How Men’s Lives Improve after Divorce
Moving on after a divorce can be hard, and it takes time. After all, you’re closing the door on a significant relationship that has taken up years of your life.
In fact, a 2018 study suggested that men suffer more acute negative short-term consequences after a divorce. But there's good news: As the men in the study adapted, these concerns tended to abate. In other words, their lives got better with time, patience, and effort.
Indeed, divorce can also open the door to happiness, growth, and the chance to develop new and healthier relationships. These are positive life changes that definitely represent an improvement, not to mention validation of your experience
After divorce: Can life be better?
Divorce can leave you feeling lost, in despair, and even fearful of the future. But this huge life event can also be a powerful catalyst for growth and change. Especially if it was unhappy or unhealthy for a long time, the end of your marriage can be a seismic turning point.
You have been gifted the freedom and independence to learn more about yourself and explore what you really want in life. You have learned some hard lessons and can now make better choices. These changes can pave the way for a better future if you embrace them.
You may have been faced with some harsh truths about yourself when your marriage ended. That’s okay. Divorce recovery is an opportunity for self-understanding, which in turn can help you make healthier decisions about your life and relationships going forward.
There’s no denying that divorce is painful, but it offers a unique chance for introspection. It can help you identify unhealthy patterns, aspects of your own behavior you can improve, and ways to make better choices for yourself.
Looking for a great therapist? Check out the American Psychological Association's Psychologist Locator.
Time for yourself
Divorce can give you more free time, especially if you’re co-parenting. At first, this time with yourself can seem lonely, hollow, and burdensome. You might feel you have “too much” time on your hands – time to think unhealthy thoughts or cope in unhealthy ways. In fact, studies have shown a correlation between divorce and increased alcohol dependence.
But if you can lean into this new expanse of personal time, you’ll find well-deserved opportunities to pursue new interests and ideas ... or just to relax and indulge in a little bit of mental health downtime and self-care. Work out. Eat healthier. Get to know and nurture yourself a bit better.
More time for hobbies and interests
You might dive back into some old interests, explore new hobbies or interests, or even advance your career.
Embarking on new interests or rediscovering old passions you put aside during marriage can springboard you into a fascinating new life. What’s more, you can meet new friends who share these interests.
Once the dust has settled, getting back out into the world of dating can be exhilarating. This time around, you can discover what you truly need in a new relationship. And, you can take the time you need to find someone who resonates with you.
Every encounter, whether “successful" or not, offers new information about yourself and others. It solidifies what you want and don’t want in a romantic partner.
What’s more, finding that you’re still attractive to others can be a huge boost to your self-esteem.
If you’re a dad with joint custody, you now must learn to navigate the responsibilities of your post-divorce parenting life. You’ll need to learn new skills and develop new boundaries in your role as a co-parent.
A successful co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse can enhance your communication and empathy while providing a nurturing environment for your kids. Co-parenting presents an opportunity to get to know your kids better. Spend quality time with them. Fine-tune some household skills. It can be good.
Getting a do-over
If done right, divorce provides you with a great do-over. You’ve already experienced what you don’t want. Now, it’s essential to gain insight into what you do want.
The divorce process was painful, and you know that it took two for it to fail. Take ownership of your part in it. Hiding from these things only sets the stage for them to cycle around again. Be grateful for the lessons you’ve learned along the way, good and bad. Re-establish that you are worthy of good things and a better future. Allow yourself to feel optimistic again. You can’t change what happened, but you do have control over what happens in your life from here forward.
Joining a support group can do wonders for your well-being. Check out Circles, an online support group platform with special support rooms for people going through divorce.
ResourcesGender Differences in the Consequences of Divorce. National Library of Medicine.
Psychologist Locator. APA.