Category Archives: Self Esteem

Happiness & Meaning For Men After Divorce

meaning happiness  mean divorcemeaning happiness  mean divorceWhat is being happy?

This is a question that plagues he thoughts of many divorced men for a long, long time. There is so little joy and happiness after a painful divorce many come to believe that happiness is an illusion and spiral into bitterness. Other go in search of happiness with a fervour that can only be described as manic as they clutch at anything that brings a fleeting sense of happiness, joy, or pleasure at the very least – only to find it slip away all too quickly.

So does happiness really exist? We all felt it when we got married surely – not that it ended well – but for a time we knew that for at least for a time we were happy. We remember childhood happiness as well, and happiness of friendship. We know the happy feelings when we get a present, or receive a compliment, or buy something we really wanted. Happiness does exist, but I believe we often describe such happiness with the wrong words. All of these things give us happiness for a moment in time, but they fade over time leaving us less joyful than before. Some might call this pleasure which brings to mind a more fleeting experience while happiness is something people want as a state of mind.

So what does this all have to do with men after divorce and the search for meaning?

I was reading an excellent article titles There is More to Life Than Being Happy which caught my attention the other day. It ties in very closely to the advice I give in my own ebook on Recovery for Men After Divorce but from a different perspective somewhat which I would like to explore.

The article stipulates that the endless pursuit of fleeting happiness is detrimental to a long term sense of self satisfaction in life. It insinuates at least that modern living has given us all the tools we need to engage in pleasurable pursuits, but has left many of us devoid of a purpose in life, and that purpose and meaning is what we derive real lasting contentment from. From the researchers of happiness and meaning cited by the article author:

“the researchers found that a meaningful life and happy life overlap in certain ways, but are ultimately very different. Leading a happy life, the psychologists found, is associated with being a “taker” while leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a “giver.”

Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided,” the authors write.

So we two issues here – the definition of happiness and meaning. I want to explore this in relation to this blog which is how to get over the pain of divorce and it is quite tied together.

Happiness

happiness after divorceThis I would argue the article really means as pleasure and pleasurable activities and things. They are tied to meeting the needs and wants we have as individuals, not the needs or wants of a group. They also seem to be defined as things that bring us pleasure from ‘taking’ things. Buying things, being given things and so forth. In marriage we can end up being takers in this regard. We love the attention of our wife and kids. We like the home we create, and the things we buy and use together. We like the security that marriage and a home seem to bring and the position it places us in society – that of a married man, a breadwinner, a member of our society with some social standing as a partner and often a parent. Whether you recognise this or have not really thought about it – these are things that can bring pleasure and happiness that are tied to the self – our ego.

Meaning

meaning after divorce for menmeaning after divorce for menMeaning and purpose are a different beast. They refer to people with a sense of meaning in their lives as being ‘givers’. Those who sacrifice, who worry, who give and see the point in such sacrifice are the ones who find a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in their lives. As a married man this was a part of our sense of self as well. Men often sacrifice their time, their money, and their own pleasure for their wife and their family. This is something some do willingly, while other might resent somewhat – but it is a massive part of our psyche. The sacrifices men make in marriage bring pleasure when they are praised of course, but it also brings a sense of purpose to build a family even if nothing else in life has a sense of purpose.

The Destruction of Both

Divorce destroys both of these things. The loss of purpose however is obviously the most worrying for men. Without the centre of family life many men are devoid of a meaningful day to day existence. They try to fill this gaping hole with pleasures such as alcohol, drugs, sex, entertainment, even violence for some. Nothing fills this gaping hole unless they find a new sense of meaning. Religion does it for some, work can also fill that gap for many, but unless they are truly believers on those things they are a shadow of the meaning they gained from family.

This journey to finding a meaning in life and a new sense of your own self in the universe is the crux of my men after divorce ebook on the psychological front – but backed up by practical tips to help you edge towards this loftier goal. If you are suffering after divorce perhaps this strikes a chord with you – if so, please comment and lets start a conversation about happiness, divorce and meaning.

 

Men and Divorce Help – Why We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

Men and Divorce Help
Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?

When it comes to guys looking for divorce help I am often reminded that we can be our own worst enemy in this regard. While I will probably digress into broad generalisations and stereotype here, I do believe that stereotypes are not created in a vacuum and they do have some truth to them even if they are exaggerations.

