Separation and divorce presents difficulty emotionally, physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. This process is one often characterized by stress and depression. Avoiding negative influences and the inability to respond to everyday challenges becomes pronounced during this period in any man's life. It also presents an opportunity for personal growth, character development, and to focus on the important aspects in life. A few adjustments can be made to ease the pain of a separation.
Children and Their Mother
If you have children, you must continue to provide love and support to them regardless of the circumstances of your separation. Work now to establish your future with your children. First, do not speak ill of or degrade your children's mother. She will be their mother long after they are grown. Do not attempt to interfere with that relationship. You are a father, not a mother. The old adage applies that if you have nothing good to say, say nothing.
You have an obligation to provide child financial support to the fullest extent possible. Whether you retain custody or not is immaterial. Your children need to be fed, clothed and sheltered, and now they need that in two places. Child support is governed by federal laws and administered by state governments. If a child support judgment is awarded you cannot avoid it. Pay it on time when due and be thankful you are able to do so. Your children are the direct beneficiaries of your support.
Love and support your children as they develop and grow. Provide them your undivided attention on all matters they present, whether that is a mathematics problem or how to prepare for a date. Make sure your kids hear you tell them "I love you." You must also practice that. Speak to your children every day. Do not be late for their appointments. Pick them up on time and attend all of their concerts and sporting activities. Do not cancel promises you make to them. Do not schedule personal business when you are with them. Time is fleeting enough and children can easily determine if they are primary or secondary in your life.
Advice that will help you sustain yourself during this process includes wishing your separated spouse the same happiness you want for yourself. Use this time to develop your better character traits. Review your relationship mistakes and give yourself permission to change. Recognize your positive and negative behavioral patterns. Engage socially with others but do not have sexual relations with anyone less emotionally stable than yourself.
Take life one hour at a time if necessary to stay focused on your job and daily needs. Eat. Stay healthy. Learn how to cook. Wear only clean, well-laundered clothing. This is a time to build your self-image, not drag it around. Attend to your daily grooming and regular health care. Shave every day. Changing negative habits can be a very positive beginning for you. Do the next two things: stop smoking if you do and limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day. Stay active. Maintain your work schedule and do your chores but also plan for entertainment, rest and relaxation. Nurture every aspect of your life.
- Surviving Separation and Divorce; Loriann Hoff Oberlin; 2005
- On Your Own Again: The Down to Earth Guide to Getting Through a Divorce and Separation and Getting On With Your Life; Keith Anderson and Roy Macskimming; 2007