Men don't cope well with divorce

Bill Ritter, of abcNews.com, published an article, entitled "Men After Divorce. In Touch With Feelings" His findings surprised a lot of people. Ritter brought together eight men to discuss their post-divorce experiences. The guys Ritter quoted admitted to having difficulty dealing with divorce, far harder than they had anticipated.

Ritter's first paragraph reads: "It's the typical Hollywood view of men and divorce: The guy trades in the old wife for a new, younger model and a really cool life in the fast lane." Ritter says that's a myth.

"For starters," Ritter wrote, "it's not usually the men who leave the women-and certainly not the movie-version of the guy leaving for a prettier and younger female. Instead, statistics show that in two-thirds of all American divorces, it's the women who file for divorce."

My comment: I can attest to those statistics. I'm not proud that I've been divorced three times, but in each case, my wives filed.

Ritter admitted men usually fare better financially in a divorce, but added, "...experts say it's the men who are much more likely to come unglued emotionally-seriously unglued."

I agree with that paragraph also. And, I think the older we get, the harder divorce is on both sexes, but particularly the men. Perhaps, women adjust more easily because they tend to have women friends they pal around with. They go to movies together, or out for a bite to eat. Women more openly discuss their pain than men, and seem more resilient.

Most men haven't cultivated enough other male friends, and those who have are reluctant to talk about how sad they are. Men internalize their feelings. Picture two guys talking about the Saints Super Bowl win when the one who is going through a divorce would prefer to be crying on his friend's shoulder. But, he's too macho for that.

Ritter added, "The truth is men don't do well alone. Some statistics show divorced men are eight times more likely than divorced women to commit suicide." Well, I didn't feel quite that bad, but I'll admit I didn't do well alone. After my third divorce, I thought dating and finding a replacement would be easy.

Wow. That belief lasted for about a week. I started to check out women who came in my deli. I'm surprised I didn't drive every women customer away. "I'll have a turkey sandwich on rye, hold the mayo," they'd say.

"Are you busy tonight?" I'd ask.

I sensed them thinking, "This guy's loony and desperate."

Ritter added: "Lots of divorced guys...jump way too quickly into new relationships- relationships that are usually doomed."

Again, I agree. After my last marriage ended, I got involved in two relationships too soon without thinking them through. Rebound relationships usually don't work. Finally, I came to my senses, took a deep breath and stopped pressing to be with a partner. That strategy worked-for 28 days. That's when the lovely Greta entered my life. And I had the good sense to realize she would be a wonderful mate. And I was right.

We've been together 12 years and have just completed a 30-day European trip together. A trip such is this can test a relationship; there are many situations where plans don't work out--you get on the wrong bus or you eat in a restaurant that was a bad decision.

If you're a married man, and thinking life will be sweeter after getting a divorce, think again. You'll likely find yourself in the same situation as the eight men Ritter interviewed: lost, and facing the most difficult time of your life.

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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