The sad reality, as a consequence of our acting out behaviors, some marriages will end in divorce. This post is for those men who have lost their wives in an effort to help them heal.
Recovering from any major loss requires a mourning period, and divorce is no exception. Grieving a divorce is an intensely personal process and is different for everyone depending on unique situational and personal factors. A healthy mourning process is typically thought to include recognizing and verbalizing the meaning of a loss and its associated feelings. However, men deal with relationships and stress differently than women, and often are not as verbally expressive. Should men really be expected to mourn in the same way as women? The answer appears to be ‘no’ according to Dr. Nehami Baum’s 2003 article, “The Male Way of Mourning Divorce: When, What and How. ” In fact, Dr. Baum found that men generally appear to mourn the end of a marriage quite differently than women. Men tend to start the grieving process later than women, sometimes even after a physical separation has taken place. This might reflect the fact that women are more likely to initiate the divorce process, giving them a head start on processing the emotions associated with it. Men also tend to recognize that a marriage is in trouble later than women, and they might prefer to wait until after they, or their wife, have actually moved out to address the emotional reality of divorce. Men might not feel that their ex-wife is the greatest loss during a divorce. For a divorced father, losing his family life (owning a home, having a set routine, a sense of identity and security) and daily interaction with the kids can feel like greater losses than the relationship with his wife. Men might need to deal with the anger and other powerful emotions that often accompany a loss of custody before they can mourn a spouse. They also might need to address the immediate task of adjusting to a very different lifestyle first. Some men never grieve the loss of a spouse directly; expressing it via the feelings of loss they have toward their children instead.
From “For Men: Mourning the Divorce?” by Dr. Tom Rogat
“A divorce is like an amputation; you survive, but there’s less of you.” – Margaret Atwood