Life after divorce for men can be challenging. Recover faster with these tips.
Getting divorced can feel like a blessing to some men and a curse to others. No matter which camp you currently belong to, life after divorce for men can come with a number of challenges and opportunities to grow.
In this two-part series, I will layout some of the challenges and opportunities many men face in life after a difficult divorce. While most of my blog are divorced dads, the information in both articles will put just about any person who’s gone through a recent divorce on the fast track to moving on.
As mentioned, there are two parts to this series: Part one highlights the, “challenges” for men after divorce. While part two focuses on opportunities. By “challenges” I mean areas that require adjusting. These include pre-divorce routines and patterns that now need to change. Whereas, “opportunities” are new areas of growth.
It’s my hope that both of these articles help you build a great life after divorce. Now on to part one…
1. Parenting Schedules
If you have kids with your ex, you will have to adjust to the concept of the co-parenting or parallel parenting. What makes co-parenting different than parallel parenting is that both parents continue to communicate on an ongoing basis in relation to the children. This means that they can continue to make joint decisions on issues such as education, extra-curricular activities, religion, etc.
In parallel parenting, less communication happens between parents and they pretty much raise their children independently, and don’t seek input or permission from the other parent. I personally think this form of parenting is the only way to go if you are dealing with an ex-wife who is either narcissistic or has borderline personality disorder.
In this day in age, a growing number of dads are equally involved in raising their children. So, adjusting to not being there for your children as you once were can be by far the hardest part of life after divorce for men.
You will miss your kids terribly, and a big adjustment comes in the form of learning how to stay actively involved in their lives despite having a shared parenting schedule.
Here are a few tips to help adjust to your parenting schedule:
- Phone calls: create a routine for calling your children on the days you are not with them
- Volunteer: volunteer at their schools if you can. It gives you a chance to stay involved with their school and get to know other parents and teachers
- Plan your schedule: Non-parenting days can be time to learn a new skill, take a class, hit the gym or meet up with other divorced dads- plan your days to keep from feeling blue
2. Self Doubt
Many of us develop a sense of self from our work and family lives. We are raised thinking that it’s our job to protect, provide and take care of our family. And we take it seriously.
Divorce often calls in to question our abilities as men, husbands and fathers. This can be especially true if your ex cheated on you or blames you for the breakdown. Whatever the reason, it’s important to realize that all people, both men and women are not perfect. Your identity is a lot more than the way you saw yourself or your role in the marriage.
A successful life after divorce for men depends on how willing you are to accept that life is constantly changing and that we can change with it. I realize this may sound like transcendental hubbub, but it’s much healthier than getting stuck, angry and depressed because you choose to see yourself as a failure.
Here are some tips for healing self-doubt:
- Meditation: I think it’s key to cultivating self-compassion
- Daily wins: Recall things you did well, that made you feel strong and confident each day. Holding the door for someone, completing a task – no matter how small, over time it can help shift doubt into confidence
- Learn a new skill: learning a new skill can also help reinforce that you are competent and maybe even great at something you’ve always wanted to try
3. Financial Drain
Divorce is an expensive process. Lawyers, legal fees, alimony and child support can all add up quickly, hurting your wallet, big time.
Life after divorce for men usually involves some sort of calibration of the finances. Budgeting, saving and making sure you live within your means can really help you put your life back together.
No matter how bullshit child support laws may be in your state, you still have to pay in order to avoid being a deadbeat dad. This can cause all kinds of issues with custody down the line. So, best to do what you need in order to keep that from happening.
Here are a few ways to help:
- Start a budget: reduce outgoing cash flow where you can. There are cheaper alternatives to cable and mobile phone service that save you thousands of dollars each year. Look into these.
- Start a side hustle: You can look into making some extra money on the side without giving up your day job
- Live within your means: One great way to keep more of what you earn is to rely on less stuff to keep you happy. These guys have a lot of interesting ways of incorporating a minimalist lifestyle
This concludes part one on my series on life after divorce for men. In part two of life after divorce for men, I’ll highlight some of the opportunities – and ways to take advantage of -this new found freedom.