Life After Divorce – Introduction
Life after a divorce is not an easy road.
Anyone who has struggled with the pain and ramifications of divorce knows that.
The question is, what can you do right now to help rebuild your life after divorce?
What can you do today to ensure that you do not plunge into despair?
If you are wondering how to deal with your new life after the divorce is in progress or is final, read on.
As you know, divorce can present new challenges, family, health, finances, and career.
You need a simple guide to navigate life after divorce.
The Top 10 Commandments to Rebuild Your Life After Divorce
1. Hold on to your Job
The first commandment to continue your life after divorce is to hold on to your job!
You will need this job for many reasons.
You need your job for money, of course.
And if you are the one that will be paying child support, then you need more money than ever.
Going from an income that supports one family to an income that supports two families is going to be a challenge.
But there are other reasons why you need to hold on to your job that go beyond money.
You need your job so you can rest your head from your divorce stress.
People going through a divorce might make the mistake of focusing on their marital problems and taking their eyes off their job.
This loss of attention to your job is not a criticism if you are doing that right now.
It is tough to think of anything else other than your divorce.
However, losing focus on your job is a huge mistake.
You might already have given 10 to 20 or even 30 years of your life towards your career.
Do not sabotage your career because of the divorce.
Instead, use your job for therapy and self-esteem, which I will elaborate on now:
2. Use your Job as Therapy
You ask, how do I hold onto my job?
I am going crazy having conversations with myself because my soon to be ex does not want to talk!
The lawyers are involved, they are draining my account, I have to go to court, I cannot concentrate!
You are going to have to get very disciplined, which leads you to the second commandment to save your life after divorce.
Instead of going to a shrink, let the job be your shrink.
Go into your office on fire!
Throw yourself so deep into your work, that your colleagues and boss will love the new you.
Using your job as therapy, having something to think about deeply, instead of your divorce is going to help you.
You will be setting yourself up for a much better life after divorce if you still have your career intact.
Getting more aggressive and focused at work is counter-intuitive.
We have all seen the movies and shows of workers discussing their divorce situation at work and resolving their problems in one way or another.
Life after divorce for a man is not a movie and does not play like one with a script.
Real-life after divorce will be pure hell if you don’t hang on to your job.
So, if you are in the middle of a divorce, or you know a co-worker or friend who is, make sure that they sober up and get laser-focused on their job or business.
You can help save your own or their life after divorce with this adjustment.
Pour your soul into your job during the hours that you are there.
Use all that time to take a respite from your divorce.
3. Do Not Speak about Your Divorce in the Office!
Do not bring your divorce woes into the office.
Once more – Stop talking with your boss and colleagues about your divorce.
As soon as you bring your divorce story into the office, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Your boss and colleagues might view you as incapable of performing your job, which spells trouble, no matter how great you have been in their eyes in the past.
Keep your personal life personal.
Even if you are very close with your office mates, do not let them in on what is going on with your divorce.
You must save your career is a very tough but vital commandment to keep.
You are going to be reeling from lawyer demands to provide net-worth statements and respond to actions taken by your soon to be ex-spouse.
Without your career, your life after divorce is going to be much more difficult than if you can stay employed.
Unemployment is not and should never be an option.
Focus On Your Work
You must hold onto your job.
Your office mates might be friendly with you, but mainly, they are at work to make money, not to be your shrink.
You have to very careful not to bring up your divorce.
They should know nothing and not notice any change in your demeanor or work ethic.
If your boss or colleagues notice a big change, a seismic change, you are setting yourself up for a lower salary or even worse, losing your position or career.
Do not do it.
Do not succumb to the temptation to speak with everyone in the office about what you are going through.
Revealing your inner torment will do nothing to help you create a good or better life after divorce.
So, who do you talk to? What do you do when your mind is full of your divorce problems, and you need to speak about them?
You know that as the divorce lawyers are draining your bank accounts, every single contact with them will just peel off another three to four hundred dollars.
Therefore, the third commandment is to stop speaking to your office and business partners about your divorce.
You have to hold on to your job.
If you want to have any type of good life after divorce, stay employed.
Don’t cry to anyone at work.
Just like removing the junk food from your life is the first step to saving your physical life, so too is avoiding gossip, especially about your divorce going to save your career.
You cannot afford to sabotage your career by letting your work colleagues, employees, and/or bosses know what is happening in your personal life.
4. Speak to Family or Clergy
So, who are you going to speak to when you are not at work?
We have already established that during this major time of stress, you have to do better at your job than ever before.
