Men are usually better equipped to get through a divorce than women -- except for one thing.
Two thirds of men earn more than their women, so financially they are typically in a stronger position. Men usually have more business experience, so managing the legal process can be easier for them as well. However, there is one area of weakness for men, it's one they don't see coming, and it can drown them -- the emotional toll of divorce.
Divorce has 3 key components: legal, financial, and emotional. And the hardest one for men is the emotional part.
Two years ago Jared started marriage counseling with me. He came individually while he and his wife worked in couples counseling with another counselor. Neither of us knew it at the time, but our work was building a life raft for Jared to get in, and some times cling to, when he fell (or was pushed) overboard and his life fell apart.
Four months into our counseling, Jared discovered that his wife was having an affair. He decided to get a divorce.
Jared was in a much better position to go through the divorce than his wife. His job in IT gave him an income that was three times what she made, and as a manager he had experience in negotiations and legal matters which helped greatly during the divorce process. What he wasn't expecting, or prepared for, were the emotions that came, and how overwhelming and debilitating they would become.
Anger, hatred, betrayal, loss, sorrow, hurt, and loneliness were some of them.
These emotions along with having to deal with his wife, attorneys, the court system, co-parenting, and building a new life nearly drowned Jared. It became an incredible struggle every day just for him to keep up with his job responsibilities. The weeks the kids were at their mother's and he was alone at home he said the loneliness was suffocating.
Divorce can be like the perfect storm. It doesn't matter how big your ship is, or how knowledgeable of a sailor you are, when the waves are 30 feet tall you're going to be fighting for survival.
Fortunately for Jared, he already had a life raft ready because he had started counseling before he was overboard. Jared and I worked together for a number of months to help him navigate the rough seas of getting separated and divorce.
He returned to counseling after the divorce was finalized this summer when he realized he hadn't finished working through the emotional baggage the divorce left behind. He was now having problems in his new relationship which he could see was mostly due to the baggage.
Men, take some divorce advice from Jared, deal with the emotional toll divorce will have on you. Jared's a tough guy, he drives a Ford truck and hunts, but he's also a smart guy, and he got help dealing with the emotions he couldn't handle himself. Get a divorce counselor to be your partner, to keep you afloat, to help you make the best decisions, to give you a map to follow, and to help you find new land. Like Jared, you'll be glad you did.
What have you seen be the hardest part of divorce for men?
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