over but when does a man's bruised ego dissolve after a divorce. He's missing out on a being committed to someone who truly loves him and all his flaws simply by still trying to prove to the world his divorce wasn't his fault. To make matters worse he has no close friends or family members that are effectively helping him move on or even being a support system. All they do is continuously give him a pity party. The ex has moved on & still with the person she cheated with...

I would never want to rush him thru a grieving process but how do say to a person effectively LIFE GOES ON?!?!?!


bob 2 years ago

I set my exwife up. I told her we couldn't afford our home 5 years ago. Of course I could but when I filed for divorce suddenly and took all the money I knew she would lose. And she did . I have all our children and she has nothing house went to foreclose. In a few months she will have to pay child support. She was a good stay at home mom and pathetically tried to be a good wife but I threw her away actually it was easy in Chicago courts. Whoever has the cash wins. Wake up people ...get them first before they get you.


Gail 2 years ago

Why do men take the divorce out on the new girlfriend


Ronny 2 years ago

Dear all depressed guys....

My divorce finalized today!, a fantastic milestone reached. We divorced because I am not at home enough, I work in the global arena and is sometimes away from home for 3 months at a time, the bills got payed, nice things were baught, but she needed the heavy alcohol fueled parties......with her friends, most of them without me for obvious reasons.

Basically, I said:

"at least wait for me, don't party every third day, make it a family rule that we go to such parties together"

She said:

"you can not dictate to me how I should live my life!, I am entitled to have friends!, I'll see them when I want and I will go to any outing/party that I want with or without you!"

This is the "in a nutshell" description of why and how I got divorced.

I have gone through every phase of (DABDA) denial,anger,bargaining, depression and acceptance. The most important thing for me when I realized that I am going through the DABDA grief/loss cycle was to identify and anticipate the next phase. I could ( after some practice) identify the moment a very strong emotion like anger, started to gain control of the moment and suppress and redirect it into something that would add value to my life, I call it sending those thoughts to the gage. These raw unwelcome and most of the time, unnecessary emotions and feelings would be later let loose on the treadmill or the bike or, my favorite....the punching bag. Yes, I started jogging and cycling, opened the gym membership and have taken up a hobby.

It is truly an exhilarating feeling to dump all excess unnecessary emotions onto the treadmill or bike. Five months ago I could only walk 1,5 miles and be dead tired, every week I pushed myself a little more and forced myself to be disciplined in my body shape up as well as my diet. This morning I ran 8miles in 55 minutes, I'm 40!

3 months ago I met a dame at the gym, we are legally dating now, she is ridiculously hot and doing very well for herself as a CEO of a clothing store chain.

I also feel that woman in general looks at me differently from about after a month or so of going to the gym. Everyone can sense that you are improving and working on yourself. I am not saying do what I did and go to the gym, I'm saying "find something that you like or love doing, do it well, make sure it is something that will improve your current self and keep an eye on discipline, the rest will happen by itself soon you will start to notice small changes, I noticed that I am friendlier to people and as a result gets invites to all kinds of great things to do, business contacts parties etc. If you are friendly without expecting anything in return, then people wants to know and be with you. Another small change was how i started to show interest in the field of electronics again to the point that I am now designing a remote operated inspection robot (with help from an electronic master of coarse ). This hobby could bring in a lot of money if I should wish to allocate more time to it. I have gone into a partnership with a fashion design firm to release a new clothing label. (The best part is that I know nothing special about clothing or labels for that matter, my field of expertise is welding inspection and project management for power generation, worlds apart, but, it's the fact that I was at the right place at the right time in order to make the connection.

That was getting oxygen to the organs and making myself presentable to the outside world again after 12 years. Now, I use a few tricks/reminders/rules, call it what you want to control the emotional side of my being. The most effective tool I use is my "safe word". For instance, my safe word is...........wait for it.........."relax!". Every time a difficult situation would arise, and I realize that my emotions might cause me to over or under react, I just whisper my word to myself which means that I will get my emotions ( anger/angst/anxiety/depression/guilt, the list goes on) back in place and deal with the situation in a calm and collected state. I would in the beginning say it out load, it made no sense to others but to me it made me force myself to handle the situation as if I have an outside view on it and it got me to understand the importance of calculating decisions and getting the best outcome for all, not just you. Very important!!.... You must have an ethical and moral outlook on decisions that affects people in all areas of your life, you will soon be trusted and respected by all who is connected to you and more people would want to connect with you, etc. .(I hope it make sense)

It is not an easy road and if you are depressed, or just don't feel like it, or shifting it to the next day or further back, then you are really making this unavoidable experience so much harder.I know I'm babbling on, but trust me, by using just the safe word and by paying attention to the moral and ethical values to everything, can you drag yourself out of this tar pit, I did and I feel great, the next chapter in my book of life has just been opened and I like the way I'm giving happiness a second chance. I am on a blank slate and I can write anything on it that I want.

Guys, one more thing......

There is great support out there, people in all walks of life have gone through what you are going through. The difference between their and your journey through this is that you have a good idea of what lies in store for you should YOU decide to go the depressed victim route. I did it the hard way in the beginning and I can guarantee you the other way is so much easier, and very often very enjoyable not even to mention the excitement of doing something that will have a lasting positive effect on your life. I am part of something again and I did it all by myself.

