The Impact of Divorce on Men
Through the whole divorce process, coming to terms with how the divorce will dramatically impact one’s life, identity, finances, assets, and children can be emotionally difficult. These changes are hard for anyone to navigate, but for men, the task can prove to be even more challenging because of the pressure to be stoic and unaffected. Being “manly” is a hard, and often harmful, front to maintain while dealing with the stress of divorce.
Our culture’s code of masculinity encourages men’s stoic and seemingly unaffected stance in times of emotional hardship. This, paired with guilt and the loss of identity as a family or father, makes grieving properly difficult for men. Fear of judgment inhibits them from seeking help and can often lead to choosing unhealthy coping mechanisms that can impact their health and safety.
Men and Stress
The effects of divorce on one’s self worth can be devastating; how men deal with this can make or break post-divorce life. According to the Men’s Health Journal, men are 39% more likely than women to fall into harmful patterns of substance abuse, drinking, and smoking after divorce. Additionally, men have higher rates of hypertension, heart disease, and other stress-related diseases. Because of the seriousness of these effects, the ability to be proactive about how to deal with the stress of divorce can be life changing.
Asking For Help
The cultural assumptions around masculinity and co-parenting after a divorce may not be true, but convincing yourself or a man you are close to of this is hard. A strong support system from friends and family can make the transition from married life to divorced life easier. Getting help from a therapist also can be a healthy choice while going through the divorce process. Again, our assumptions about therapy can make this sort of help seem shameful. Looking into men’s group therapy can be a great, less scary step for men looking for support after divorce.
Not Sure Where To Start?
The process of starting to open up and heal can be difficult to initiate, but luckily there are plenty of resources for men going through divorce. Divorce attorneys will have recommendations for therapists, support groups, or even meditation or mindfulness education. Following the professional advice of your divorce attorney can ease the process of adjusting to a new lifestyle.
Source: Men’s Health Journal, Influence of Divorce on Men’s Health, Volume 10, Issue 1 Nov 10, 2010