To hold onto your job and to provide actual stress relief from the divorce proceedings.
When the emotions of divorce are overwhelming you, you have to speak to someone close, who cares about you.
As noted above, work is not the place to speak about the pangs of divorce that you are experiencing.
You need to find emotional support from either friends or family or even clergy.
As long as you do not work with or for them, pour your heart out.
Speak About Your Feelings – Not Your Ex
The purpose here is not to insult your soon to be ex because you can bet your life on the fact that every word you say will make it’s way back to your spouse.
Besides, every negative word will find its way back to you in the form of karma, someone doing the same to you.
Getting thoughts and feelings off of your chest is merely to speak about your feelings.
Talking to family and friends does not mean talking trash about your husband or wife.
Especially if you have children, know that they will eventually know everything you say.
Do you want to trash your kid’s mother or father?
So, talk about your feelings, great, but do not use this time as an opportunity to spread rumors around that will hurt your spouse or children.
And speaking to family, friends, or clergy does not mean rehashing or creating narratives or sharing ugly stories that are between you and your spouse.
Your marriage was private and should stay private.
You will regret every word that you say which exposes your private marriage to public consumption, so, don’t do it.
5. Get Legal Advice from your Lawyer Only
So far, we have said that you must avoid speaking about your divorce at work.
And that you should speak about your feelings with family, friends, or clergy outside of work.
And that this is not an invitation to trash talk your spouse or events that happened in your marriage.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when going through a divorce is this:
They think that everyone is an excellent resource for legal advice.
Although you just shelled out 10k for a retainer, and that your lawyer is charging you 400 or more an hour, you still ignore his or her counsel?
Every single time that you share your lawyer’s counsel with others and get their non-legal opinion, you are wasting your time and money.
You are ensuring that your life after divorce can be harrowing by ignoring your lawyer’s directions.
Don’t Get Legal Advice From Friends & Strangers
Stop getting legal advice from your mom, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, the carpenter, the paperboy, or the bus driver.
Stop telling your story to anyone who will listen.
You are paying big money for a lawyer.
Unfortunately, this is how divorces play out in the courts if you do not have a pre-nuptial agreement.
Listen to your lawyer regarding all legal advice.
Stop getting legal advice from your pastor, priest, electrician, or rabbi.
If you do not trust your lawyer, then get another lawyer.
Otherwise, you will achieve your best peace of mind will be when you take your lawyer’s counsel.
This trust in your lawyer will free you up from having to ask every tom, dick, or harry their legal opinion, giving your greater peace of mind and less stress.
That is what you are paying your lawyer for, less stress and the most effective legal counsel.
If you do not listen to your lawyer’s counsel, you are jeopardizing your life after divorce.
Your lawyer is there to help you achieve the healthiest life after divorce possible.
With your children, financially, mentally, and physically.
Your legal counsel will be much more effective if you are an excellent client.
A good client is going to keep all the ten life after divorce commandments that we speak about in this article.
You, as a client, are in a massive battle.
If your spouse hired a lawyer and brought a divorce action against you, the knives are out.
His or her lawyer is ready to fillet and bake you like an Atlantic Salmon on the grill.
Slice you up any way that they want.
And therefore, the next commandment is particularly important:
6. Don’t Take Legal Advice from your spouse!
You might think that you don’t need to be reminded not to take legal counsel from your adversary.
But, that is not how the world works.
The world, people around you will say, how can you do this or that to your husband or wife?
Where is your heart?
How can you follow your lawyer’s advice against the mother or father of your children?
And soon, your future ex might be saying the same thing to you.
The last person on earth to take advice from is the one you are fighting in court.
You Are In The Fight Of Your Life
If you think that you are not in the fight of your life, you are sorely mistaken.
And all the cards are stacked against you.
The decisions of the court can affect you for the rest of your life.
No, the decisions made in court by this one judge will affect you for the rest of your life after divorce.
- The finances that you will have to live within your life after divorce
- The relationship with your children
- Your living arrangements
- Your 401k, your assets, and where you can live
Many ruinous judgments can come out of your divorce proceedings.
Yes, your spouse or friends of your spouse will do everything possible to guilt you into not following your lawyer’s advice.
That is a big mistake.
Your spouse, who is your adversary in court, has their interest in mind, not yours, unfortunately.
Not taking legal advice from your soon to be ex will be a very difficult commandment to follow, especially if you still love your spouse.
However, please do not make the mistake of taking your court adversary’s counsel over your lawyer’s.
In such a case, a good lawyer will drop you as a client.
