Robin L Goldstein, “The stress of divorce leaves most people feeling anxious. There are so many changes and stressors. Men who are normally even-keeled can be surprised by their level of anxiety. For those who already have nervous tendencies, divorce can make life feel overwhelming. Anxiety can be exhibited by irritability, chronic worry, increased fearfulness and/or physical agitation or restlessness. It is not unusual to remain preoccupied with details of the separation, the problems of the relationship, and wondering what the other person is doing. This obsessiveness can interfere with concentration, sleep and everyday function. Many men will lose weight because of this anxiety. Even when weight loss was desirable a sudden, drastic weight loss is never healthy.
The fact that men are deeply affected by divorce, especially if they did not choose that solution, is not hard to understand. Myths persist that men are less in need of the comfort and support that a stable relationship provides but this is not the case. While our society continues to teach men to hide or avoid the expression of their feelings, those feelings do not go away. They often appear intensely when a man is abandoned by a spouse or partner.” (Robin L Goldstein, Ed.D Licensed Psychologist, STAGES OF DIVORCE RECOVERY FOR MEN: MEN AND ANXIETY., http://robingoldstein.net)
Mental Health America, “Going through a separation or divorce can be very difficult, no matter the reason for it. It can turn your world upside down and make it hard to get through the work day and stay productive. But there are things you can do to get through this difficult adjustment.” (Mental Health America, Coping With Separation And Divorce, mentalhealthamerica.net )
- Recognize that it’s OK to have different feelings. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated and confused—and these feelings can be intense. You also may feel anxious about the future. Accept that reactions like these will lessen over time. Even if the marriage was unhealthy, venturing into the unknown is frightening.
- Give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time. You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you’re accustomed to for a little while. No one is superman or superwoman; take time to heal, regroup and re-energize.
- Don’t go through this alone. Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period. Consider joining a support group where you can talk to others in similar situations. Isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships and overall health. Don’t be afraid to get outside help if you need it.
- Take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Be good to yourself and to your body. Take time out to exercise, eat well and relax. Keep to your normal routines as much as possible. Try to avoid making major decisions or changes in life plans. Don’t use alcohol, drugs or cigarettes as a way to cope; they only lead to more problems.
- Avoid power struggles and arguments with your spouse or former spouse. If a discussion begins to turn into a fight, calmly suggest that you both try talking again later and either walk away or hang up the phone.
- Take time to explore your interests. Reconnect with things you enjoy doing apart from your spouse. Have you always wanted to take up painting or play on an intramural softball team? Sign up for a class, invest time in your hobbies, volunteer, and take time to enjoy life and make new friends.
- Think positively. Easier said than done, right? Things may not be the same, but finding new activities and friends, and moving forward with reasonable expectations will make this transition easier. Be flexible. If you have children, family traditions will still be important but some of them may need to be adjusted. Help create new family activities.
- Life will get back to normal, although “normal” may be different from what you had originally hoped.
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