Do Men Try Harder in Divorce?

I was reading an old post on a blog the other day while doing some research about men’s efforts in a relationship pre and post divorce and was wondering; do men try harder?

I try to never generalise because there are lazy, inconsiderate, and plain useless men out there who don’t try at all and sometimes don’t care. However, ignoring the minority of troglodytes that behave like this I have come to the conclusion men often do try harder during this phase and often in a relationship too.

The post i linked to mentions why and I will summarise. Basically it seems to be because men are naturally problem solvers and divorce is a BIG problem. W want to win, we want to solve the problem, we want to fix something that is broken. Also, men usually never have come to terms with a divorce when it is initiated which seems reasonable … but women have. Women have thought about a great deal and talked it over with many friends and family and by the time it comes to the announcement they are convinced and have shut down emotionally.

So is this a good thing or a bad thing though? We tend to be very proud of when we work hard and put an effort in whether it is cleaning the house or saving a failing marriage. However my point of view is it is neither good nor bad … it just IS.

In some ways in fact it can be bad, I am all for saving a marriage in crisis that can be saved, but when it goes beyond the point of no return we are left clinging to a fading hope by our fingernails fighting the inevitable. Then people wonder why we appear even more crushed when it does not turn out right.

This is why I am always for men moving on after divorce, not with other women, but emotionally and spiritually. In some cases this has led to reconciliation, but for the most part it simply allows a man to find his true self and be happy with the despite his relationship problems.

Trying hard does not make you a hero and does not equate to success always. When the writing is on the wall, it is time to fix your own problems (and be a good parent too) not your partners.

How to Move on After Divorce for Men – The Power of the Pen

moving on after divorceDiscovering how to move on after divorce for men can be a long and arduous process. One of the biggest problems is the turbulent state of your mind and emotions. This shifting landscape of your mind makes it difficult to really understand the truth of the situations you are in and makes it difficult to move forward because your future and direction seem to be moving all over the place.

I remember at one stage after my divorce I changed my mind four times about going on a trip to clear my head. I even went as far as booking plane tickets then cancelling them and for the life of me, I could never quite work out who I wanted to go and why i did not! This is just a minor example, but some guys have massive problems in choosing a direction or understanding themselves because a single trigger can cloud your mind with anger, depression, anxiety, and other emotions that will change your mental state.

One thing that helped me when I was dealing with this volatile situation was using a pen.

That’s right, a pen. It was not even a fancy pen! It was a regular black biro with the lid missing and one end chewed from nervous fits when I was working out legalities of the divorce. The same pen that signed the divorce papers in fact helped me to move on from the divorce as well.

Ok, this was not some magic pen, the power of it is in the written word. You see, the written word does not change when you put it on paper. Your interpretation of it can change, but a well constructed letter can have usually a single meaning that will NOT shift and change like an upset mind.

So I offer this advice for guys finding it difficult to focus, understand themselves, understand the divorce, and of course move on from it – Write stuff down!

Some things to write when you are in a good frame of mind are:

  • Your plans for the immediate future
  • Your plans for the long term
  • Your emotions and frustrations
  • A letter to your ex wife (to be burned symbolically not sent!)
  • A letter to yourself to read again when you are feeling low
  • A budget! (this is more important for your mental health than you think …)
  • And more …

Harness the power of the pen guys! I talk more about how to use the written word to help you move on after divorce in my Men After Divorce guide as well.

Divorce Recovery for Men – Overcoming Anger & Resentment

divorce recovery for menDivorce recovery for men is often derailed by one of our most primal instincts – anger. There is a phase in the grief cycle that we all go through where anger plays a major part and is important to at least get out of your system. I am not talking about brief moments of rage and self pity that you eventually move out of once the initial shock wears off and you adjust. I am talking about the long term anger, resentment and bitterness that can follow you through your life.

Now if you are going through a divorce, or are a long way past a divorce you will know this anger well. This sense of being so wronged that you want to lash out, you want someone to notice, someone to feel your wrath and be humbled, apologise, or something similar. It is an instinctual reaction to make ourselves feel more powerful, to try to obtain some sort of justice or supplication from another by righteous rage that stems from an injustice or hurt of some kind.

In a tribal society of old where life was not as complex, strength and power determined justice and law. However, anger these days does not achieve a huge amount does it? When has yelling at someone ever really produced a good long term result? When has being angry ever changed a situation for the better? Anger is just a triggered defensive reaction to a perceived injustice as can be seen by people who fly off the handle even when they are clearly in the wrong … it all comes down to perception.

