There is no greater emotional pain that can be inflicted upon a
man than the announcement by his wife that she wants a divorce.
Even if both parties have "seen it coming" for some time, and
the announcement really comes as no big surprise, the actual
announcement is quite similar to a bomb exploding in your face.
Such an announcement is "out-in-the-open" admission that the
person you held hands with so many years ago, and promised to
love - honor - and obey - to be supportive of, to stand beside
in good times and bad -through sickness and health - for richer
or poorer - no longer wants you or your love. You have been
rejected, and such a blow to a man's emotional equilibrium is
just about the most damaging illness you'll ever have to face in
Be that as it may, it is of the utmost importance that when such
a pain descends upon you, you realize that you can recover -
that you will recover - and that this is in reality, an
opportunity for you to attain real and total happiness according
to your own standards.
It will be hard, in fact, it will probably be just about the
most difficult thing you've ever done in your life, but you must
immediately and absolutely turn the page on that chapter of your
life. You must quickly and absolutely sever all ties with that
person - the one that has inflicted this pain upon you.
Get them out of your house. Get rid of all things that remind
you of them. Change your phone number. If necessary, move into a
new home or apartment. You must put an immediate end to your
marriage. Once a woman has announced to you that she no longer
wants you for a husband, you have to start thinking about your
It's going to be similar to losing a vital part of your body,
but you must let go, and the sooner you do let go - completely
end that chapter of your life - the sooner you'll be able to set
about rebuilding your life and ultimately finding the happiness
Between the time that your wife announces the end of the
marriage, and the time when you'll find new happiness, you're
going to hurt like you've never dreamed possible. You're going
to go through a number of mental and emotional phases - all of
which are perfectly normal and necessary in order for you to
"heal yourself" of this great hurt. You'll never be able to
enjoy love or attain true happiness until you have discharged
the past from your system, and healed yourself.
Think of all you're going through as a wound similar to a gash
on your arm or leg. It's going to hurt, and you're going to
bleed, but with the proper care and time, you will recover. You
must understand that divorce is quite common - you're not alone
nor going through anything that a lot of other people haven't
experienced - and that in order to "get well," you must
understand the nature of the wound, what to do in order to heal
it, and as much about the pre-requisites to total recovery as
At first, you'll probably deny that this is happening to you.
You may pretend that it's just a bad dream or some sort of bad
joke she's pulling on you. This type of thinking is normal, but
it only prolongs the agony of your hurt. You must face the
reality of the situation - accept the fact that your marriage is
over - and get on with the task of finding happiness for
You'll probably lay awake in bed at night and review "every
minute" of your marriage - thinking that in this or that
circumstance, you could've been a better husband, and from there
beg for another chance. You'll want to accept full
responsibility - at least a big share of the guilt - for the
problems that caused the break-up of your marriage. These
thoughts are only natural, but they cannot put your marriage
back together, and any attempts to "try one more time," at this
stage will only cause you greater pain. You must accept the fact
that your marriage is over, and busy your mind and yourself,
with activities that don't allow you time to "rehash" the events
of the past. Don't allow yourself to dwell upon guilt feelings.
It takes two people to make a marriage, and marriages come apart
because of the differences in the two people involved. No one is
perfect, and happiness in life is a matter of learning from our
mistakes. Accept your own short-comings; vow that you will
profit from what you've experienced; and then get on with your
life. You'll never be comfortable with yourself, nor find real
happiness so long as you're dragging "guilt feelings from your
past around with you.
Somewhere along the way, you'll become so angry with your
ex-wife - the world - and even God, that you'll be beyond
yourself in your ability to express it all. It will be necessary
that you express this anger - to get it all out of your system -
before you'll be able to "feel good" around women again.
Anger is the process of projecting onto another person, your own
sense of hurt and frustration. It's such a volatile and
all-consuming emotion that unless you give it an outlet, it will
literally eat you alive. The thing to do is to understand your
anger, and manage it in a manner that will benefit you - in such
a way that your expression of it is constructive to your
regaining your emotional health.
A few things you might think about doing: Write out for your
kids, the complete story of your marriage, how you met, your
dreams and hopes, the good and the bad, the sacrifices each of
you made, and how -beyond either of your capabilities to control
- the marriage just came to an end... Write out in precise
detail what is making you angry, and why. Put it in letter form
to your ex-wife and really tell her everything that has been,
and is bothering you... Let her know that you are a person with
wants and needs too... Stand in front of a mirror and "rehearse"
an angry confrontation with your ex-wife and/or anyone else
involved. Make an appointment with your priest or minister; or
find a friend who'll listen as you explain the frustration, hurt
and futility you feel.
Regardless of how you do it, it is an absolute necessity that
you let it all out. This anger and bitterness you feel is like a
poison that you must cleanse from your soul. The sooner you get
rid of it, the sooner you'll be able to get on with your life -
regain your mental health and position yourself for happiness.
Finally, there'll come a day when you'll no longer be bothered
by thoughts of your ex-wife. It won't even bother you when you
see her with another man, and that'll be the day when you've
finally accepted the fact that you marriage to her is really
over. You will have truly let go of her, and will be ready for a
new try at real happiness.
Your progress from being rejected by your wife, to acceptance of
the fact that you don't want her if she doesn't want you, and
positioning yourself for a second chance, won't come easily. In
fact, it will take you about two and a half to three years. You
must understand the damage you've sustained, the healing that's
required, and the time it's going to take to get well. Too
often, men still in the recovery stages of a divorce, jump into
a new marriage before they're ready. And when the "bomb
explodes" the second time, the trauma is more painful and the
recovery even harder than the first time.
