Divorce can be stressful, and it comes as no surprise that men and women handle and cope with the process differently. Measuring the effect divorce has on an individual person will vary given a variety of factors, but generally speaking, men tend to take a greater hit to their health than women.
In separate studies conducted in the United States and the U.K., researchers found that divorced men had higher percentage rates of depression, substance abuse, and higher blood pressure. These health issues have led to an increased mortality rate in divorced men when compared to their female counterparts. A theorized reason for why a man's health suffers so greatly post-divorce is that he doesn't have a proper outlet to express his feelings, which can lead to additional stress. According to divorce mentor Liz Copeland, "Men and women deal with this type of stress differently. Women do reach out to others, moan to their friends and work out their therapy verbally, which may help with this transition." Men, however, do not. For centuries, culture has portrayed men as being tough, independent, and less likely to fall victim to the psychological or emotional trauma that divorce brings. Cornell University professor and president of the International Society of Men's Health, Ridwan Shabsingh, said, "The fact is men get affected substantially by psychological trauma and negative life events such as divorce, bankruptcy, war and bereavement."
Regarding the movement to get men the counseling they so desperately need, Shabsingh continued, "Research is urgently needed to investigate the prevalence and impact of such effects and to develop diagnosis and treatment guidelines for practitioners." While seeking professional help is a great, and proven, method to cope with divorce, men can also try a combination of the following:
- Confide in family members and friends. Just make sure that they are non-judgmental and won't offer up unwanted advice or speak negatively of your former spouse (which can lead to more stress). Leave the legal advice to your attorney, and turn to friends and family for a shoulder to lean on.
- Distract yourself with interests and hobbies, whether old or new. It will take a much longer period of time to feel better about your divorce if all you do is dwell on the situation at hand. Distractions are good!
- Focus on yourself. Don't give into the temptation to just give up and stop caring about your wellbeing. Avoid binging on alcohol or other substances. Keep your physical, mental and emotional health in mind, and it will be easier to emerge from your divorce with a clear head on your shoulders.
- Join a local support group for divorce men or single dads. It may be easier for someone else to understand your anxieties and frustrations if they have shared the same experience with you.
Never turn to alcohol in an attempt to cope with your divorce!
Men are oftentimes overlooked victims of divorce. They feel the same intense and stressful emotions as women, but they don't always seek out help or support. Instead, they internalize their negative, or heartbroken, emotions and their health will end up suffering. If you're male and are considering the divorce process, it is best to contact a matrimonial law firm that has your best interests in mind. Brian D. Perskin & Associates has a long history of representing men in divorce cases, both in and out of the court room. Let their experience benefit you by meeting with one of their accomplished attorneys today!