The other point I wanted to mention is that anger can fester to become bitterness and resentment. You cannot maintain a raging anger, but many people manage to maintain a simmering loathing of their ex wife, the divorce process, themselves, lawyers, or anything else from this divorce. This is more dangerous than the initial rage which can often fade quickly and then is gone. This holding on to a grudge is a hindrance to your mental health for years to come and hurts your relationships and outlook on life.

Why you need to banish this resentment

While it may seem obvious to some, here are a few reasons why you want to get over this and fast as people who live with bitterness and resentment frequently suffer from issues such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor self esteem
  • A focus on revenge
  • Trouble with future relationships
  • Stress

If you let this bitterness go, you can achieve so much more and be so much happier. The sheer amount of energy it takes to maintain such a mental state of mind is enormous and while you may not realise it yet, it is a CHOICE you have.

How to let go of anger and resentment

The key to achieving divorce recovery for men and letting go of the anger is by forgiveness. This is a term that has many preconceptions with it that stop people from truly utilising this amazing mental tool. The act of forgiveness gives you a grace that can have lasting positive consequences in your life.

What forgiveness is NOT is:

  • Forgiveness is NOT about forgetting the problems, actions or insults. Whatever happened, happened and must serve as a reminder.
  • Forgiveness is NOT about excusing the actions of your wife or yourself and making them okay in any way.
  • Forgiveness is NOT about giving permission for continuance of these issues by yourself of by your wife.
  • Forgiveness is NOT about reconciliation. Just because you forgive someone does not mean you need to enter into a relationship again with them. That is a separate issue and should not be taking in this case because we are trying to make a new life not rebuild the ashes of the old one.
  • Forgiveness is NOT about religion and spirituality, unless you want it to be. Religion has its own interpretation which helps many people understand, but if you are not religious then this is a purely a mental process, and an important one too.

Forgiveness is a release from the anger, it is a way to acknowledge the hurt and set it free instead of keeping it in your heart. It is letting go for the need for vengeance so that you can mentally untie yourself completely form the negative emotions of the divorce and live your life without a burden. To lose the anger you must forgive those that wronged you because anger will never make anything better in your life. You must let it go and move on because emotionally it is crippling, and logically it achieves nothing.

For more information how to do this check out my full Men After Divorce E-book which will go through the complex psychological hurdles that make it difficult to forgive, and gives you the framework to be happy after a divorce no matter how bad it was.

How Divorce For Men Can Be Good For You

I was browsing around some website the other night and found an interesting piece about why failing in a relationship can be good for you. While it never feels like ti at the time, a divorce is only going to be painful and seem like a huge waste if you believe that and continue without making this a real learning experience.

I often refer to my divorce as a rebirth because it was such a painful experience but at the end gave me a new life, a new clarity, a new purpose. All this because i eventually came to see it from a different angle and incorporated what i learned into my new life. Some of these points were put forth pretty clearly in the writers (a Douglas LaBier, Ph.D) article:

“But what can go missing is a deeper learning, emotionally and spiritually: Learning not only what went wrong in your past, failed relationships; but also learning from the residue of the loss and using that awareness in your future relationships. That means incorporating the meaning of the loss or failure into the fabric of your life, and identifying what you need to learn from it as you go forward.”

This sort of introspection comes easily to some but very hard to others. While all guys should try to be aware of this, the other challenge in my opinion is to not let your emotions twist and distort the truth to form a negative thread in this tapestry of your life. Often we think we learn, but really we simply hold grudges, and add layers of shame and blame that do not really help us with future relationships; they harm them instead.

Another paragraph that grabbed my interest:

“Their legacy becomes woven into the larger tapestry of your life, even as that tapestry enlarges over time. The challenge is to incorporate all of it; learn about yourself from all of your experiences, especially what didn’t work or what was negative…or else keep repeating new versions of it.”

The repetition of the same mistakes we make over and over again is the curse of those who do not take the time, and sometimes the painful journey of really understanding themselves and their divorce. Sometimes it is because we shy away from the truths for easier comforts of anger or self pity … or even self loathing. The easy path is never the one that brings you the most emotional and spiritual gain.

