There is a myth perpetuated by certain circles that men have it easy when it comes to divorce, or at the very least, better than their female partner.
But there are stages of divorce for a man, and they just don’t wake up one day after their marriage ends and be happy. It’s also a long and winding road.
The myth is based on the belief that men can handle trials better than women. They make more money and a condescending undertone that men are just filthy bastards who can’t stick to one sexual partner. Or, at least, that is the perception.
The truth is, a lot of men go through the same emotional stages of divorce just as hard as women.
The Pre-divorce stage
It’s almost unheard of that a happy couple go through a divorce. Prior to the divorce, there are a couple of stages of divorce for a man or woman to cover – the pair will fight a lot, maybe do a trial separation, or simply ignore each other. There are cases where they start looking for new partners while they are in a loveless marriage.
In this turbulent time, a lot of men turn to substance abuse to get over their problems. Obviously, this only makes things worse.
Both genders are also susceptible to infidelity during this stage. Once the divorce papers are served, it marks the beginning of the real journey.
Let’s understand the stages of divorce for a man.
1. The denial stage
Studies show that it’s more likely that a woman initiates a divorce than a man. Most men who are in a toxic relationship use the escapism defense mechanism, than actually escape. Hence, it’s difficult to discuss matters with men about their failing marriage.
Life after divorce is not easy for everyone; some accept it better than others.
Once divorce papers are served, their world comes crashing down, and they would revert further into substance abuse or other defense mechanisms. More often than not, it makes things worse.
The shock of reality falling over their heads will make them reject it even more.
2. Pain and sorrow
Some experts consider this is one of the first stages of divorce for a man.
Short of going completely mental, there is nothing drugs, alcohol, and cheap women can do to escape reality.
Pain sets in and the way a person reacts to it ranges from ignoring the problem, shutting down completely, going ballistic, and everything else in between.
If your partner tends to act violently, leave the house and take the children with you. Men and divorce emotional stages can get nasty.
You never know what someone might do when they are in pain.
3. Anger or bargaining
During the pain and desperation stage, all sorts of negative thoughts come to mind. They would lash out at friends, family, and inanimate objects. Some men would prostrate themselves and beg for forgiveness.
That is why a man going through a divorce becomes unpredictable. The pain of divorce for men depends on their attachment to their partner, children, and their shattered ego.
If the relationship has gotten to this point, it means irreconcilable differences happen a lot like a vicious circle. Most women are willing to forgive a man if they apologize for their mistakes.
But most women won’t do it if this is the nth time it has happened.
4. Depression and loneliness
This is one of the worst stages of divorce for a man.
Once the divorce is complete, they are left to their own devices. They will have a lot of time thinking about what has gone wrong. It is especially true if they genuinely love their children and lost custody of them.
It shatters their ego and self-esteem. It usually results in an unhealthy lifestyle. This is the turning point of a man’s divorce journey. They either find a way to become a better person from here or end up a total mess.
This is the decisive step of all the stages of divorce for a man. They either stay here and self-destruct, or move on.
In all the stages of grief after divorce, the depression stage is the longest. This is where it’s essential to know how to move on after a divorce as a man. The problem is, there is no silver bullet in how to overcome a divorce.
Getting over a divorce for a man depends on individual circumstances.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid destructive behavior and indulge in constructive ones. That is the best way on how to cope with divorce as a man.
Also watch: 7 Most Common Reasons for Divorce
5. Rebuilding or destroying their lives
The longer they stay on the previous stage, the more damage they do to their health, career, and future in general.
Some menspend the rest of their lives in the previous stage and commit suicide.
Some end up as negative personas and ruin all their other relationships, and eventually, their own lives. Those that turn to substance abuse get worse until they end up sick, dead, or in jail.
But a lot of men “get their shit together” and willfully start over.
Somestart dating right away, regardless of how shallow it is, their ego would not let them stay down. They would subconsciously target attractive young women for trophies.
Workaholic men will be more obsessive when it comes to their job.
They would rely on career advancements to boost up their self-esteem. Eventually, they settle in their new routine and start all over again. If the big question is, how long does it take for a man to get over a divorce, there’s no clear cut answer.
So long as it takes to get to the next stage after this because there are a lot who never do.
6. Acceptance and moving on
Those men who are able to rebuild their lives, learn to leave the past behind. Some of them find love again or spend their days looking after their children. It takes a while to get there, but some do complete the stages of divorce for a man.
Some self-destructive individuals fail, but most don’t. They accept their fate and live with it.
What becomes of men after a divorce
We can’t honestly say, some learn from their mistakes, while others spend the rest of their lives paying for it.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.