Let’s face it, divorce is hard. The choices you make, however, are what determine the difference between a tough, emotional time and a long-term disruption to your entire life. Knowing how to do this isn’t automatic, which is why we love to share resources like Chris Pirillo and relationship counselor Imei Hsu’s “50 Divorce Tips for Men”. Here’s a small sample:
- Make a commitment to take better care of yourself: mind, body, and soul. You are going to need everything you have to close the relationship. When it comes to the body, it’s “garbage in, garbage out.” If your partner has been providing all the meals, it’s time for you to learn simple procedures. Dining out every day is not only expensive, it may not be healthy unless you know something about selecting balanced meals. Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: at the bottom level, you should be meeting your needs for food, shelter, rest, and safety. Get a haircut. Shower. Shave. Wear cologne. Don’t forget to remove extraneous ear and nose hair. The first thing to go for most men is self-maintenance. Keep your job and keep your friends by not smelling like beer and pizza, or looking like that’s all you eat.And if you didn’t do any of that before the divorce, there’s no time like the present to begin!
- Don’t engage in unnecessary emotional banter with your soon-to-be ex-partner (or anybody connected to her in some capacity for that matter). These fights are almost never worth having on the way out the door of the relationship. Be the bigger person in the room: end the fight, attempt to set up a more productive time to discuss any necessary questions or plans, and leave the room, if necessary or possible.
- Think before you put anything in writing: email, tweet, letter, etc. Whatever you post online could end up there forever. In the heat of the moment, it might seem funny to take revenge and say some tactless words, post funny pictures of your partner, or shame your partner by disclosing sacred stories shared between the two of you. If you must, write it down for PRIVATE purposes, have your laugh, and then discard it. You’ll be glad you didn’t air your passive-aggressive move in the public sector.
- Don’t use your partner as a therapist for your emotions. Ask friends to listen empathetically (without much feedback) if you need to vent. Pets make great listeners! Do not use your partner as a dumping ground for your guilt, anger, or remorse. If you have apologies to make for your behavior, let your partner know, and let your partner choose a time to hear this from you. Process your guilt and anger with someone else (but exercise discretion).
Following some simple rules can certainly help you through the process of divorce, along with finding help from a lawyer who understands your needs. Of course, divorce puts stress on you regardless of gender, and so the same authors have also put together “50 Divorce Tips for Women”.
Take a look at whichever list applies to you, and smooth that rough road out a little bit.