Yes, because if you are not a good client, if you do not listen to your lawyer’s advice, he or she is wasting their time and spending your money.
Listening to your spouse, who is your adversary in court, will help to ruin the quality of your life after the divorce proceedings are filed away in the county archives.
If the point is still not clear, for legal counsel, you must only listen to your lawyer and no one else.
Your best chance for a good life after divorce is to take legal advice from your lawyer only.
7. Get More Sleep
If you follow the above rules for a better life after divorce, you will be able to get more sleep.
Of course, the typical picture of a person embroiled in divorce is going to be one of drinking too much or overeating ice cream.
Both of those pastimes are not healthy habits.
Getting more sleep is counterintuitive as the gut reaction is to be up all night worrying and talking to whoever will listen.
But, if you adhere to common sense and practical advice in this article, you will be able to get more sleep.
Because you are doing better at your job, so you do not have to worry that you are going to get canned, because you are:
- Using your job as your therapy, so at least 8 hours a day, you immerse yourself in work, and not in your divorce woes.
- Focused on your work and are not spending time in the office, vomiting out more and more information about your failed marriage.
- Going to be a rock star at your job and will at least feel secure in the work aspect of your life.
As a result, you automatically have less stress than if you have to face both a failed marriage and a career at the same time!
By taking your legal advice from your divorce lawyer only, you have freed yourself from countless discussions with anyone and everyone who will listen to your story.
- Their advice is not worth anything.
- They do not know the legal system.
- Your divorce settlement is a legal issue.
Reduce Your Stress
By letting your lawyer carry the weight here, you are free of that mental burden of figuring out what to do, which is your lawyer’s job, to protect your life after divorce, and this is why you can start to focus on improving your habits for better health.
- Get to sleep as much as possible.
- More sleep will help you think as clearly as possible.
- Better sleep will help your body and mind in every way, in ways that we don’t even know about yet.
You can be sure though, if you are getting more sleep now, you will only be better off.
Turn off the tv, turn off the computer, stop yapping with people all night, do yourself a big favor and get more sleep.
There is no reason to punish your mind and body with a lack of sleep because of your divorce.
8. Drink More Water, Eat Real Food
Instead of tea tolling and drowning your troubles in alcohol, drink more water.
Drinking more water is going to help you stay on the path of healthier habits.
Your body is 72% water, keep your body happy by drinking more water throughout the day.
You must avoid getting drunk and drooling all over town with your sad story of divorce.
Get Junk Food Out of Your Life
Processed foods will not help you.
This period of acute stress is not the time to stick your face into a Ben & Jerry’s pint of Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream.
Neither Ben or Jerry will help you in this situation.
They will only make your life worse.
Life after divorce as a fat man or woman is only going to complicate things.
Excess fat, overweight, obesity is not healthy for your mind or body.
Junk food will only lead to a compromised mind, body, and spirit.
Invest in your health by making wise choices in what you drink and eat.
Turn away from junk food and focus on eating real food.
The Solution is Real Food
Real food is going to lead to better health, both mentally and physically.
If you think you do not have to be stronger in mind and body for your life after divorce, you are in a dream world.
One day, after the divorce proceedings are said and done, you are going to wake up in a new world that looks like this:
- You’re out of your home, or your husband or wife is out of your home.
- And you are divorced.
- Most painful, you might not be living with your children.
- So, your entire life has changed.
- You will be subject to depression and suicidal ideation, especially if you are the one whose life looks most different than what it was before.
Especially for men after divorce, your life expectancy has just dropped precipitously, and you are prone to a host of mental and physical problems.
Divorced men have higher rates of mortality, substance abuse, depression, and lack of social support, according to a new article in the Journal of Men’s Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. ((https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-09/mali-hdd093013.php))
Your best path to a healthier life after divorce is to start acquiring healthier habits right now, today.
Do not wait, as soon as you can, meaning immediately, start to work on better habits for your health.
Go to sleep on time, try to get eight or more hours of sleep, drink a lot of water, up to a gallon a day, or at least half your weight in ounces, eat real food, and make sure you move and walk every day.
9. Start Lifting Weights
What does lifting weights have to do with a better life after divorce?
Yes, lifting weights is going to help you in many ways.
Find a competent personal trainer or gym and start lifting.
Lifting weights will help you to de-stress from the awful nightmare of divorce.
You need to be able to stay healthy in both your mind and body and lifting weights is one of the best methods to accomplish that goal.
Divorce and depression go hand in hand, especially for men.
Start Strength Training to Save Your Life
Men are nearly twice as more likely to suffer from depression after they break up with their spouse, according to a Canadian study released Tuesday.
