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Divorce Recovery For Men

Updated on October 31, 2010

Divorce recovery for men is not something that is talk about enough in our society. This is a terrible shame because men are emotional creatures just as women are and yet there is so little support for men from other men, from the state, and especially from women.

Perhaps the biggest problem however is the men themselves refuse to seek help so often out of fear of being labelled as weak or a coward. This is one of the worst insults men feel when it comes to any crisis in life as we have been taught over an again to be strong, to solve problems, to be the one who 'deals with it'.

So what can be done to help men recover form divorce and what Challenges do they have to face and overcome?

Challenges For Men After Divorce

The challenges both men and women face after a divorce are quite extreme. Some problems are common to both men and women, and others are unique to each gender. I wanted to go through some of the biggest problems men face from divorce in this section before we move on to ways of moving on and overcoming them.

Financial Issues

This is probably the first thing most people think of when they hear about the struggles of men after a bad divorce. I listed it first not because it is the most important though, in fact it is probably the LEAST important but it is the MOST focuses on by others and by men themselves. Perhaps this is because money is such a quantifiable thing, so it is easy to quantify the pain of alimony and child support and unfair division of assets and so on.

However, financial pain is real and affects you deeper emotionally than you might think and acts as a lens for hatred, anger and depression. Many guys who had very good incomes end up living in poverty due to legal fees and the associated costs of divorce as mentioned before. Financial problems are a catalyst for a deep and destructive bitterness in men.

Emotional Distress

Men are complicated and emotional creatures just as women are despite the stereotype of the stoic strong male. Time and again those stereotypes turn out to be very wrong and are s symptom of men burying their feelings deep inside causing a huge amount of psychological problems such as addiction, alcoholism, abuse, misogyny and so forth.

The emotions men will feel in post divorce life are like a roller coaster

  • Denial and delusion
  • Anger, resentment, rage and bitterness
  • Sadness, depression, suicidal thoughts
  • Desperation, low self esteem

It is important to actually go through these emotions, the problems are when they are repressed, or if men get stuck in one set of emotional turmoil and cannot find their way out.

These all stem from a sense of grief at losing their emotional support, their family and feeling worthless and emasculated and often hated by their ex wife and the word around them.


This is another special set of awfulness that is as tortuous to some men as to magnify their emotional problems a hundred fold. While society tends to treat the women as the better parent no matter what men will always lose their connection to their children who need a father in their lives.

Men whose hearts have been torn apart from their lovers divorce decree only have one place they feel loved and needed ... their children. Yet time and time again men are forced to become more and more distant form their children but not because they choose this situation.

Fathers need their children just as children need their fathers. A horrible and bitter divorce hurts the family in such ways as to damage everyone involved. Women tend to statistically get the family leaving men with another loss to grieve just as bad as the loss of their wife.

Self Worth

I like to put this separate from the emotional turmoil because it is the root cause of such things. Men with low self worth are in the most danger of destructive behaviour including violence, clinical depression and of course suicide. In fact, divorced men as three times more likely to take their own lives than married men.

Men who feel confident about who they are and their place in society are happier men and more able to cope with life’s problems. As we have seen though, the loss of so many parts of what makes a man who he is becomes devastating to this sense of self worth.

A man's identity is usually tied to his marriage, his family, and his place ion society. Having these stripped away in an instant is as distressing as you can get for the psyche of a man. The ego becomes a wounded beast craving attention and sustenance.

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Divorce Recovery Information for Guys

So with all these challenges how does one go about divorce recovery for men?

To me the only way to get through this tough period is to attack the problem from two angles: How to deal with the daily struggles effectively and How to solve the underlying psychological issues that cause the surface turmoil.

Dealing with Daily Problems

The battle to truly be free of the negative influence of a divorce on your life can take some time, so dealing with the struggles that are thrown at you every day still needs to be understood. This is like a band aid measure while the true poisoned wound heals underneath.

There are so many things to discuss here that I will just put a few tips that will help you cope for a number of important problems:

Children Are Not Pawns

I do not care how much of a bitch your wife is being by trying to manipulate children to get a batter deal, or to hurt you, or whatever. NEVER sink to this level yourself, children are the innocent victims in all of this and adult mind games hurt their developing world views and emotional stability.

Children crave security and stability; you need to remember that your suffering must be put aside to give your children this as much as possible. As life goes on, if you do the right thing by your children now the rewards as a father are much greater.

