The vast majority of people who have been through a divorce will probably tell you it was the most stressful event in their lifetime so far and possibly the most expensive. Those two factors combined are enough to make even the strongest of individuals buckle and lose their way. As a man who has been through a divorce (and now with a plethora of friends in the same boat) maybe some suggestions on how to move forward after the fact could be useful.
Join The Club
This step is about realizing that you are far from alone. In the USA 39% of marriages are expected to end in divorce, with the average age of the couple involved being around 30. Across the pond, in the UK the statistics are slightly higher with a 42% divorce rate and the most common age range for men getting divorced is 45 to 49. With numbers this high clearly you are not alone, in fact with figures this huge it does not make sense to brood on why, when, and how it all went wrong as clearly, it goes wrong for masses of people all the time. So try to accept that you are now in what is a very large club filled with millions of people from every walk of life, they have not ground to a halt and neither should you. Look forward to new adventures and try to avoid looking over your shoulder.
Children Are A Blessing
Many divorcees have children from the marriage years. Primary custody will often go to one parent perhaps leaving the other worried that they will lose the love and closeness of their children. This can lead to depression, stress, and poor decisions. Making arrangements to support the kids both financially and with workable face to face time is hugely rewarding and is likely to be extremely beneficial, both to their and your emotional welfare after divorce. Just because marriage has failed does not in any way mean you are no longer the father of your children. Be prepared to make sacrifices and focus on getting the right compromise in place that ensures children continue to have a relationship with and the support of both parents. Get the details agreed in writing and work it into your life, you will not regret it and your children will likely surprise you with their resilience and love.
Focus On The Basic Building Blocks
OK, so hopefully you have accepted where you are at and (where applicable) have a workable agreement regarding the children. Now the next stage can be a lot like leaving your parent`s home for the first time. Depending on your specific circumstances some of these suggestions may be more relevant than others. Some common blocks that form the basic pyramid to support you going forward are:
Accommodation: In the short term you may have to go to a cheaper rented property, move back to your parents or stay with a good friend whilst you regain a little of your balance (both mentally and financially speaking). With the financials, do the numbers properly, write them down and be honest with yourself about what you can afford to do or not to do. Once you have got the basics of shelter, food, and work in a place you should allow yourself a little time to take a breath and move on when you are ready.
Moving To Your Own Place: Try to avoid using short term debt to shore up the situation if possible as this may cause a lot more worry via financial difficulties down the road. If there was a matrimonial owned home involved look into the options of any share you are entitled to via suitable legal advice. Many divorcees are able to access funds tied up in the equity of the marital home quite quickly through a transfer of equity mortgage whereby one partner buys out the other. Alternatively, if there is enough equity and income on both sides the home could be sold and both parties secure their own accommodation.
Income: Whether needed or desired, a new job may be just the ticket to give you an income boost and a fresh start, which could also help you establish your own pad – if renting or buying. If there are no children involved you may decide to choose a completely different part of the country to live in and explore, whilst trying out a new career path at the same time.
Support & Doing Something You Love
Whilst we have looked at plenty of practical steps there are a couple of areas that might seem obvious but should remain a focus for you to forge onwards. Friends and family alike can be really supportive as both a crutch and (just as importantly) a distraction. Once through a divorce, you are likely to have found out who your best friends and closest family really are from the existing circles. However new friends can be a blessing simply by meeting you on your new life journey, with no prior history to dwell on. Remember here that support is a two-way street and sometimes helping others through their life challenges can help you put yours behind you.
Finally, get into something you love doing. Now we are not talking about hitting the bar until the early hours every weekend or eating masses of Chinese take-out, this is about regularly participating in at least one activity you have done in the past, do anyway or want to try – that makes you feel better during and after doing it. In the writer’s case, it was playing squash, this is relatively cheap and superb for stress release, also you don`t have time to think about anything else when you are running around a small concrete box chasing a tiny ball. Your escape need not be physically demanding; Fishing, Cooking (from scratch!), Joining a Pool / Darts team, Bowling the list goes on for you to explore and enjoy.
This content is brought to you by Marcus Ledgent.