Men and women whose marriages have dissolved have a higher risk of being depressed than people who remained with their spouses. However, the Statistics Canada study found that men who had divorced or separated were six times more likely to report an episode of depression compared with men who remained married. ((https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/05/23/after-divorce-men-twice-as-likely-to-experience-depression/848.html))
One of the best ways to tackle depression is to start lifting weights.
Read here to see how weightlifting helps to alleviate depression.
Especially compound moves like squats and deadlifts, they are potent antidotes to depression.
Improving your health habits, what you drink and eat, walking more, and lifting weights, is going to give you an additional dimension of health and strength.
You need to be mentally and physically healthier, now more than ever, to withstand the winds of war in divorce court.
The stronger your mind and body is, the better chance you have for a healthier life after divorce.
The Truth About Divorce – What Do Men Need to Know
10. Stay Close to Your Children
Last but not least, stay close to your children, which is not going to be as easy as it sounds, especially if you are the breadwinner of the family.
Whoever is home with the children daily, already has a closer relationship.
You cook for them, take care of them, clean them, chauffeur them to their school or after school activities.
But if you are the breadwinner, most of your day is consumed with commuting and life in the office.
Many times you might come home after your kids are asleep.
It is very critical for you to stay connected with your kids, especially if you are the primary breadwinner.
The Risk of Estrangement
If you think that you are not in jeopardy of becoming estranged from your children, think again:
Nine out of 10 children of separating or divorcing couples live most of the time with their mothers, so the controlling parent is likely to be the woman, and the estranged, undermined parent will be the man. It is not uncommon for mothers to be on the receiving end, where the children are living mostly with the father.
It is called “implacable hostility.” Some psychologists have written about “Parental Alienation Syndrome,” but the courts do not recognize that designation. The family law system conveniently overlooks the phenomenon of implacable hostility, so no official figures exist for the numbers of children it may affect.
In Psychology Today, Edward Kruk has written of 11-15% of the children of divorcing parents suffering the effects of implacable hostility. In the UK, where roughly 250,000 divorces occur every year, that estimate would equate to some 50,000-75,000 children every year. ((https://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/fatherhood/11342027/We-must-stop-turning-children-against-divorced-fathers.html))
As much as possible, stay closer to your children.
Get more involved, ironic as it is that it might take a divorce to get you moving closer to your kids.
Get home earlier from work, you are already doing a great job, so before the court kicks you out of your own house, get back home sooner, and do more things with your kids.
Spend more time with them, so when the ax falls, and you have to move out of your own home, your kids will still want to see you during visitation.
Life After Divorce – Final Thoughts
Is life better after divorce for a man?
No matter what, your life will be different after the divorce.
Probably the worst reality of life after divorce for a man is going to be separation from your children.
Joan Kelly, Ph.D., one of the foremost experts on children of divorce, defines an estranged relationship between a parent and child as a diminished, thinned out, and less meaningful bond. And, she says that 24% of children from divorced families are seeing a parent once a year, if at all.
In his research, Robert Emery Ph.D., Director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia, found that nonresidential fathers saw their children only four times per month following divorce. Also, about 20% of children had no contact at all with their fathers 2-3 years after a divorce. Other research concluded that many college-age students of divorced parents say that they would have liked more contact with their fathers during their adolescence. They would have liked to have been closer and wanted more time together. ((https://www.huffingtonpost.com/deborah-moskovitch/oprahs-most-memorable-gue_1_b_869497.html))
Focus On Your Children
If you are not yet divorced and still living in your home, this is the time to do everything you can to stay closer to your kids.
Spend time with them; make sure that they know you are there for them.
If you are following all the other commandments to improve your chances of a quality life after divorce, then you are:
- doing better at work,
- less stressed,
- listening to your legal counsel,
- have not smeared your spouse,
- maintain your dignity, and
- you are healthier.
So, you are going to look even better for your kids, mainly because you are avoiding depression and obesity, and you are calm.
What About Alienation or Estrangement
If you are already feeling the pangs of estrangement or alienation happening, then you are going to have to fight even harder.
You need to learn how to live with the nightmare of estrangement from your children and not give in to depression or suicidal thoughts.
For a more extensive treatment on how to fight depression and the nightmare of estrangement, please check out my book Zehhu: Crossing the Bridge from Depression to Life.
Never give up on your kids.
I hope that these ten commandments will help save your life after divorce.
If you follow them closely, you have a much better chance of living a better, healthier, and higher quality life after divorce.
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