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My wife has filed for a divorce, but I don’t want to lose her

Hi Achokis. My wife and I separated two years ago and she has recently filed for a divorce. This has hit me hard and I don’t know what to do. I tried to convince her not to, but she insisted on going on with the divorce proceedings. We have two lovely children aged nine and seven. I know I messed in my marriage and I really wanted to make it up, but she refused. I don’t know how I’m going to survive this ordeal. What should I expect and what should I do? Please help!

Our Take

Thanks for reaching out for help. Going through a divorce can be such a devastating thing for both the man and the woman. Contrary to public view, men also suffer a lot as a result of divorce. According to experts, after divorce, men go through a crisis that is all too often oversimplified in their own eyes and the eyes of society. Being sad and regretful is one thing, but these are transient phases. Anyone (male or female) who loses something important to them experiences what we would commonly call grief. Losing one’s wife/family is similar in how it hits our psyche as the death of a family member, the loss of a job, or even the loss of a sentimental item.  In fact, death is better because you will not see that person again whereas in divorce, you still see the person and that can be painful.

Guard your heart

It is a process to overcome that enormous loss — one that has a profound effect on how we see ourselves and our place in the world. A man who is divorced must come to terms not just with this loss, but how that loss affects his ego. In dealing with loss, the worst mistake you can do is to trivialise what you are experiencing, like many men do or isolate yourself.  Accept the reality of what has happened and its impact on you. Seek professional help as well as look out for support from a close male friend, a spiritual leader or even another man who has gone through what you are going through.

What you need is to put aside the quest to make yourself feel better through short-term self-esteem boosting activities such as being a workaholic, hitting the bottle, clubbing or bedding another woman. Focus instead on building your self-respect. What these things do is soothing an ego that is already bruised. It makes you feel wanted, young, and in control of your life. But that doesn’t last.

Guard your heart against any feelings of hopelessness and despair and bitterness towards your wife. By the time your wife is making that decision, she must have thought through it. It’s not an easy thing for her as well. Forgive and release her all along trying your best to be civil with her remembering that she will still remain the mother of your children.

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