Whether you believe it or not, divorce affects men and can take their physical and mental well-being for a ride. Here’s how divorce changes a man and what he can do to preserve their sanity and dignity.
Divorce is an emotional roller coaster ride that changes a man completely. It leaves him totally drained and exhausted of his emotions and throws his entire life into upheaval. After all, putting an end to a marriage is never easy. In fact, divorce is considered to be the second most stressful event in life, after the death of a loved one.
While men may experience an initial sense of relief, the euphoria quickly fades away and makes way for stress, anxiety, and post-divorce depression.
Though most of us believe that it is the women who suffer the most during the divorce, the claims are far from reality. Studies show that divorces are equally hard on men and significantly affect their overall health, happiness, and life. In fact, divorce has a more negative connotation for men than women. They suffer more in silence and are likely to develop feelings of resentment and hopelessness after divorce.
This article throws light on how divorce changes a man and what men can do to get over the grief of a broken marriage and make a fresh start.
What Causes a Marriage to Fail?
In the U.S., an estimated 39% of marriages end in divorce. While some couples reconcile during their divorce proceedings, others decide to part ways due to irreconcilable differences. Some of the main reasons for divorce include:
- Lack of commitment
- Financial instability
- Differences in opinion
- Domestic violence
- Interpersonal conflict
- Marrying too young
- Substance overuse
How Divorce Affects and Changes a Man
Irrespective of what causes a marriage to fall apart, the pain of a broken marriage is hard to endure. It often leads to isolation and depression. While we are often made to believe that men adjust to the new normal quickly and easily, it is not true. Most men, instead of being happy about their newly found freedom, feel lost and abandoned. They are unable to pick up the broken pieces of their lives and move ahead.
Here’s why a man suffers more than a woman both during and after their divorce is legally solemnized:
Men Often Skip the Grieving Part
Women are generally considered emotionally weak and vulnerable. They are given ample time to grieve and come to terms with the lost relationship. They are even advised to seek professional help from a therapist to cope with their grief and loss.
Men, on the other hand, are expected to “push through” the loss. They are expected to quickly brush everything off, get over their grief, and move ahead in life. They are never given enough time to come to terms with the loss of love and relationship.
They are not expected to cry and vent their emotions. Because of this, men actually never heal. All their emotions – anger, sadness, resentment – remain bottled up. This often leads to anxiety and depression and hampers their health, happiness, and overall quality of life.
Men Feel Lost and Alienated Due to Small Support Network
Men usually build a small support network around them. They are not emotionally as close to their extended families and friends as women. In fact, for all the emotional support in the world, they mostly depend on their wives. So when they go through a divorce, men often feel lost, alone, and alienated. They find it difficult to fully express and share their sorrow and unhappiness with people, including their parents, siblings, and long-time friends.
Women, on the other hand, have stronger social connections. They confide in their friends and family for emotional support. They are more likely to join support groups or pick up new hobbies to feel better. These social interactions help them heal and move on in their life in a much better way.
Men Have to Deal with the Blame
Divorce is always a two-way game. Both the husband and the wife are mostly responsible toward the end of the relationship. But it is always the man who has to bear the brunt. So even though a man might be a caring husband, he is often considered to be the reason behind the ‘failed’ marriage and divorce.
Due to this, their mental health takes a hit. Guilt, shame, and anxiety are often the most noted symptoms. If not attended to promptly, they can lead to stress and depression that can last for days to months to sometimes years.
Trouble Getting into New Relationships
Men feel that it’s because of their fault that the marriage didn’t work. But to overcome grief and loneliness, they often try to find solace in new relationships – much before they are ready to move on. Even if they are able to find love again, they always carry the emotional baggage of their failed relationship. They often find it difficult to emotionally connect with their new partner and are mostly unsure of their choices. The result? The relationship never grows beyond a certain point and is not emotionally satisfying either.
Divorced women, however, take the other route. They give themselves ample time to heal and grow before embarking on a new relationship. They do not rush into relationships like men and are happy in the company of their friends and family. This makes their future relationships successful and lasting.
Men Often Experience a Loss of Identity
Our family makes up a large part of who we are. They form a critical part of our lives. But when a divorce happens, men lose most of it – the spouse, the children, the familial bond, and the happiness. The custody of the children is often given to the mother, while the father only gets the visitation rights. The changing family dynamics are devastating and often take a toll on men’s mental and physical well-being. After all, empty nests make no one happy, and adjusting to a new living arrangement is not easy.
