Is Divorce Different For Men?
6 Tips Just For Men Dealing With Divorce
By TOM ROGAT
While getting through the emotions of divorce are unique to everyone, men usually have a different experience than women. In “For Better or for worse: Divorce Reconsidered,” authors Mavis Hetherington and John Kelly wrote that men tend to mourn later than women -- typically after the decision to divorce has been made.
This may be because, statistics show, more women initiate divorces in the United States. A recent study showed that about 25 percent of divorced men had no idea that their spouse was considering divorce. As a result, according to the book, men are often less prepared for the emotions associated with divorce, which can include depression, anxiety, guilt and anger.
Also during a divorce, men also tend to have some emotional experiences that differ from women. This can include a deep sense of loneliness.
In the U.S., it is often not culturally acceptable for men to openly express vulnerable emotions. According to Hetherington and Kelly’s book, many men only share such feelings with their wife, who is now no longer available. Also, men usually have less social support outside of marriage and are less likely to seek emotional help from family than women. A man’s feelings of loneliness can be exacerbated by the potential loss of friends shared with an ex-wife and, for fathers who lose custody, the loss of daily interaction with their children.
According to “Helping Families through Divorce: An Eclectic Approach,” a book by Ellen Bogolub, losing custody can also raise fears the children loving your ex more than you or the kids, potentially, forgetting their father altogether.
Many men find themselves having doubts about divorcing. One recent study found that men are likely to have affectionate feelings toward an ex-spouse and harbor hope for reconciliation, even when unrealistic, Hetherington and Kelly’s book shows. These feelings are normal and don’t necessarily mean that getting a divorce was a mistake.