Men are often too proud. We are stubborn, we believe we are right, and we do not like to beg or to ask for help. Men are considered by society as the ones who should be strong and independent, that must be the rock that bears out the storm, that they are emotionally stable at all times … and we also know this is not the truth at all for the vast majority of regular guys.

Men have the same depth of feelings as any woman. Men have problems, feel pain, feel confused, and can frequently not know what to do when they are out of their depth. As much as society beams out this image of a perfect stoic man, it is just not the case and possibly never really was – it is an idealisation just as bad for men’s self esteem as women’s obsession over models on magazines.

This brings me to why we are our own worst enemies – Because we all too often believe the unrealistic view that society has imposed upon us rather than the truth!

We are conditioned to hide our feelings and ignore them. We are conditioned to believe that if we show signs of weakness, than we are weak and therefore of less worth to society and ourselves. You might not think in those terms but subconsciously many guys believe this so strongly it impedes our ability to ask for help, or help ourselves properly. Here is a quick test to see if this might be happening to you:

  • You feel ashamed that you are feeling miserable or crying
  • You blame yourself for the breakdown of the marriage and believe it was your duty to hold it together
  • You feel a huge loss of self worth and feel that people are judging you for being divorced
  • You turn down offers of help as you do not want to seem like you cannot cope
  • You find yourself comparing your life and actions to other men poorly

These are a few symptoms of this way that we cling to the idea of the idealised man. You can see how it might be interfering with being able to get help, or be able to help yourself too.

How Can Men Get Divorce Help?

Divorce Help For MenThe first step to any sort of self improvement is self awareness. There is no one shot fixes to anything, it is a process and you need to be able to understand yourself – and what is blocking your abilities to overcome the pain of divorce. This comes down to a central point I make about all men – and women too for that matter – which is that we are all controlled by our ego; our sense of self.

Our sense of self is an important thing but it hates to change and a divorce irrevocably changes us. Part of our ego is how we believe we should act and feel due to what we have been taught and societies expectations on us too. We need to acknowledge these things and inspect them even if it might seem taboo. The only way to move forward is to leave all these things behind and not be controlled by your ego otherwise you begin to try and bolster your ego doing self destructive things such as:

  • Trying to prove how manly you are by drinking, fighting, or pushing the limits of drug usage
  • Turning down offers of help to make you feel you are powerful and strong enough to go it alone
  • Forcing your emotions down deeper and deeper because dealing with them might make you feel less of a man – but those emotions will bubble to the surface later and come out of dangerous or violent ways.

There are many more examples but the core message is that men need to be able to lay down their ego and stop the foolish adherence to the idealised idea of what a man should be. For more divorce help on the psychology of all of this, check out my complete guide to divorce recovery for men which details this in full – and how you can quickly and easily use this to leave your divorce behind and gain a happier and better future.

Click Here For More on the Men After Divorce eBook

 

Living With Your Wife After Separation and Divorce

living with your wife after divorce
Still Sleeping On The Couch?

It came as quite a surprise to me to find that there seems to be a significant number of men living with their wife after separation and divorce. After speaking with a number of divorced men in real life and many more online in various forums, blogs, and via email it seems this phenomenon is quite widespread – if still not the norm. This prompted me to think a little more deeply on this topic of living with your wife after divorce and what the consequences of this might be.

I am going to hold off judgement on whether I think this is right or wrong until a little bit later. For the moment lets look at a few issues that surround this issue, and are consequences of it:

Prefer to watch a video version of this article?

