Life after Divorce: Tips for Men
- Forgive and grieve
- Create a new dynamic with your ex
- Put yourself out there
- Learn new ways to enjoy the kids
- Get help
Divorce is never easy, even if you were the one to initiate it. Although it is the end of your marriage, it’s also a new beginning. But for a while, you may feel stuck in the middle, unable to understand or get the hang of your new reality. A part of you is probably still grieving, and that’s okay. No matter how much you wanted or didn’t want this life change, you invested a lot of time and energy in a relationship that has ended and (likely) left some serious baggage in its wake.
You may live in a different place and not be able to see your kids every day. You may be terrified at having to navigate the world as a single man again. Or, for the first time in years, you may go to bed at night with an overwhelming feeling of relief. All of this needs to be processed. Give yourself time and space for that.
Forgive, and grieve the loss
You didn’t go into marriage with a divorce mindset, yet here you are. You may have hung on far too long simply because divorce felt like a failure, and failure wasn’t an option.
It’s time to forgive. It’s time to grieve. For whatever reason, your relationship didn’t weather life’s changes, and you moved apart. Forgiving your ex-partner makes your life easier. Forgiving yourself is critical. Allowing yourself to grieve the loss of that hopeful moment when you became man and wife will allow you to move on.
Create a new dynamic with your ex-spouse
If you have kids, it’s important to carve out a new relationship with your ex if you want to co-parent effectively. Forge some new boundaries while creating a tentative friendship with your ex, and your kids will thrive. Hanging on to old stuff and grudges only hurts them – and you.
Each relationship is different, and you will have stops and starts, but give yourself some quiet affirmations each time you treat your ex with self-control and respect. It will get easier as time goes on.
Put yourself out there
While you need time to grieve, you also don’t want to get stuck there. A new life beyond your bubble of negative emotions awaits, and moving into that world as slowly as you need will foster your post-divorce healing.
Enlist the emotional support of trusted friends, and make new friends who support you in a positive way. Go out with co-workers for that drink you would always beg off because you needed to get home. Find new passions. Take some classes, or try out a new hobby. Forge new habits, such as going for a bike ride instead of scrolling through the news with your coffee.
After divorce is a perfect time for indulging in good friendships, caring for yourself, getting in touch with your physical health, and cultivating an attitude of hope.
Learn new ways to enjoy your kids
In the past, you may have relied on your spouse to plan family outings with the kids. But you’re on your own now, and this is a perfect time to get into those things they enjoy and learn more about them.
Is your child into video games? After all the talk about getting off-screen, you may want to indulge in some Minecraft in the name of bonding. Do they take dance lessons? Pay attention at practice so you know your pliés from your step-ball-changes.
What do you not want to do? Don’t get caught up in overindulging your kids out of guilt. New toys and cell phones won’t make up for being there for them and taking an interest in who they are and what they like to do.
What about dating?
After divorce, loneliness can set in. You may be tempted to throw yourself headlong into a new relationship to take the loneliness away. But embracing your relationship with yourself first might be one of the most important skill sets you can acquire post-divorce.
There’s nothing more empowering than focusing on your own well-being and self-understanding before bringing others into the mix. Once you can rely on yourself in this hard time and understand what you really want from someone else, you’re better equipped to go out and find others who enhance that. Dating after divorce may be an excellent way to move on, but knowing what and who you are looking for is a good first step.
We all get stuck at certain points in our lives. And, as they say, sometimes it takes a village. If you feel stuck, get some help. Whether in the form of a mental health professional or a divorce support group, these outside resources can offer you tools to use when you find yourself feeling lost and alone. At the very least, you will find that you’re not alone and that there are many others like you seeking help through their own divorce process.
Whether you’re looking for legal help or some good old-fashioned support, the team at Hello Divorce is here for you. Schedule a free 15-minute phone call, or check out our vast library of free resources to help you move forward into your new life.