There’s no getting around it: Divorce sucks. Divorce and separation can have a wide range of negative outcomes for everyone involved – men, women, and children alike.
If you’ve been in the industry for any length, or if you’ve gone through your own divorce, you’re likely to discover many resources along the way designed to help and educate women: Second Saturday, online groups like BTR, countless podcasts devoted to overcoming your “narc STBX” (narcissistic soon-to-be-ex), divorce coaches for women and moms, Facebook and Meetups for women going through divorce…But what if…
What if you’re not a woman? What if you’re a man looking for support?
Well, you’re going to have to dig a little harder to unearth support programs for men. There just aren’t that many.
And that’s not cool. After all, studies show that men might be more at risk of suicide after a relationship break up. Men experience more health problems than women in the process and after a divorce. They are more susceptible to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and ultimately stroke and heart disease. No wonder more divorces are initiated by women than men (69% of divorces, in fact). Not only do men face an uphill battle during and after a divorce – in some cases it’s a matter of actual life and death.
Why is that? Well, men often don’t take the time to grieve correctly, talk less about their feelings, and report feeling more isolated than their female counterparts post-divorce. They tend to self-medicate more. They report loss of identity when they divorce, as well as loss of parenting time. Men take a longer time to recover from divorce than women do. In short men, suffer a wide range of negative impacts related to divorce, but they don’t have the wide range of support options that women have.
In my work as a mediator and a divorce coach for men in Boulder, Fort Collins, and beyond, I have begun to see an uptick in the number of men who reach out for support, an increase in the number of men who are reporting relationship/emotional violence in their marriages, and more men joining my divorce support groups.
So, what does a divorce coach for men do?
5 Reasons Men Need a Divorce Coach
Divorce coaches can help reduce anxiety
The right divorce coach will help you bring down your levels of anxiety by walking through the process alongside of you, helping you make decisions that are empowered. Pegotty Cooper, co-founder of the Certified Divorce Coach Training program, says that divorce coaches are like “thought partners” who help you see the big picture, stay in your “wise mind”, and see the forest for the trees.
Divorce coaches can help you save money
Not every divorce requires the involvement of attorneys, financial advisors, mediators, and other professionals. However (and maybe counter-intuitively), using a divorce coach can help you save money, even if you do need those professionals. Coaches are skilled at helping you separate your emotions from the very important decisions that need to be made. And decisions that are made out of fear and anger can be very costly in the long run.
A colleague of mine tells all of her clients that “it’s very expensive to cry in an attorney’s office” – and she’s right. Attorneys don’t have the training or the bandwidth to help with the emotional aspects that come with a divorce. Divorce coaches are trained to support clients emotionally – they are cheaper, and more effective, than attorneys in this regard. You can actually get a lot of work done with a skilled divorce coach before you even bring an attorney into the picture.
Divorce coaches can provide structure
You don’t know what you don’t know. And what you don’t know about divorce can leave you feeling scared, vulnerable, and open to attack. Divorce coaches understand the divorce process; they know that steps you need to take legally (and otherwise) to get you from beginning to end. Having someone walk the path with you, who can point out where the bumps are, help you line up helpers along the way, and show you the promised land on the other side of the mountain can mean the difference between a long, painful divorce and one that is streamlined and effective.
Divorce coaches can help reduce conflict and improve communication
Some divorce coaches, like me, are also mediators. When I work with coaching clients, one of the most valuable things we spend time doing is learning ways to manage conflict triggers, regulate emotions, communicate effectively, listen openly, what not to say in mediation and negotiations, and how to craft emails that don’t escalate conflict and emotions.
Divorce coaches can help you prepare for life post-divorce
As scary as divorce is, life post-divorce can be even scarier. How are you going to get back into the dating pool? Do you even want to? What does You 2.0 look like? How are you going to manage life “alone”? What does life as a co-parent look like? How are you going to navigate your new financial landscape? A divorce coach doesn’t just take you up to the finish line and toss you over: they help you through the emotional and practical transitions prior to, during, and after divorce.
The men that I work with report better communication with their spouses, decreased time spent with their attorneys, less anxiety about the future, more structure in their planning and documentation, better outcomes in mediation, and far better co-parenting outcomes.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: divorce sucks. No one gets married with the hopes that one day they’ll be able to get divorced. But if you do find yourself going through divorce, you’re going to want to be able to look back and say “I feel good about the way I navigated that. I would be OK if my kids knew how I behaved. I’m fine telling the story of my divorce to people. Sure, it sucked. But I got through it and I’m excited about the next phase of my life!”
That’s what a divorce coach can help you say.
Man or woman, straight or gay, young or old, Boulder, Fort Collins, or beyond: if you need support, sign up for a free consultation with me here. I can help you.
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If you are interested in learning more about how to use mediation techniques to reduce conflict at home, or anywhere, let me know!
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Fort Collins, CO
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