By Aida Rojas
The end of a marriage or long term relationship can be devastating for all, especially if there are children involved. All parties can feel abandoned, isolated, and other destructive emotions, which, if not dealt with effectively, could be disastrous for one or all. Often, women undergoing a divorce receive more support from family and friends, but men will find it difficult to share feelings with their mates. A man who is undergoing divorce may feel very alone and will face particular difficulties that his ex-wife may not, particularly when there are children involved.
A man going through a divorce or relationship break up may feel isolated, lonely, and afraid of the future. As well as dealing with the grief surrounding the broken marriage, a man may lose continual access to his children, as the mother, in most cases, will retain majority custody of the children. A father can find it difficult not to have his children around and available to him. He may feel he is missing out on parental rights and the everyday joys of helping a child with homework, eating dinner with his children, and making decisions that affect his children.
Depression and Suicide
Within the first 12 months of separation, male suicides soar to six times the suicide rate of married men. Studies show these statistics are a result of the change in relationship status leading to a sense of failure in men on top of the feelings of isolation and separation from their children.
Added to dealing with the emotional strain of being separated from his wife and children, the male is usually the one who has to find a new home. The additional financial burden of extra rental expenses, bills, and food can certainly add to the stress of divorce. He will need to purchase furniture and other household items, which could mean additional credit card debt. There is also the maintenance he is required to pay for his children. These financial burdens can cause depression and other negative emotions, which will exacerbate his already difficult situation.
Rights of Men
Court systems around the world are now more aware of men’s rights and the importance of the role of fatherhood. Judges are willing to be considerate of men and are becoming more equitable in terms of divorce settlements and parental arrangements, with more chance of the father winning shared custody of his children. There is also a greater understanding that while children need stable emotional and financial support, the single father also needs to be able to build a new life for himself and play an active and consistent part in his children’s lives for both his and his children’s sakes.
Building a solid and stable support network of friends and family is an invaluable resource to men facing these challenges. Whilst financial burdens may not be eased by this support, the man’s emotional state will most certainly be aided, therefore having a positive flow-on effect into other aspects of his life.
Many support groups throughout the world specialize in helping men deal with the consequences of separation and divorce with men in similar situations. These groups enable men to relate to each other providing a supportive, understanding, and non-judgmental forum where men can share their experiences and difficulties with each other.
As divorce rates continue to skyrocket and the global economy maintains its steady decline, society needs to be more vigilant to support the men undergoing divorce, as well as the women and children. It is increasingly important for support groups to flourish and have the ability to continually offer support to men in this situation. For anyone in this situation, it is extremely important to seek out and connect with others in the same position as yourself for mutual support.
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