The unthinkable happened: you are getting divorced (or already are).
So, is there really life after divorce for men?
Maybe you saw it coming, but many men don’t. For some, it completely blindsides them because they didn’t even really know anything was wrong in the marriage. I’ve known many men who fall into this category.
Even if it wasn’t a surprise for you, and even if you wanted it, divorce is always a sad ending because no one ever shows up at the altar expecting the marriage not to last for the rest of their lives.
But it doesn’t have to be an ending. In fact, it is merely the beginning of an exciting new chapter of your life!
And it all starts with your attitude and perspective about it all.
If you are depressed and down in the dumps about the divorce, then your whole life will reflect this. I’ve always said that, “your outer life is a reflection of your inner life.” So, in order to turn your love life around after your divorce, you have to get right on the inside first.
Let’s take a look at some things you can and should do if you are fresh out of a marriage.
Life After Divorce for Men: Steps to Take Before You Try to Start Dating Again
Sure, you could walk out of divorce court and sign up for Tinder the next day, but that’s not really the healthiest thing to do.
According to Dr. Richard Lucas at Michigan State University, it can take people up to six years to fully heal from a long-term relationship or marriage. And if they date or get into a serious relationship too soon, they are not doing themselves (or the other person) any favors.
So, it’s important to take some steps before you jump back into the dating pool. Because if you don’t, then you are likely to repeat the same mistakes in your next relationship.
Let’s take a look at life after divorce for men, and the steps you should take to be happy again.
1. Do an “Autopsy” of the Marriage
Just like a real autopsy tries to figure out why a person passed away, you need to dissect your marriage and see what went wrong. I always say that “Relationships are like plants. If you don’t water them every day, they’ll die.”
It couldn’t be more true… if you think about it.
And let’s face it – it takes two people to contribute to the demise of a marriage. Even if you feel completely innocent, you probably aren’t.
For example, let’s say your wife cheated on you. On the surface, that’s all her fault. And it is. However, what made her want to cheat in the first place? If she was perfectly happy and in love, she shouldn’t be thinking about other men.
So, were there needs of hers that were unmet by you? Did you pay enough attention to her and the marriage as a whole? Or were you too busy with your video games, hunting, watching sports, or hanging out in your man cave?
I’m not saying it’s all your fault. Or hers. All I’m saying is that we need to dig deep and figure out what actions (by both of you) contributed to the etching away of the marriage through the years.
2. Do Self-Reflection
Once you have a better idea of how the marriage crumbled, now it’s time to take a good, long, hard look at yourself. You need to do this, but not because you should beat yourself up for the mistakes you made in the marriage. But to the contrary – it’s important to figure out what behaviors of yours had a negative impact on the marriage.
Let’s say that you did spend too much time in your man cave, and not enough talking to your wife or taking her on date nights. You need to figure out why you did that. Do you just like your alone time? Were you escaping so you didn’t have to deal with your marital problems? There could be countless reasons.
It’s important to remember that we, as humans, do not live in a vacuum. In other words, our actions affect other people – for better or for worse.
It’s important to take a good, long, hard look at yourself in order to realize how you can do better in your next relationship.
3. See a Therapist
Many people, especially men, cannot do the self-reflection or the autopsy on their own. Some people are naturally gifted with the ability to self-reflect, and others are not. If you don’t have that talent, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It’s just not something you’re good at doing. Just like some people can solve the Rubik’s Cube in 10 seconds, and others can’t. We’re all different.
So, if you can’t really figure it out on your own, I suggest going to see a therapist if you can afford to do so. Contrary to what many men think, therapy is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s literally the opposite. It is a sign of strength.
Therapists are trained to help people figure their life out – and themselves. As I said earlier, unless you figure yourself out, you will most likely repeat the same behaviors (and mistakes) in your next relationship.
And maybe you did everything right in the marriage. If so, that’s great! Then maybe you should also take a look at the kind of women you attract. Sometimes we are drawn to the wrong kinds of people, so that is also a pattern that you might have to change as well.
4. Get Clear on the Type of Person You Truly Want to be With
In our youth, we typically have the attitude of, “Hey, you’re cute. You’re fun. Let’s date!” But those aren’t very high standards. They are just on the surface. And who you see someone to be on the surface isn’t always who they really are.
I always say that people have an “inner self” and an “outer self.” For some people, these selves match. But for many others, they don’t. And unfortunately, many of us mistakenly fall for another person’s outer self… only later to find out that who they really are inside is much different. Then, problems ensue.
So, write down the qualities you would like in your “perfect partner.” These qualities should be everything from personality type (introvert/extrovert), religious affiliation, education, political outlooks, happiness level, and sexual compatibility, just to name a few.
Now you might be thinking that I’m crazy – that you’ll never find someone who meets all of your desired criteria. And that maybe the case.
However, without a good clear image of the person you are looking for, you’ll never find the right one. At least when you know what you want, you might find someone who meets most of what you’re looking for.