 

Or keep on reading :)

money

Money: Many men I spoke to commented that it was simply about money. They could not afford to move out, or they could not afford to support their wife moving out. Money is always a major player in our minds when separation and divorce rears its ugly head and many guys focus on it almost exclusively as a way to keep things in perspective. Money becomes a central theme for some men and it gives them something to concentrate on and wrap their minds around while the more ambiguous emotions are left aside because they are too hard to deal with. While you can never dismiss the importance of money, it does sometimes become more of an issue that it really is – men should ask themselves the question, if they did have money, would they move out right away? If you hesitate then perhaps it is not really the money and you need to take a closer look.

childrenChildren: Another curly issue that comes up is of course children. How can either of you manage with kids when one moves out. Custody is a major issue here, but more importantly the safety, security and health of your children who are the innocent victims in this adult problem of separation and divorce. This is a tricky one and of course depends on custody laws and how far you are through getting s divorce. Amicable divorces might end up doing this for the sake of the children which might be a good thing, but if the divorce is not amicable – there might be more consequences of staying living together for the children than if one or the other moves out. A question to ask yourself might be what long term impact will the arguments, the lack of clarity and anxiety about the situation between their mom and dad. Are you doing what is best for your kids in this instance?

attachmentAttachment: For many men after separation and divorce, the real reason they do not move out is because of the attachment issues they still have with their ex-wife and their home. This is the real reason behind many guys choosing to live with their ex-wife. Some men even sit through enormous indignities such as their ex going out partying every night, flirting with other men on the phone in front of them – and in some very sick cases having to be present when their ex brings back a new boyfriend for the night (in one case the kids were also present which makes me very sad). Men who do this are often stuck in the stage of denial which is the first stage of grief where we cannot accept what is actually happening. In rare cases some men have gone through this – past the stage of anger – and end up in the bargaining stage. They are actually trying to somehow work out a deal to bring their marriage back (which never happens). I explain in more detail the stages of divorce in my e-book you can find by clicking here.

stubbornPride & Stubborness: Another reason some guys do not move out is pride and/or being stubborn. Not wanting to move because they should and if they refuse this becomes a kind of passive aggressive action against their ex. Men doing this might be mired in the anger stage of divorce and are looking for nay way to express it without too much confrontation. A kind of Mexican stand off with their wife but never actually saying what they really want. This is quite rare though from my experience as this cannot last long before something breaks.


So should you live with your wife after separation or divorce?

At first I thought it was very strange and my mind instantly said no. From my experience and research this sort of proximity with the person you must end your relationship with causes until tension and problems. Emotional turmoil, arguments, hostility, and sometimes sexual encounters which can complicate things even further. It also, as has been mentioned, comes with a certain amount of humiliation for many guys whose ex wife does not respect their feelings or space. However, after thinking upon this and talking with some men my mind has been changed but only very slightly. If you are living with your wife (or ex-wife) after separation or divorce then there are only a very few select sets of circumstances where it might work out.

  • It needs to be an amicable divorce without hostility
  • If children are involved they need to be treated fairly and understand what is happening
  • You must be doing this out of a sense of co-operation and not being mired in the early stages of divorce recovery.
  • If money is the real issue, then you must be prepared to save up and work out better living arrangements as soon as possible.

Some Tips to Live With Your Ex After Divorce

live with wife after divorceSome further tips on how to create a stable living environment if you have to live with your ex wife after you are separated or divorced are needed because this can be an emotional minefield that you will have to navigate every day. Let take a look at a few things you can do:

 

  • Separate sleeping arrangements that never meet are vital. NEVER sleep together or in the same room. Make sure you separate yourself and if possible both have beds, don’t have one person sleeping on a couch as this is a kind of humiliation that causes friction.
  • Draft a living agreement that clearly states who will do what so there is no leftovers from your marriage about who used to do what. Make sure there will be no arguments or manipulation, just a document which outlines who will do what so there is no confusion.
  • Make sure both of you have your own space. Following on from point one; you have to both feel comfortable in the house and not be stepping on each others toes all the time. Add this into the living agreement about times for bathrooms, when you have access to certain facilities and so forth.
  • Schedule things. Make sure everything is planned so you know when you should be out for the night when she invites the girls around, and vice versa. Also make sure to schedule in times to talk about the divorce if it has not finished yet so that it is never ad hoc and happens when one party is angry, upset, or tired.
  • If you are only waiting for a time that you or her can move out, make sure to keep to the schedule as well! Do not delay it!

You can only truly overcome and recover form divorce once you have the space to think and internalise all of the emotions and feelings that comes from a failed marriage. This can only be achieved after you stop living with your wife after separation. This is a process that can take some time and can be very destructive if you do not handle it right. This is why I wrote the Men After Divorce E-book and highly suggest you look into it if you are a guy struggling to cope after divorce.

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 :)