Why Divorce Can Be Harder on Men

It is common for people to believe that by their nature, women are a lot more emotional than men, however, that just may not be the case when it comes to divorce. Many studies have been conducted on the subject and as it turns out, men tend to have a harder time with divorce than women, but why is this?

Men may seem emotionally strong, but divorce may be the one thing that disproves that. Compared to women, men have a lot to lose when they get a divorce and it’s their health and happiness that take a direct hit. In this article, we take a look at some of the reasons why men have such a hard time with divorce.

When Men Try to Avoid Grieving

Traditionally, girls, female teens, and women are encouraged to vent, to let their emotions out and cry. Meanwhile, boys are typically raised to be strong, to be tough, and to avoid crying because “crying is for girls.”

Divorce is well-known for being one of the most stressful things an adult will every experience, second only to having a friend or family member dies. When a man is going through a divorce, he’s losing the woman who was supposed to be his soulmate, his lifelong partner, so it’s natural for him to grieve the loss. When men try to bury their feelings and skip the grieving period, naturally, they still “feel” the loss.

After all, their plans have been completely derailed. Their goals, dreams, and the entire future have taken a different path and from that point forward, their life course is going to change, perhaps significantly. Unlike a lot of men, women take time out to grieve. They understand that it’s healthy to process their emotions. They’ll turn to friends, family, and even professionals to help them deal with their strong emotions. In contrast, when a man bottles up his emotions, he can suffer from debilitating depression and anxiety.

When Men’s Health Declines

Depression can have many negative effects on the body. It can lead to anxiety and all kinds of physical symptoms, such as insomnia, headaches, fatigue, chronic pain, weight loss or gain, nausea, inflammation, and an increased risk of heart disease.

Men can experience additional stress from the loss of identity and financial concerns. Men are also more likely than women to self-medicate by turning to alcohol and drugs during stressful times. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to seek emotional support from friends, family, and licensed professionals.

“Many of the physical changes caused by depression, such as insomnia or a lack of deep sleep, are thought to weaken your immune system. This can make existing illnesses worse. In turn, physical changes caused either by depression or chronic disease can trigger or worsen depression. All these changes can lead to a vicious cycle that's tough to break without treatment for both depression and any other diseases,” according to WebMD.

When men are married, their wives usually encourage them to engage in healthy behaviors. Wives will often discourage smoking, heavy drinking, and poor dietary choices. When men are having trouble at work or depressed, they’ll turn to their wives for support. But when men are on their own, they won’t seek emotional support from others. Instead, they may engage in self-destructive habits that help them “numb the pain” of the divorce.

Men Tend to Rush Into Rebounds

Since men don’t take the time out to rediscover themselves and grieve the death of their marriages, they’re in the habit of seeking out rebound relationships so they don’t have to be lonely. In fact, it’s very common for men to get involved in a new relationship soon after a breakup or divorce. This behavior can lead to poor choices and troubling relationships.

Women, on the other hand, don’t usually rush into new relationships the way their exes do. They’ll take “a year off” or they’ll at least put on the brakes on commitment. Women take the time to grieve, to process their emotions, to focus on rediscovering themselves and who it is they want to be.

Women may take dating slow and take their time before making a new relationship official, strengthening their futures. After all, women realize that dating can be a lot like being back in high school – relationships and dating can be very uncertain and women realize this more than men do. What’s more, divorced women are a lot less likely to remarry than divorced men are.

If you take a look at dating websites and apps, there’s a large surplus of men compared to women. When divorced women have children, they may not want to enter into a serious relationship for a long time after the one with their children’s father went sideways. They’re often afraid that a new relationship won’t last either.

Men Miss Their Children a Lot

Even though fathers have equal rights to child custody, still, women end up with custody more often than not. As a result, men miss their children a lot. If the man doesn’t get joint custody, he’ll miss out on seeing his children on a daily basis and this alone can be very depressing for fathers. It can really hurt.

Men can feel like they’re missing out on their children’s everyday lives and they’ll miss out on milestones, baseball games, practices, and just having daily conversations with their kids over the dinner table. Men can also forget to call their children to find out what’s going on and they’ll miss out on the little things that have a big impact on their emotions, even if they’re bad at showing it.

"Men have to break through the 'I've got to do it myself and go it alone' attitude," said Lewis Denbaum, a relationship coach and YourTango expert. "Women are so much better about relying on one another, and this whole 'big boys don't cry' mentality has had an entirely negative impact on men's well-being."