For divorced men, reality can be painful emotionally, physically, and financially. From just about any angle, divorce is simply an unpleasant experience. To rebuild from it, or from anything, the anger needs to subside, you need to find humor (whatever there is to be found), and you need to develop a renewed spirit.Becoming stagnant is a trap that leads to heartache.
Many men fall back into a lifestyle they had when they were younger—late-night partying and ill-advised romantic relationships. Instead, use the experience to get prepared for what’s next. Becoming stagnant is a trap that leads to heartache. But there is hope for life after divorce. Divorced men can reduce heartache and create growth. There are ways to rebuild your life and be a better parent. Here’s how.
Make time to grieve.
The shattered dreams, the broken vows, and the reality of starting over can cause a sense of hopelessness. Shoving those feelings down and not feeling them will cause further damage. Divorce may come with all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But men can experience a deep sense of personal failure. So find people you trust with whom you can share these emotions. That could be a pastor, a counselor, or a wise friend or small group. You have to address your grief or you will find yourself unstable.
Regain your individual identity.
Figure out who you are and the things that make life work well for you. It’s important to learn to respect yourself and feel worthy again. Hone the character traits and abilities you possess that have brought positive results and avoid repeating patterns that have hurt you. This enables us to better understand what we need in the next relationship. Most of all, learn to pray with sincerity and purpose. God has never left you and never will.
Build a network of friends.
Life after divorce doesn’t have to be lonely. Divorce will cause friction in some of your friendships, but gracefully accept it and retain your relationships with the friends who reach out to you. Carefully work to make new friends in similar situations with similar goals. It’s certainly expected to have an active and enjoyable social life, but craft it with great care.
Accumulating mass amounts of debt will make life much more miserable as you transition. Alimony and child support are going to force serious restructuring. Being bitter about it will only hurt the entire family—especially your children. They will feel like burdens, which is the last thing they need to feel. More than anything, they need lots of reassurance that their dad is still going to be there for them. It’s going to be painful, but make the hard decisions and necessary cuts.
Set goals and make a bucket list.
Starting over requires deciding what’s most important to you. Set daily, weekly, and annual goals, maybe to become a better version of the man you already are or a more faithful and wiser parent. Be a man who prepares himself for the best chance at happiness and success. Make a bucket list of what you wish to do with your new life. Try new things.
Sound off: What are some ways you have moved forward for you and your family after divorce?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How are you handling everything we’re going through?”