For many men, life after divorce is daunting and sometimes downright scary. The despair, loneliness and pain are often just too much to bear after a dreadful break up. So, what to do now that you’re feeling lost, lonely and perhaps forgotten? Do you consider yourself damaged goods and wonder who will want you or are you just looking for a stopgap to fill up that empty space in your heart? And how are you going to get what you deserve in your divorce?
First off, it is best to hire a qualified family law lawyer who can guide you through the divorce process and keep your emotions (and your finances!) in check. You may even want to consider a “divorce support team,” which can consist of your lawyer, a therapist and even a nutritionist or personal trainer.
Some newly-divorced men, however, get caught making major mistakes during and right after their divorce. If you feel the need to leap into another marriage to relieve your anguish or just want play the field as a way to numb your feelings, here’s a few tips on how to avoid the pitfalls of life after divorce:
The Married Guy
Do you see yourself as a man who has to have a woman around all the time for companionship because you can’t stand to be alone? Or do you need a care giver? Admit it. You love to have a woman around who can make dinner, clean up after you, tend to the shopping and help take care of your kids. If yes, you may be vulnerable for getting into a second marriage right after your first divorce.
In fact, many men are so hungry for love after a divorce that they marry the first woman who shows interest in them without finding out enough about their future spouse. What are her goals? Does she share common interests? What’s her background? It takes time to really know a person and if you rush to the altar too quickly, you may wind up back where you started: in a divorce lawyer’s office.
Why Second Marriage?
Some men marry before the ink is even dry on their divorce papers. Unfortunately, this can lead to more pain and heartbreak when the second one ends. Why do so many second marriages end in failure?
Steven M. Cohn, PhD of the Portland Couples Counseling Center says the reason why second marriages fail is because many people remarry with the idea they have found a situation better than the one they had with their first spouse.
“However, if the underlying issues that resulted in divorce the first time have not been resolved, there is a great likelihood that the second marriage will also fail. For example, if communication was poor in the first marriage, it is likely to also be poor in the second marriage as well,” says Cohn.
Need a wedding wake-up call? According to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology inSpringfield,Miss., 67 percent of second and 74 percent of third marriages end in divorce.
Single Guy Syndrome
Now you’re a single guy, living free and feeling pretty feisty! And you think the dating scene is your oyster. Think again. Dating has probably changed since you were in high school or college, but the same old games are still in play.
For instance, you may find a woman you really like only to discover she’s married or she rejects you for a marriageable man. Then, you hang out in clubs and pick up more than a woman.
Unfortunately, the herpes virus is more prevalent among divorcees and even older widowed people, which makes casual sex even more dangerous. Unprotected sex also carries the risk of unwanted pregnancies. The last thing you need is child support payments for the next two decades. Or worse yet, you marry a pregnant woman you don’t love and wind up back in divorce court.
Although short-term sex boosters may bolster your sagging ego, they won’t bring any real satisfaction when you try to fill up that lonely space over and over again. So, ask yourself this question; Is random sex with strangers going to get your life back on track? Probably not.
This is the time to date responsibly. When you’ve had lots of dating experiences, then you may be ready to settle on one person to share your life.
Your Kids and The New Woman
Co parenting is tricky enough, but what about your children and your new dating life? If you introduce your children to the new woman in your life too quickly after your divorce, they may soundly reject her, which can lead to more troubles.
Many children keep the fantasy of their parents getting back together for a long time after a divorce and they need time to adjust to their new lifestyle. It’s really better to wait until the kids are ready and NOT when your new woman wants to meet them.
If she doesn’t go along with you on this one, then perhaps you need to rethink the relationship and ask yourself if your new woman wants what’s best for all parties or does she want to control the situation?
Know Thy Self!
It takes time to learn who you really are after a divorce, what your goals are and how to establish new priorities in your life.
This is a time of rediscovery, a journey of self-awareness and way to view a new you. To know thy self, many divorced men attend relationship seminars or read self-help books to help them change their lives. Also, a life coach may offer the necessary tools to reinvent yourself and find happiness after divorce.
So, relax and adjust to your new life. There’s no need to rush into the dating scene or get married. In fact, this period gives you the opportunity to re-examine your life, figure out what may have gone wrong with your last relationship and then create the life you’ve always wanted to live.
And to make sure your divorce is heading in the right direction too, remember to only hire a qualified family law attorney.
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