Divorces bring about a variety of negative emotions, from anger to sadness to anxiety to bitterness. Even if you were the one who initiated the divorce, it is not uncommon to feel uneasy and even scared about the future.
Divorce is a challenging time for all involved, but men often have it worse than women. That is because women naturally look for support after dealing with a crisis. They are not afraid to vent to friends and family. They are not ashamed to seek therapy to help them process their feelings.
Men, on the other hand, are not used to seeking support and validation from others. They may spend time with their friends often, but they do not often discuss topics such as emotions and feelings. They are at a disadvantage in other ways, as well. Studies show that divorced men have higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and mortality than women.
So now that they are going through a divorce, what do they do? How do they proceed? How do they handle the changes in their physical, mental, emotional, and financial health?
Divorce counseling is a good option. This type of counseling can help men process their emotions. While women tend to express emotions of sadness, men are more likely to express feelings of anger. With the feeling of anger, however, are often underlying feelings that men are less comfortable expressing, such as guilt, loss, and sadness. By recognizing these emotions, men can better understand their role in the failure of their marriage.
How to Make the Most of Divorce Counseling
Men need to realize that divorce is a transitional period. While things will be tough for a while, they can be better in the future. Counseling can help get over a divorce or improve parenting skills. Here are some things to keep in mind throughout the process:
- Find the right fit. Not all counselors are created alike. It is important to find a counselor that you feel comfortable with. After all, you will be sharing personal information with this person. Look for signs of a supportive, caring, and non-judgmental environment. Give it some time to develop a connection.
- Engage in visualization. Visualizing a calm, relaxing place can help your brain relax. Staying calm can help your brain better use the tools you will learn during counseling. Too much worry or anxiety can impede your progress, so consider meditation before your counseling session to quiet your mind.
- Use the right tools. Your counselor can help you relieve stress and calm your mind. Ask about the tools you can use outside of your therapy session to keep you from dwelling on problems. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, talk therapy, meditation, and journaling are just some of the tools you can use to retrain your brain and find solutions to the problems you are experiencing.
- But do not skip the grieving process. Many men jump right into another relationship after a divorce without giving themselves time to grieve and think about their feelings. Many believe that real men do not cry, but you need to give yourself time to express your feelings and mourn your loss. And yes, divorce is a loss just like the death of a loved one. It is a highly emotional event, so do not skip the all-important grieving process.
- Think about your goals. Why do you want to go to counseling? What do you hope to get out of it? Is there a chance of reconciliation? Are you trying to move on and transition from married life to single life? Are you in need of co-parenting skills? Thinking about your goals will keep you on track. Your therapist will give you good advice for healing after a marriage ends. Stick with it and you will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Find yourself. Men often lose their identity in a divorce because their sense of self is so tied up in their marriage. So on top of dealing with the stress of a divorcep, many men have to spend time figuring out who they are now that they are alone. Unlike women, men do not usually engage in group activities, so they may have no outlets outside of their relationships. They typically see themselves as half of a partnership, so in the event of a divorce, they suddenly find themselves alone. They do not know who they are without their spouse, so they have to learn to find themselves.
- Stay active. Exercise is known to improve your mind and boost your mood. So instead of moping on the couch, get up and get moving. Physical activity releases endorphins like serotonin, which serves as a natural antidepressant to improve mood and keep you calm.
- Breathe. Feeling stressed? All you need to do is breathe. Before going into a therapy session or dealing with some other stressful situation, just take several deep breaths. Deep breathing decreases your heart rate and blood pressure, calming your mind and body.
Seek Legal Help
Counseling can be helpful for those who struggle with their emotions. It can be especially helpful for men going through a divorce. They can figure out what they want to be different in the future, particularly when it comes to relationships.
Need help with post-divorce life? Count on Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler to guide you through the process and help you end your marriage with ease. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (954) 398-5712.