Divorced Men – Coping
With Divorce Depression
How to Fight Loneliness & Feelings of Sadness,
Anger & Isolation
By: Christina Gregoire
Men going through divorce or separation often have feelings of intermittent depression. Here are ideas that might be helpful when feeling sad, angry, or isolated.
Most men, who have been through separation or divorce, have feelings of depression and isolation. Actually, according to the May 22, 2007 article "Study: Marital Breakdown and Subsequent Depression", in The Daily of Canada, an in-depth study revealed that men have bigger emotional-adjustment issues, with divorce, than women do.
Feelings of loneliness, sadness, and anger are normal after losing intimacy. And, though it’s not easy to cope with divorce, there are ways to fight these feelings with the help of friends and family.
Men and Depression
According to the article “Men and Separation: Navigating the Future” that appears on the Relationships.com.au website, men going through divorce have reported a wide range of intense experiences, such as feelings of:
- Frustration, powerlessness and anger
- Relief that differences are out in the open
- Dizziness, with thoughts spinning in circles
- Desperation, ready to drop off the planet
- Determination to stand ground and battle to the bitter end
- Awareness of some hard choices having to be made
- Shock, bewilderment and hurt feelings
These are Australian men. Even macho guys have to deal with these same feelings of loss. But, strong emotions do get better over time and there are simple things that may help when dealing with complex feelings.
Divorce for Men
Divorced men’s feelings of depression are caused by:
- Loss of social connection
- Loss of contact with children
Guys are not alone in this. Women go through similar problems but females can often lean on support from friends and family.
Coping With Separation and Depression
Any guy who is having periods of depression should follow the resource links below. Some men might need to see an MD for a quick checkup.
It’s hard for a guy to change course after doing things the same way for many years, but that’s what is needed. Here are some ideas for a new plan of action:
- Restrict contact with the ex if that contact is problematic. (Men should continue to spend time with their children when possible.)
- Avoid placing blame on the ex or on oneself. After some reflection, most men realize that it takes two to make a relationship work. No husband or wife is entirely guilty or blameless.
- Get out of the house. Join a gym or play soccer with a team of similar age. Exercise is a natural antidepressant, releasing feel-good endorphins into the brain. Yes, it may be tough for men who are out of shape, but taking the car to the park and walking around is easy for almost anyone.
- Find something enjoyable and do it. Check out hiking clubs, ski clubs, fishing adventures, or anything that sounds interesting. A good resource is meetup.com. Or, go to music concerts with friends.
Remember that parenting arrangements are not set in stone and can be changed as circumstances change.
This is hard for men, but guys need to find someone to talk to and should ask their families for help.
Tell family members how difficult it has been, and that no matter what mistakes have been made in the past, it is important for divorcing guys to have someone who can listen to them and, maybe, offer suggestions. If a guy has no friends nearby, he should look for new buddies at a:
If nothing seems to help, ask any doctor’s assistant to leave the phone numbers of several good psychologists or therapists on the answer machine, as it is almost impossible for a man to feel whole again without having someone to talk to. Isolation may be the easiest option, but it is not the best option.
Note: Information from this article is not intended to be a substitute for advice from a lawyer, therapist, physician, or other professional. Please consult a lawyer or other professional for specific advice.
Relationships Australia (Victoria). Men and Separation: Navigating the Future, 2003 (accessed March 29, 2010).
Beyond Blue Website. Signs and Symptoms, 2001 (accessed March 29, 2010).