But that’s not all. After divorce, a man often finds it difficult to adjust to his surroundings too. His social life changes and staying in the same old company becomes difficult, especially if he has always been a part of the ‘couple’s group’. He may either have to make new friends or find solace in people who are either unmarried or divorced.
Men Have to Deal with the Pain of Losing Child Custody
Even though the man is willing to take care of the children, it is the mother who gets the custody, especially when the children are small. Getting separated from children can affect a man in more ways than one. He starts feeling worthless. Missing important milestones in his children’s lives can leave him anguished and resentful. This, in turn, can lead to a lot of health issues, including stress, anxiety, and depression.
Financial Implications Take a Toll
Sometimes, men may take forever to untangle themselves from their spouses, due to the financial implications and changing family dynamics. They have to financially support their ex-wives even after divorce, even if she is an independent working woman. If the children are involved in the divorce process, a substantial portion of a man’s income is allocated for their upkeep. Managing two households become extremely difficult for men and they are forced to adopt a lower standard of living. And this, in turn, affects every aspect of their life.
Health Always Takes a Backseat
It is commonly observed that men experience a sharp decline in health after divorce. This is often due to their poor lifestyle and less active routine. To escape loneliness, men often engross themselves in work. Some even resort to poor eating habits as well as smoking and drinking to overcome sadness. This leads to aggravated health problems, like:
- Divorced men are more likely to suffer from cancer and heart diseases.
- Due to poor eating habits, divorced men are more likely to experience extreme changes in their health and weight.
- Divorced men often undergo severe emotional turmoil. They may feel angry at one time and sad or depressed the next.
- They also suffer from regret, loneliness, disappointment, denial, and guilt. Such strong emotions often take a toll on their mental health.
- Men undergoing and even after their divorce are more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia (inability to sleep).
- Due to physical and emotional health issues, their immune system gets weakened. They are more likely to suffer from colds and flu than others.
- Even the mortality rate for divorced men is significantly higher than that of married men.
While it would be wrong to say that divorce changes every man in the same way, the emotional and psychological effects of divorce cannot be undermined. Knowing how to handle the stress that divorce brings along can help you stay positive. It can help you avoid depression, anxiety, and other illnesses and diseases.
Tips for Relieving Stress During and After Divorce
While divorce may seem like the end of the world, it isn’t. There’s always hope for new possibilities and a fresh start. All you need is some time and a concentrated effort to move ahead in life.
While men may feel too depressed after divorce, they must take comfort in knowing that there’s always a possibility of rebuilding their life. Here are some steps that can help:
Give Yourself Some Time and Space
Divorce is the loss of the relationship and you have a right to grieve it. Men, you don’t have to man up for everything in life. So, take your time to overcome your loss. Heal at your own pace and move on in life only after you feel comfortable.
Focus on Your Diet and Health
Stress takes a toll on your mind, body, and soul. Eating a healthy diet can help you recuperate and rejuvenate. Foods that are rich in omega fatty acids can help you fight stress, anxiety, and depression. So, drop your unhealthy eating habits and make way for nutrient-dense fruits and greens.
Add Plenty of Exercise to Your Routine
Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that can help you cope with stress and anxiety. It uplifts your mood, energizes your body, and calms your senses. Exercise helps you feel better, sleep better, and live better.
Socialize with Friends and Family
When depressed, being around people would be the last thing you’d like to do. But it’s the best thing you can do to feel better. Not only would you be able to vent your feelings but your friends and family can help you add a new perspective to your life. So, instead of isolating yourself, go out and socialize with your loved ones. You would feel a lot better.
Seek Professional Help
When going through a divorce, consulting a professional counselor is the best thing you can do for yourself. Professionally trained and highly experienced, divorce counselors can help you overcome stress, anxiety, and depression. By analyzing your marriage and divorce, they can arm you with coping skills to help you quickly get over your divorce and move ahead in life.
Need Help with Your Divorce? Connect with Heath Baker Law for A Free Consultation!
The process of divorce becomes easy if you have experts by your side. At Heath Baker Law, we know the nuances of both contested and uncontested divorce. Our experienced team of lawyers works to protect your rights so that you can make legally informed choices and proceed through your divorce with complete dignity. We provide practical, friendly advice and do everything in our power to make sure your divorce does not take a toll on your health and happiness.
Get in touch with us for a free initial consultation! We have a proven track record of success and can help you make your way through separation and divorce into a new life.