Just because women are typically more emotional than men doesn’t mean divorce is harder on them. In fact, it’s been found that divorce is harder on men for man y reasons. Throw in the fact that 69 percent of women in the United States initiate divorce, compared to 31 percent of men, and it’s not surprising that men have a harder time recovering from a divorce .
Take a look at six reasons why divor ce is harder on men than women, and what to do about it.
1.They Skip the Grieving Period
Divorce is one of the most stressful life experiences, second only to experiencing a death. You’re losing someone that was a major part of your life, and whether you’re the one who initiated the divorce or not, grief is only natural. Not only are you experiencing the loss of someone you once loved, but you’re also experiencing a deviat ion from your life plan, your dreams and goals, and where you envisioned your life to go.
To properly work through your divorce, there must be a grieving period. Instead of coming to terms with their emotions, men are more likely to bottle their feelings up, resulting in anxiety and depression. They try to do everything themselves, whereas women are more comfortable going to friends and family to seek advice and comfort them when they’re feeling low. The lack of communication and refusal to grieve is the main reason why divorce is harder on men than women.
2. They Lose Their Identity
As a married man, you had an identity as a husband to a wife, and whether you realized it or not, that identity became a huge part of who you were. On a day to day basis, whether you were chatting with colleagues, filling out forms, or celebrating a marriage milestone, your marital status was one of the key ways you identified yourself and how people came to see you.
When you go through a divorce, your identity as a husband is lost. You’re no longer one-half of a partnership, and it can hurt your confidence to lose such a big part of what made you whole. Women, in general, are more likely to join activities and be part of social groups when they’re married, so it’s easier for them to find a sense of belonging and identity during a divorce. Most men need to take it upon themselves to get involved in a new activity or organization to grow a new sense of identity.
3. They’re Health Goes Downhill
Compared to women, men are exceedingly prone to experiencing health problems during and after a divorce. From depression and anxiety to insomnia and weight fluctuations, divorce can have major health effects on men. The stress of finances, insecurity, dating, and identity loss makes men more susceptible to heart disease and stroke. Men are also more likely to turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with their emotions rather than seeking out therapy or conversations with friends and loved ones.
4. They Feel a Loss of Masculinity
After a divorce, you may feel a loss of masculinity and wonder why you couldn’t change things or make your marriage right. It’s common to develop feelings of shame and humiliation as well as a loss of power. A lack of confidence is typical for men during and after divorce as they feel a sense of failure. Society teaches us that we’re supposed to get married and raise a family, and there’s a sense of inadequacy when a marriage ends in divorce. The family dynamic is disrupted, and sometimes men feel like the family doesn’t need him for stability or protection.
5. They’re More Likely to Rush Into a New Relationship
After ending a marriage it’s tough to be alone, and men are more likely to jump into a relationship before they’re ready. Since men are less open with their feelings and emotions than women, they’re more likely to suppress their emotions about the divorce and move on too soon. In doing this, they never really come to terms with their feelings about the divorce and their ex. This can result in confusion as well as troubled relationships down the road.
Women, on the other hand, are more likely to take their time to grieve and deal with their emotions thoroughly. They’re less likely to rush into a new relationship when they’re not ready, which makes their new relationships stronger when they do take that step.
6. They’re Less Likely to Live With Their Children
After a divorce, children typically stay with the mother. It doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but it seems to be an unspoken rule. Even if you share child care and see your children every weekend or a few days during the week, it’s a significant c hange from seeing them every day. You may not realize how much you miss your children until you don’t come home to them every day. An empty home is harder to cope with, whereas the woman will feel more fulfilled and distracted having the children there.
There’s a strong sense of missing out and wondering what’s going on with your children if you’re not there in the house with them. It can be hard to come to terms with having to call your children to ask what they’ve been up to or schedule times to see them, and since the children often stay with the mother, men feel the hit.
Divorce is Harder on Men: What to Do
Breaking up is hard on both parties, but for all the reasons listed above, divorce is harder on men. So, what can you do to make it an easier process? While it’s never going to be completely stress-free, there are certain things you can do to minimize the negative effects of divorce. Socializing and talking about how you’re feeling is essential. You need to grieve, and whether you talk to a therapist or join a support group, the weight of the divorce will lift more easily with communication.
It’s also important to join more activities or organizations. Especially if you didn’t do many social things before your divorce, you should start filling your calendar rather than spending all your time alone. It not only helps to take your mind off your divorce and feeling lonely, but it also gives you a sense of purpose and identity.
Focus on seeing and talking to your kids as much as you can. Try not to concentrate on the fact that you don’t see them as often, and put your energy into planning fun things to do with them when you do see them and calling them to catch up on the days when you don’t see them. It will mean a lot to them and make it easier for you to cope with missing them.
If you’re taking your divorce hard, try taking these steps to ease the pain. There’s no secret to an easy divorce, but implementing these strategies can take the sting off, at least a bit more than before.
Have you experienced any of the hardships we talked about in this article? Let us know how you’re dealing with it in the comment section.
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