Divorce can be devastating.
It can turn your whole life upside down and completely change how you view your future. This isn’t really a secret, though. At the end of the day, a divorce is a loss, of your partner and your family life as you know it. So, whether you ended on good or bad terms, separating from a spouse is a process that will inevitably entail huge change and a certain amount of emotional turmoil.
Why is it, then, that when you go searching for support groups or advice books for people going through divorce, they are almost always aimed exclusively at women? Why is it that there are so few equivalent resources for men?
It seems pretty shocking that such important resources usually don’t extend to men, especially considering that the effects of divorce on mental and physical health have been proven to be worse for men than they are for women. However, this probably isn’t a coincidence. If men don’t feel they have a safe space in which to open up about their emotions, then chances are they will resort to repression. Clearly, this can be a very damaging thing.
Talking about how you feel offers you an outlet, and can help you start figuring out what to do about any difficult emotions you may be experiencing. This is so important if you want to begin the process of moving on and come out the other side a stronger, more resilient person.
But the reality is that men are all too often expected to tough things out on their own. And, even when something as world-shaking as a divorce occurs, social expectations make a lot of men feel as though they have to just “put up or shut up”.
Thankfully, there are spaces that are starting to open up for men going through periods in their lives that are as difficult as divorce, such as The Modern Man Club. Facebook groups and online forums like this one give men a place in which to have those all-important conversations, without fear of judgement.
Not only do these spaces help men get the support that they need, the opportunity for introspection that they afford can also help them to better understand themselves and their needs more generally. So, for those who are lucky enough to come across such resources, they will very often find that they can get through the tough times with improved confidence and greater self-assurance.
Beyond just helping the individual – which is a worthy cause in and of itself – men having their own spaces to open up about divorce will have another, wider impact. You see, when people talk about men and male mental health, the conversation very often becomes about “toxic masculinity”. But groups that promote openness and honesty from men will help to promote a positive, more self-aware masculinity.
Men need space to talk about divorce because it’s not an easy thing to go through alone, and it isn’t fair that gendered expectations prohibit so many from acknowledging feelings that, if left ignored, will only come back stronger. We as a society cannot move forwards if men are left to bear their emotional burdens alone. As a result, any spaces in which men can talk through their difficult situations are not just good, but necessary, too.
About the author
Fidel Beauhill is a Life and Relationships Coach, better known to his clients as The Modern Man Coach. His work revolves around guiding men (and some women) through difficult times in their lives – particularly divorce or midlife crisis – by helping them to understand and love themselves. The way in which he builds his clients up allows them to accept love from others in a much healthier way, and figure out the kind of relationship they want to be in.
Fidel’s debut book ‘Divorce: A Modern Man’s Guide’ is out now. The book is about stepping into your masculine energy and taking the lead in your divorce, for the wellbeing of everyone involved.
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