I do not want to take anything away from the article, it was brilliantly written and it is truly something they should print and hand out to men at the divorce court. This is just my own personal coping mechanism that has and is working for me. I will fall along the road, make dumb mistakes, make some of the same mistakes again, but this time is it on my terms and I control the happiness flow.

Good luck and keep a cool head.


Ronny 2 years ago

Forgot to say:

It will all be ok. Forgive and love yourself, these things happen.

You can come out the other side a happier man and or father, the man or father you always wanted to be.

Your children would rather see you successful and thriving than the creepy guy that is their biological father that has no backbone.

I have set myself a few goals:

1) I WILL be a man that my lovely daughter will be proud of. And, in my case am I sure that my daughter will come live by me when she reaches an age that allows her to decide for herself where she would like to live.

2) It is my responsibility to ensure that I will be able to care for and support her in any way and especially,

3)to teach her the way of the world and to always keep an eye on the silver lining. It is my responsibility to ensure that I do everything in my power to give her a fair chance. She is already psychologically scarred with regards to the changes in her life due to the divorce. I must try to limit the after effects of a broken home in relation to her social skills, school work and relationships. I will be the lighthouse to keep her off the rocky areas, and I will be her support voice of reason when she makes mistakes.

4) Always let her know that I love her unconditionally.

There is nothing wrong with us guys, we just needed to hit the reset button. Wisdom is a result of experience, this is an experience I do not want to go through in the same ass over head way that I did. I will be a good and fair person. I will not make hasty decisions made in the heat of the moment with emotions clouding my judgement..................RELAX!. Lol.

Cheers


MenAfterDivorce profile image

MenAfterDivorce 2 years ago from Sydney Author

Thank you Ronny for the great post!


ali 23 months ago

This is the most crap site I have ever witnessed. Most women have held a marriage together very long after its sell by date and most men are very quickly on to the next woman and to hell with the kids!! Blaming an ex-wife for your shortcomings is all too common. Waken up men. man up and be the husband and father you promised to be before it all got too much for you and you could not live up to it. Prefer a womans view any day - losers!!!


MenAfterDivorce profile image

MenAfterDivorce 23 months ago from Sydney Author

Your comments simply reinforce the stereotypes that plague men after divorce. There are just as many terrible women as deadbeat husbands - to classify all men as bad is shameful.

The article did not once offer advice to blame an ex-wife, all my writing is about making men look at their emotional state and working through the issues without blame and hatred.

Your comment is very dissapointing.


Junior44 16 months ago

I've been separated for over 2 years now,divorced was finalized this past jan.. Im better now, still have my upon downs though, but I'm working thru it..Gym, new friends, dating (difficult) but I'm doing it.. To say this first, I was the dumped one, she left me for another man, it crushed my world after 15 yrs, she just moved on, n yes I've heard it before she already probably had her get out mind set maybe 2-3 years before..anyway I'm still coping with my wounds, accepted my fate in being a single father, but it's hard, I still think of her, questioned why we could never work it out, but truth be told sometimes we will never get that answer!! Any way I'm moving forward, dating is hard at times I'm seeing I'm sabotaging my own Chances with new women, I guess I'm just not ready maybe it's fear, im guarded n just not ready to commit, but yes I do miss having someone around me, but I know that for me I believe I need to be alone, reflect on my mistakes, n just improve on myself, I'm not gonna lie it's a bitch, but truthfully I don't want to go thru that ever again maybe that's why I haven't found the right one.. All I know is I have to have patience n faith I will one day find true love again, get a second chance!!so I say all fellow men brothers, let's be better then we ever can be, love every human being n be the best you can be!!


Paul 6 months ago

Still feel useless


16yrs down the track 12 days ago

I was with my wife for 16yrs, we split, it was mutual. We had 3 daughters and 2 sons. The girls went with mum and the boys went with dad (the kids decision). Ships in the night was how we existed for far too long, both being shift workers with 5 kids. We have been separated now for 18 months now but remain friends. Now I have been through the cycles you speak of and have happily accepted the inevitable. I also have not dated or slept with anyone since we split. My ex has had a relationship that didn't last and has dated and slept with other men by her own admission. I just didn't want to get involved with another woman, I wanted my space and life back and to find me again.

Just last weekend she stayed over at my place as our pet dog (which was hers) of 14 years had to be put down. we live 3 hrs drive away from each other hence why she slept over. The kids were staying with me that weekend (it was my weekend with them) and when she found out I had to put the dog down on the Monday she came up on the Sunday. This is the first time she has stayed over since we split. It was a fun time as we all enjoyed being together again. My ex and and I were behaving towards each other as we had done when we were together and basically dropped our defenses and relaxed around each other. We chatted on the couch and mucked around and rested each others heads on the others shoulders as we relaxed into the night after the kids had gone to sleep. When it was shower time she asked if I could come in and scratch her back and stated "don't stress you've seen me naked before". We of course ended up having sex in the shower together as we used to years ago. Up until that point we had not had any physical contact with each other much less seen each other naked. It was great sex but now I'm finding myself very lost as I had mentally moved on, now I'm telling myself not to take it seriously as it was more than likely just casual sex to her, as she has been single for a while and probably just fell back on old reliable me. But I really am confused as to what actually happened.

So my question to you is, is it OK to engage in sexual relations with our ex spouse after 18 months apart or have we; in committing sex with each other, gone right back to square one. Much like someone quitting smoking after 18 months and then lighting up again?

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