“That’s what brought to mind the old tree trunk I saw as a young boy. Damaged where the lightning had struck, I noticed that the trunk had continued to grow around it and gradually encompassed the damaged part within it. It was like oneself: Even if you continue to grow and change, learn from your experiences and continue on with your life, your losses nevertheless remain part of you…. always there, a visible, enduring part of you. But by embracing that reality, loss of failure in love can be a good thing for your future relationships; if you can learn to integrate it and meld it into your ongoing life journey, your personal “evolution.””

Evolution is a very good word for it. Nothing in our minds is a revolution, nothing changes in a moment to be so different than before that you have a whole new perspective of life. Your mind and your outlook is an evolving thing and one that you can direct with an understanding of that evolutionary psychological flow.

This is something I try to highlight in my Men After Divorce Ebook which gives that understanding of your emotions and psychological makeup and how you can then evolve into a stronger person emotionally and spiritually.

You can read the full article here:

Why Romantic-Sexual Relationship Failures Are Good For You

Dads in Distress – Support for Divorced Fathers

For those like me living in Australia it is Fathers day! I had a great morning with the kids before I dropped them back at their mothers. It always amazes me at how happy we can be despite the troubles we had during the divorce. I remember how I thought I had failed as a father and how they would hate me even though their mother initiated the divorce.

The lack of support at the time was what really hit home to me. Women had all sorts of places, support lines, organisations, and even just friends more open to help. Guys have very little and their friends while in many cases helpful are not emotionally equipped to really give the support needed.

In a sad case, I had a friend who nearly broke up with his wife because she didn’t want him talking with me because she thought I was some terrible man who deserved to be divorced. He ignored her and gave me a lot of physical help moving and so forth for which I thank him greatly. It does show just how deep the lack of support can bite for men even socially.

Children though is where it is hardest. Support for fathers is in even shorter supply perhaps because society does not VALUE fathers enough in my opinion. Or at least they think that divorced fathers are not worth the effort which is a sad statement which saddens and infuriates me … which is why I found an interesting article for a new group on the Central coast of New South Wales in Australia called Dads in Distress.

I found it through a local news article ( http://express-advocate-gosford.whereilive.com.au/news/story/dads-in-distress-help-group-born ) and it sounds like a great idea. Helping fathers recover form divorce to help themselves and their children. I hope there are more and more of these sorts of groups around the world because it is sorely needed.

There are more men’s groups popping up here and there and I want you to know this is you are struggling because it is wroth seeking them out. If you need any further help of course please get a copy of my Men After Divorce guide which I keep getting positive feedback on so I hope it can help you too.

Divorce, Men & Self Esteem

low self esteemI just wanted to open up this blog with a discussion about self esteem for men going through divorce, and also living life after it. Firstly what do we mean by self esteem really? It is a phrase you hear quite a lot but the concept is often poorly understood at a deeper level. Divorced men in particular should know how self esteem affects their lives because it can hit a record low and not get much beyond there for a while.

Self esteem is your opinion of yourself at a surface level. It is how you feel about yourself as a person, as a father, as a partner, as a man in general. Being divorced placed a massive negative image on all of those things. It can even creep into your career making you feel you never earned enough, or on the opposite end that you worked too much and didn’t spend enough time. In the mind of a divorced man who is already feeling that he was not good enough somehow, so many more links can be found even if they are totally wrong!

This is the thing that guys need to realise after a divorce, that the low self esteem comes from within, it is not caused by outside events, but only your perception of them.

For example, a friend of mine Robert went through a divorce where he basically lost his kids to his ex wife. Rob was a good dad, he was not perfect but he was a good and attentive guy to his kids and his marriage. Of course, no one told him that directly and it wouldn’t have made any difference in his mind because his divorce and loss of his kids made him feel like a bad father. He didn’t not realise how much of his self image was tied into his view of being a good parent. From this a landslide of negativity followed. He felt his job was pointless, he felt no women would want him because he was a bad father. From this he felt unattractive and depressed and didn’t have any goals for some time.

As you can see, he was exactly the same man he was before, but the mind turned everything to shit and his self esteem plummeted. He allowed this to happen in a way because his own sense of self worth was directly targeted. The problem is his sense of self worth seemed to be dictated by circumstance and other people’s opinions and not by your own inner core beliefs.

This knowledge is part of the healing process that you must go through as a man after divorce. The next part is knowing how to fix it!

My guide on Men after Divorce explains this in more detail but knowing is half the battle as the saying goes so I hope that might help some guys 🙂