It's imperative that you "cut yourself off" from you wife as
quickly as possible. It's just as imperative that you
immediately set about analyzing what it is you want out of life,
what you need to do in order to get what it is you want, and
then take the necessary steps towards achieving whatever it is
First, you have to KNOW what it is you want. Then, you have to
know what you HAVE TO DO in order to get what it is you want.
And finally, you have to START MOVING in the necessary direction
to end up with what you want. In other words, if you don't know
what you want, nor how to get it, you'll be without purpose or
direction in life.
This is ''goal-setting," and unless you set goals for yourself,
you'll just be allowing yourself to be pushed through life by
whatever happens next. Use this "terrible time in your life" as
a time for introspection and a new start. think about yourself,
and start taking the "baby-steps" necessary to making you proud
of yourself. Stop mourning the loss of your marriage; pick
yourself up, and determine within yourself that you're on your
way to bigger and better things - total happiness and love!
Rebuilding your self-esteem - your ego and how good you feel
about yourself - is one of the first steps you must take. There
are many ways to move in this direction...
You might buy a new suit; paint the inside of your home; take a
trip to someplace you've always wanted to visit; go to see a
special movie or any number of other things. The important thing
is that you do something that makes you feel good.
From there, comes the introspection of where you are, and what
you're going to have to do in order to survive. Plan it all out
on paper, and then do what you have to do in order to make it
come out as you've planned.
Most important - don't be afraid of making mistakes or of
"falling down" once or twice along the way. It's just as if you
were eighteen year old again, and just beginning a life on your
own. It's like when a baby learns to walk - he's going to
stumble or fall a couple of times, but by continuing to try, he
eventually not only walks but finds he can run as well. So it is
in rebuilding your life after a divorce.
It'll be hard, but the sooner you start dating, the easier it'll
be for you to regain your emotional well being. At first, even
though you have to force yourself, you should just go out and
associate with other people. See for yourself that other people
don't "immediately recognize you" as a divorced man - a loser,
or a failure.
In the course of recovering from a painful divorce, it's not
unusual for a man to go through a number of brief sexual
affairs. With some, there's a flurry of sexual activity -
followed by periods of celibacy - and maybe a "special steady"
for awhile. This kind of activity is really sometimes necessary,
and definitely a part of the healing process as some men rebuild
Almost all people who have gone through a divorce, go through at
least one transitional partner during their healing process.
This is a person that seems to be the answer to all your dreams
- they're the "special girlfriends" that ease a divorced man
through the trauma - they're good for them; they listen to them;
they're sensitive to their needs but never demanding; and they
fulfill their sexual hunger. It's great to "find and use" such a
transitional partner, but be aware of your own situation and
their usefulness to you, and don't allow yourself to end up
marrying them. You may care about them a great deal, and feel
sure that they're the answer to all your dreams - that they have
all the love you could ever ask for - but don't marry them -
what you're feeling is only the peace of an oasis in the middle
of a desert. And don't feel badly when eventually you break off
such a relationship. Some people are born to nurture others back
to good health, and seeing you on your feet again, and on your
way to real happiness is the only reward these people really
want. Then too, who's to say that you won't someday be a
transitional partner for someone who's hurting just as you once
Finally, there's the problems of boredom and loneliness. In
order to eliminate boredom and loneliness from your life, you
must first understand that both of these problems are
self-induced. That is, if you are bored or lonely, it's because
you are allowing yourself to be...
Boredom is generally a form of emotional anethesia brought about
by the person who is bored, because he doesn't want to
experience his own feelings. It's also a form of mental laziness
which keeps people from changing and growing.
The bottom line is simply that people are accountable for their
own boredom, and - if you feel bored, then you had better
remember that boredom breeds even more boredom.
Whenever you think of yourself as being bored, get involved in
something. Don't allow yourself to sit and do nothing. Write
letters to relatives or friends. Clean your garage or visit a
neighbor. Get out and spruce up your yard or take a drive and
see what changes have taken place in and around the area in
which you live. Join up with a Singles social club and attend
some of their functions; enroll in a self-improvement course or
two; visit a trade show and find out about some of the new
products being offered for sale.
To alleviate boredom, you have to do something that might
stimulate your interest. Thus, if you don't want to do anything
other than what you've been doing - if you're waiting for a bolt
of lightning to spark your interest in something - you'll
continue to be bored.
Loneliness is basically a different form of boredom. A person
feels lonely when they can't think of anything they want to do,
and thus, they begin feeling sorry for themselves because no one
cares about them.
In order not to be lonely, you have to start thinking of things
you might enjoy doing with other people, and then invite other
people to join you in doing those kinds of things. Really, it's
just as simple as that - take a trip to one of your shopping
malls with a friend and do some window-shopping; meet a friend
for lunch or dinner at a new restaurant; or invite a friend to
join you to see a move, a play, or even a concert.
So long as you shut yourself away from other people, and do not
get out into the world amongst people, you will be lonely. To be
happy, enjoy life, and know love, you have to make yourself
available to other people.
To recover from the trauma of divorce, you have to understand
the injury - apply the proper medicine - allow enough time for
the healing process to be completed - and all the while, be
positive that tomorrow will be a happier day for you. It's a
kind of recovery therapy that only you can apply and control -
the results are up to you.