Their friends think that a divorced guy should immediately get out there and sample as many different women as they possibly can, and that this will automatically help them get over their divorce.
In more than a decade of work with men over 40, I’ve yet to meet one who can immediately jump from being what he thought was happily married into the fabled life of a playboy.
(Not even the men who cheated on their wives can easily do this.)
Men over 40 need time to shift from being a family man to being a single dad – because you can’t just erase the lifestyle you’ve had for years.
It’s not like flipping a switch. It’s more of a four-step process.
To help you out, here are 4 steps for embracing life after divorce, for men over 40:
Step 1: Give yourself time to figure everything out.
This is the time when you make all the big adjustments and learn to live on your own again.
You’ll rediscover how to do the things that your wife used to do – like laundry, paying the bills, making doctor appointments and cooking.
The other big adjustment you make during this period is figuring out how to be a single dad and coparent.
For most men, they miss their kids terribly. It isn’t easy to live without the sounds of your children at home every day or to be the only parent when they’re with you.
But you will figure out a way to make the basics of your new life work for you. Just give it some time.
Step 2: Give dating a preliminary try
At some point, you’ll try dating.
I call this first round of dating “preliminary dating” because you’re not really sure what type of woman you want.
Maybe you want someone to listen to you and provide emotional support, maybe you want someone to make your ex jealous, or maybe you just want someone you can have sex with – and because you’re still hurting from your divorce, you’re not ready to enter into a relationship.
Most men use this period of preliminary dating to get in shape and update their wardrobe a bit, as the remember how to put their best foot forward in the dating world.
Step 3: Get over the painful experience of divorce
Divorce is one of the most hellish experiences anyone can have.
It takes time and effort to heal from the end of your marriage.
Most men don’t complete putting their grief and the emotional turmoil of divorce behind them until after they’ve started dating.
There’s something to say for knowing you’re still desirable that goes a long way toward rebuilding your confidence.
Step 4: Moving on with your life
Once you’ve put away all (or at least most) of the baggage from your marriage, you’ll be able to start really living your life.
You’ll have figured out how to take care of you and your kids, you’ve already experimented with dating, and you’re ready to start experimenting with relationships, or become that fabled playboy.
Whatever you choose to do with your life at this point, you’re choosing because you’re ready for it. Not because it’s someone else’s idea of what you should be doing.
Putting your former life behind you takes work, but it’s effort well invested.
Everyone will see you as one of those guys who knows how to make life after divorce for men over 40 really work.
And you know what? You’ll see yourself that way too.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce coach who helps men just like you who want support in figuring out what their life after divorce as a man over 40 will be like. You can join her newsletter group for free advice or schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation with Karen directly in her Time Trade calendar.