Divorce is Different for Men
In our latest in a series of posts from guest bloggers, Tara Eisenhard has written about her experiences as a Divorce Coach and the impact of divorce upon men and how it can differ from the experience by women.
As a Divorce Coach, I help struggling singles overcome shame and frustration, so they can find peace and create a life they love. In my years of experience, I’ve seen one thing very clearly: divorce is different for men.
For one thing, statistically speaking, most men aren’t the ones who file for divorce. In the US, it’s estimated that 80% of divorces are initiated by women, thus men are left behind at the start.
After finding themselves single, men can struggle with their identity. As a culture, we strongly associate men with being husbands, fathers, and providers. We see them as Head Of The Household. But when that household shifts and splinters, what’s left?
To further complicate the issue, many men feel terribly alone throughout the process. Men are supposed to be ‘strong.’ Men aren’t supposed to cry. While women can easily find support over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, men rarely share their emotional anguish while enjoying a beer and ballgame with other men.
I often see these issues as my clients confront them. My first client was a man. My best (so far) client was a man. For men, coaching is often a great fit because it’s a goal-oriented process that doesn’t demand too much emotional confrontation. Through coaching, men make positive progress. And progress feels good.
In addition to issues stemming from isolation and identity, I also help men overcome the shame that comes with divorce. We explore ways to reframe the situation and embrace the optimistic opportunities that present themselves along the way. I help men take care of themselves, find support, become better parents, and deal with difficult exes.
Here’s an example:
David was a devoted husband and father Caden (8) and Gabi (5). He and his wife, Carolyn, had been together for 15 years. And, while their relationship wasn’t perfect, he assumed their marriage was stable. They lived in a nice home in a good neighborhood. They were known in their community. David worked hard to provide for his family, and he felt good about his life.
David was blindsided when Carolyn told him she wanted a divorce. He attempted to make things right, but Carolyn was adamant that she was ready to end their marriage. She’d even talked to an attorney.
When David called me, he was distraught. Nobody in his family was divorced, and he simply didn’t believe it would ever be an option in his marriage.
“Our family is a team,” he told me during our first session. “That’s what we’ve always told the kids. What am I supposed to do now?”
David was confused about how his life would move forward. He was anxious about maintaining relationships with his children. And he felt incredibly sad that partner had rejected him.
Together, we worked through the issues. We explored David strengths, his goals, and his options.
We discussed ways for him to remain an active and engaged father, even if his children didn’t always sleep in the same house with him. We examined his interests and determined a plan for him to develop his talents as well as get into better physical shape through biking. We collaborated to develop an effect communication strategy to help him manage his rapidly declining relationship with Carolyn.
The structure we created helped David manage a difficult chapter in his life. As time passed, David found his way to a new kind of normal. Despite the divorce, he deepened his relationships with his children. He found fulfillment riding his bike, working on new projects, and spending time with new friends. After a few months, even his relationship with Carolyn improved.
Coaching shined a light in the darkness and gave David the knowledge, encouragement, and plan he needed to evolve, not dissolve, through the changes.
For those who feel lost and alone, working with a coach can be a transformative experience. Coaching creates clarity, builds confidence, and teaches men to take appropriate control over their lives.
Tara Eisenhard is a coach, author, and educator who believes divorce is about evolution, not dissolution. She’s the author of The D-Word: Divorce Through a Child’s Eyes, and the blog Relative Evolutions. Learn more at TaraEisenhard.com
Paradigm Family Law have a team of experienced lawyers to help guide you through the process of divorce, just waiting to hear from you.
If you would like more details on this or want to discuss your family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact James, Frank, Evelyn or Paul. Paradigm Family Law offers a free initial consultation and our fixed fee solutions cover financial proceedings from start to finish. You can call us on 0845 6020422 or email us to [email protected].