Short term, being a good father will give you a sense of accomplishment and identity that will help you deep inside when you may not even realise it.

Financial Strain

Have a budget and stick to it! Sit down and really work out how to cut back on needless spending. Your quality of life will have to take a step down and you must accept that to be able to truly be happy with your current financial state.

Work out what you absolutely need in your life to survive and be healthy and make sure you can afford that first, and then work out a few things that you need to stay sane - try to make these social things that include other people as social contact is very important.

Lastly, remember that money is not the be all and end all of life. Money comes and goes and is not required for happiness even though it seems like ti does. Your life has changed and your financial situation has too, you must adapt to the situation, it cannot adapt back to you.

Dealing With the Ex Wife

This is one of the toughest things you can do. Keeping an even temper when talking to the one you once loved is hard. Sometimes you might want them back so badly you feel like grovelling at their feet for another chance, other times you want to yell at them and be angry and full of rage.

One important thing to always have in your mind is that you cannot change this person who was your partner. You cannot change their mind, you cannot change the way they act, and you cannot influence anything ... the more you try the more it will cause problems as well.

The only person who you can control in this tumultuous period of upheaval is yourself and that is it. You CAN control yourself and your actions even if you cannot control the way you feel. There may be a time later for reconciliation to some degree, there may be a time where you can get a "sorry" out of them, but it is not now.

Remember to interact in a businesslike fashion and keep your cool because you can control your actions, lashing out is your fault not theirs. Having this self control has additional benefits in having a greater level of self respect which is important as discussed in the following section.

Solving the Psychological Struggle

There is a lot to this part that cannot be fully explained in this hub, but divorce recovery for men can come down to a few facts about your underlying psychological confusion.

In essence what has happened is your self of who you are, your identity as a man, a father, a lover, a husband, a friend ... all of these things are stripped away from you. Your internal picture of who you are is shattered and you don’t know how to be anymore. Your sense of self worth plummets and the cycle of destructive emotions continues until you finally readjust and create a new mental picture of your place in the world.

This can take a long time, too long for many and it can leave horrible scars along the way as well.

One way to help this along is to realise how destructive trying to boost your self esteem is and instead how important it is to cultivate a strong sense of self respect. Activities like taking a new woman too quickly to feel desired again, or getting into fights to feel powerful and so forth are bad long term because they are short lived highs. This is the danger ...

Self respect is a much harder and a longer term project. It requires that you like who you are no matter what the circumstances, it places the power of happiness in your own hands which cannot be ripped away by other people or circumstance.

More Advice for Men Needing Divorce Recovery Help

I hope this has given some help and insight to mean struggling with divorced life. There is much more to understand at a deeper and broader level however. This is why I have written an e-book for men after divorce called (terribly imaginatively :P ) Men After Divorce.

Should you need something to really help you get through this tough phase from someone who has been through the same situation then please click below to visit my website as I believe I may be able to help you achieve a measure of peace, happiness and regained power than we all so desperately crave in times of crisis such as divorce.

Click Here For a Complete Divorce Recovery Guide For Men


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    • MenAfterDivorce profile image

      MenAfterDivorce 3 years ago from Sydney

      This is a difficult period James and I fully agree - the level of help for men is terrible. The impact on children, and on men as fathers through this process is heartbreaking and very little support exists.

      The good news is that the internet is some of our best option for reaching out at least for emotional support - financial support however is extremely limiting.

      Focus on improving your mental and emotional health as much as you can though and your financial health will follow - iof you do not look after yourself it all becomes worse on the money end as well.

      It is not easy, but I really hope you can see some light at the end of the tunnel and recognise that this is only a phase and it will end.

    • profile image

      James 3 years ago

      My problem is that I'm lumped back with my parents and am stuck in a box bedroom with all of my stuff scattered around, and I can't afford to rent anywhere whilst I'm still helping out with my ex-wife's bills.

      There really should be more help out there, especially when the likes of myself have kids to consider.

    • MenAfterDivorce profile image

      MenAfterDivorce 6 years ago from Sydney

      You just voiced the unspoken request of thousands upon thousands of men after divorce there Ricky.

      Let me know if there is anything I can do here, or check out the divorce recovery guide I linked to :)

    • profile image

      Ricky Jaggars 7 years ago