Next Steps to Get Your Life Back on Track
Perhaps all that I discussed above might seem a bit daunting to you. It probably does to most men. It’s not always easy to take a good, deep look at yourself, but it is necessary if you want to improve yourself, your life, and your love life.
Once you feel that you have examine yourself and your marriage effectively, then it’s time to get on with your life! Because there really, truly, is a life after divorce for men.
But how? Many men feel overwhelmed with the thought of dating again.
It might not be difficult for you if you’re young and were in a short marriage. But you might be middle-aged (or older). And if you had a long marriage that lasted for decades, well, the world is a much different place than it was the last time you were dating. So be prepared to have a learning curve.
Young people have grown up with technology, online dating, and dating apps. Again, depending on your age, you might know the ups and downs regarding those methods of dating.
Even if you’re familiar with it, I want to give you some very important guidelines that you should follow once you start to put yourself back out there. So, let’s dive in to some of them.
1. Start with Online Dating or Dating Apps
This is pretty much how people meet each other these days. Sure, you can hang out at the local bar hoping the perfect woman will come up and sweep you off your feet, but statistically speaking, this probably won’t happen.
So, do your research about the types of online dating sites and apps that are out there. There are so many to choose from: Match.com, POF.com (Plenty of Fish), eHarmony, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and many, many more.
They all function a little bit differently. For example, eHarmony “scientifically” matches you with women. You cannot search for them yourself, because they send your options to you. And Bumble puts the power in the hands of the women. You can only contact her if she also chooses you.
There is no “better” or “best” one to use. It’s all personal preference. Some people love eHarmony, others hate it. Some people love Tinder, others hate it. You get the idea.
2. Put Effort into your Bio and Photos
There is nothing worse than when a man says something in his bio like, “I hate talking about myself.” Or, “If you want to know something, just ask me.” This shows that you’re lazy and didn’t put much effort into telling prospective dates who you are. And if you’re too lazy to do this, then how much effort will you really put into a relationship?
In other words, you really need to be aware of the image you are putting out there with your profile.
So, really think about who you are, what values you have, and try to paint an accurate picture of who you are as a person. If you aren’t good with words, have someone help you.
Also, pay close attention to the types of pictures you include in your profile. You should have several – including a full-body shot. And they should all be recent – within the last six months or a year tops.
Stay away from wearing sunglasses (gives the impression that you’re hiding something), hats (are you bald or do you have hair?), cars, motorcycles, and fish (they are dating you, not your car).
3. Don’t talk to women too long before meeting
Most people use dating apps to actually meet people and/or find a relationship. Sure, there are some women who just want a texting buddy, but what’s the point of that? So, make sure you don’t spend too much time texting back and forth before you meet.
There are several reasons for this. First, it creates a false sense of intimacy when you talk too much before you meet. Some women will grow too attached to you. Second, you want to have something to talk about on the actual date.
Third, you may meet the person and feel absolutely no chemistry with them in person. And if you’ve invested several weeks (or months) texting with them before meeting, then you will have wasted a lot of time on something that will go nowhere.
4. Set a date, time, and location (TDL)
I would suggest not taking more than a few days to set up a date. Yes, some people disagree and like to spend a lot of time messaging before they meet. However, for the reasons I stated above, I personally think it’s not a good idea.
So, cut right to the chase. Ask them out for a date and set a TDL– a time, date, and location. As a general guideline, follow these date tips.
For a first date, keep them short and inexpensive. Try not to have it last more than an hour or spend more than $15. Second dates are great if they are active. And don’t spend any money on them. Try hiking or going to a park to talk. Save the dinner date and/or spending any real money until the third date.
Let’s face it – dating is a numbers game. What I mean by that is you have to “kiss a lot of frogs to find your princess.” It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to find your soul mate in the first or second person you date. If you do, then consider yourself incredibly lucky.
I am divorced too. And when I first started to jump back into dating, I think I went on 30+ dates in just the first month or two. Most of them were just lunch dates, but they sure gave me a good feel for what types of men were out there.
I was also trying to meet new people, since most of my friends were still married. And I actually stayed in touch with several men and became friends with them.
Ultimately, I did find “the one” for me via online dating. I’m not going to lie – it took years. But I would rather be alone than in another bad relationship. So, I had to be patient and willing to wait for the right man. And it paid off for me, and it will for you too. That is, if you do it right.
Bottom line: date as many women as you can in order to find the right one. We here at EmLovz call that MegaDating.
Some people see divorce as a “failure.” I don’t. I see it as a learning experience. Sure, it didn’t work out, but at least it taught you what doesn’t work. And that’s the first step to finding out what does work.
There really is life after divorce for men. But how successful and happy it is all depends on your attitude and the effort you put in to re-discovering yourself, so you can do it better in the next relationship.
So, if you follow my suggestions, you will be much more likely to find someone that you can happily spend the rest of your life with.