At one time, your marriage was probably the highlight of your life — and now, if you’re experiencing marital troubles. In fact, it’s likely the worst part of your day.
This is a sad but true fact for men considering a divorce, or men going through one. Contrary to common belief, men going through a divorce feel just as hurt as women do when they go through it. The process is long, arduous, and painful for everyone involved.
Even if you feel like you can’t stand being married to your wife for even one day longer, divorce comes with a lot of emotional turmoil and financial stress. This process has an impact on everyone around you. If you are going through a divorce or are considering dissolving your marriage, consider these 10 dos and don’ts for you to consider.
10 Dos and Don’ts for Men Going Through a Divorce
Even if you feel like you can’t stand being married to your wife for even one day longer, there is much emotional turmoil and financial stress that come with getting a divorce. This process has an impact on everyone around you. Here are some things you need to consider.
1. DO: Endeavor to resolve things mutually.
You will save yourself, your ex, and your wallet a lot of hurt if you can endeavor to resolve things mutually, peacefully, and with respect for each other. This means going through mediation and deciding civilly, outside of the courtroom, how to work out your divorce. The two of you will to terms on how to split assets, including property, houses, cars, debt, and the custody of your children. If this step doesn’t work, then you will be moved into the trial process. This will be undoubtedly be longer, more expensive, and more contentious.
2. DON’T: Do it alone.
Men going through a divorce should never have to go through it alone. Divorce is mentally exhausting, and now is the time to lean on your friends and family. It’s important to have a trusted friend with whom you can share your deepest thoughts with regarding your divorce. Going out or having friends and family over for a meal or a movie night will also provide a great distraction from the stress you are going through.
3. DO: Expect to feel hurt.
Whether it was you or your spouse who filed for divorce, the process is emotionally taxing. You will be forced to live with one foot in the past and spend months, if not years, reliving all of the mistakes that happened during the course of your relationship. This difficult time could add up more than half of your life! Marriage is never easy to walk away from, even if you thought you were ready. Your feelings will be hurt, possibly for a long time. It is important to grieve your relationship, your failures, their failures, and your frustrations, and accept that soon your life will be very different.
4. DON’T: Think you’ll be the only one hurting.
Divorce is not a situation that affects just the two parties involved. It affects you, your spouse, your families, your mutual friends, and especially your children. Expect all parties to have difficulty remaining neutral. This is, after all, a dissolution of their family as well. To avoid losing friends, family, and the trust of your children, it’s important to be as respectful as you can be about the process. Keep the lines of communication with your children open, no matter what.
5. DO: Know that getting a divorce takes a long time.
How long does a divorce take? This depends largely on your personal circumstances. For example, an uncontested divorce typically takes six months to one year — and that’s when things are going well. You can imagine how much longer this takes when one party does not want to get divorced or if they are feeling hurt, vengeful, or afraid. Angry spouses can use stalling tactics such as changing court dates, raising custody issues, and insisting financial situations be addressed. This can take years to clear up in the courts before you are granted a divorce. It’s an arduous process if you cannot keep things peaceful and respectful and successfully complete mediation.
6. DON’T: Use your children as pawns.
Unless you have legitimate reasons to believe that your ex will put your children in harm’s way, it is highly distasteful to use your children as pawns during the divorce process. Not only is this petty, but it is also harmful to your child’s emotional wellbeing. Endeavor to get shared custody, keep the lines of communication open, and make this transition as easy as possible for your children.
7. DO: Write a letter.
A great tool for both letting go and getting your bearings is writing a letter. Write down everything you are feeling. Write about the good times, the bad, your mistakes, her mistakes, and where it all went wrong. Accept responsibility for your actions and acknowledge the reasons why your relationship is no longer salvageable. Express what you hope for your future and for your children. Many find this process cathartic in nature and it is widely used to gain closure. You may choose to send the letter to your soon-to-be ex, or keep it for yourself.
8: DON’T: Put your feelings on your children.
It may be difficult to conceal how much you dislike your ex, but try. When there are children involved, it is especially important to keep a level head and not say disparaging things about their mother in front of them. Your children are likely already being negatively impacted by your divorce and will not want to hear the sordid details about why the marriage is ending. Furthermore, these are issues that young children should not be exposed to. When possible, you and your ex should put your children first and maintain a united parenting structure.
9. DO: Expect to lose your identity.
Loss of sense of self is very common in divorce. Much of your life was wrapped up in your marriage and who you were as a couple. Take this time now to remember who you are as an individual. Spend some time doing the things you like to do and reignite the passion you once had for your friends, family, and hobbies.
10. DON’T: Forget about your Marriage.
Your marriage was a huge part of your life and was once extremely important to you. Perhaps you created children together, started a business together, or helped each other achieve your dreams in other ways. Even though you are now looking to dissolve your union, your marriage was something that shaped you both, for better or worse. If your marriage was good, remember the good times and learn from them. If it was mostly bad, take it as a teaching tool for knowing exactly what you require from a relationship in the future. Your desires, expectations, and wants are largely based on your experience in your marriage.
About the Author: Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support, and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy, happy marriages.