Why are you looking for the stages of grief after divorce?
Let me guess:
There’s a reason why I decided to write this article for you. You are not alone. A lot of men are going through the same struggle and experience the same suffering. To be honest, I never thought I would write about men whose marriages are falling apart.
But things started to change.
When I started this website, I thought most guys who struggle with meeting and dating women are young, horny, and impatient. You know, the typical male virgin. And yes, I help a lot of these guys. But there are more and more older men in my audience.
Today, more than 50% of my coaching clients are divorced men.
They are going through the stages of grief that have NOTHING to do with what you’ve been told…
The 9 Stages of Grief After Divorce: No More Rose-Colored Glasses
The literature talks about the five stages of grief.
I respect the research behind it. But it’s oversimplified…and whitewashed. It’s easy to say that it starts with denial and ends with acceptance. And in between you find anger, bargaining and depression. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Denial sounds too harmless.
I’ve spoken to a lot of divorced men who wanted their life back and none of them lived in denial. They all knew what was going on. When you deny something, you refuse the existence of the truth. Sorry, but that’s the last thing my coaching clients struggled with.
They were hit by a train and felt the impact.
What about acceptance?
Yeah, that’s great. Just be a Buddhist monk and accept that your marriage fails and that your wife takes your kids and your money. Sorry, but that’s not going to happen. According to Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, the idea of just accepting is nihilistic and insane…
Let me tell you this:
None of the divorced guys I coached were able to accept their faith. However, they were eventually able to move on, to grow, and to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.
Here’s what’s really going on…
1. The “But She Promised” Stage
Do the following words sound familiar to you?
“I promise to love you forever and to always be by your side.”
Yeah, right. That’s as if I promise that I will write an article every day until I’m 85, even though I don’t know if I can still lift my hand when I’m that old. I just don’t get it. How can anyone believe a promise that contains the words always and forever?
Forever can be a very short time.
Remember, you are (or were) married to a woman. Women are slaves to their emotions. And their emotions can change at the blink of an eye. You can be the perfect husband for ten years. Then you mess up once and everything that happened before doesn’t count.
You should know this BEFORE you say “I do.”
Unfortunately, a lot of guys either deny this simple truth about the female nature or they naively assume that it won’t happen to them because their woman is special. These are the guys who find themselves in one of the most painful stages of grief after a divorce, the “but she promised” stage.
Yep, she promised. And now she’s gone.
2. The “Sebastian Was Right about Disney” Stage
Why do you think I warn men about getting married?
A lot of my friends are already married. And they all talk the same bullshit. Honestly, I can’t hear it anymore. Thank God I also have friends in their 40s and 50s. They are already divorced and believe me…they don’t believe in Disney anymore.
Here’s what I have to hear from my friends in their late 20s and early 30s:
Well, you won’t say that anymore when you have erectile dysfunction because you’ve slept with the same (now overweight) woman for over a decade. Feelings change. It’s just that Disney didn’t tell you about that.
In the middle of your divorce you finally realize it:
“Sebastian was right about Disney. Everything is a lie. I’m screwed.”
Yep, I don’t make this stuff up.
3. The “I’m Losing all My Money” Stage
That’s the hardest part.
One of my coaching clients told me that he wouldn’t have made it through his divorce without inheriting from his parents. And this guy has a high-paying computer programming job. But yeah, that’s the reality of divorce for men.
Maybe you don’t have children. In this case, you’ll only lose your house and car. Oh, wait. You might have to support her anyway. The “I’m losing all my money” stage makes me question the sanity of men who sign a government contract with an (emotional) woman. I mean, the average divorce can cost up to $200.000.
But let’s face it:
You know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand.
As a responsible man, you have to inform yourself about your right (or the lack of rights) before you say “I do”. I still don’t get it why so many guys are shocked when they are suddenly broke after a divorce. Get yourself a book about marriage law. It’s not a secret.
Unfortunately, this realization often comes when the early retirement is no longer possible.
4. The “The Red Flags Were There” Stage
“She’s perfect. She’s the woman of my dreams. I want to spend the rest of my life with her.”
Well, that’s fine and dandy. But think about it. No human being is perfect. And if a woman pretends to be perfect, she’s most likely the opposite of perfect. You know what they say. When something is too good to be true…
I have a friend who’s married to a crazy chick.
And no, I don’t just mean “she’s a bit crazy”. She is insane, dangerous, and unpredictable. That sweet lady has bipolar disorder. Yes, she has her ups, but her downs make Frankenstein’s Monster scared of leaving the house.
I once saw her pushing my friend against the wall.
Of course, not every man is that stupid. But you don’t have to marry a bipolar woman to experience hell and the inevitable stages of grief after divorce. The small things can add up. Unfortunately, a lot of guys ignore the small things when she has a big booty.
I love to discuss the red flags with my divorced coaching clients. It’s always the same procedure. First, they tell me that there weren’t any red flags. Then we discuss their ex-wife’s behavior before they married her. Then it hits them.
“Oh, now that I think about it…”
Well, now it’s too late.
5. The “I’ll Die Lonely and Sexless” Stage
She’s gone, your money is gone, and you realize that you married the wrong woman. That sucks. Of course, you don’t want to make the same mistake twice. But you can’t help it.
You’d give everything to have a beautiful woman next to you.
George Clooney wants to tell you something:
We all die alone.
These crippling limiting beliefs are very dangerous because you’re tempted to end up in another unhealthy relationship. And guess what? This relationship can easily lead to your second marriage…and second divorce.
But hey, the thought that follows is even more dangerous…
6. The “She Has a New Guy” Stage
“I’m going to kill this motherfucker!”
Be careful in this stage, very careful. Not all of my divorced coaching clients go through this stage. But the ones who do are at high risk. They risk driving themselves crazy and doing things that have terrible consequences.
Man kills ex-wife and new lover in jealous rage.
Have you ever read something like THIS in the news?
Things can get out of control. You’re going through a divorce. The sea is rough and the waves are almost swallowing you. You lose balance and one false step could make you drown. That’s the moment when you have to make the decision to swim.
Here are the rules you need to follow:
The last rule is the most important one. Of course, you can ignore it. That’s up to you. But I have to warn you. You might end up battling with more than the stages of grief after divorce.
Have fun in jail.
7. The “I Want to Numb the Pain” Stage
It doesn’t get better, at least not yet.
You calmed yourself down. You no longer want to kill her real or her imaginary new boyfriend. That’s a good start. But you’re still in pain. It hurts to lose your wife, your money, and the dream of a marriage that lasts forever.
You reach a breaking point.
The pain is too much to bear. You need something to numb the pain. Suddenly, the liquor in the supermarket and the drugs at the street corner look really attractive. You haven’t been drunk in a while, but now it seems like a good option.
Don’t fall into the trap of the “I want to numb the pain” stage.
No matter if you’re thinking of drinking, taking drugs, or going to hookers…don’t do it. Numbing your pain in the short-term will only make it worse in the long-term. You need a different strategy. You need a strategy that leads you away from pain and towards growth.
You are almost there…
8. The “Let’s Try to Live Alone” Stage
You’ve had enough.
You don’t want to be in pain anymore. You are sick and tired of the feeling that your life is not worth living without marriage, wife, and family. Eventually, you realize that learning to live on your own (and on your own terms) is the only option.
After coaching hundreds of divorced men I know one thing:
I mean, I’m used to living alone. I lived alone in Germany, in England, in Thailand and in all kinds of other countries. But some guys married their now ex-wives while they were still living with their parents. They always had someone who took care of them.
It’s time to grow up and to take responsibility for your life.
You are just one step away from a new life…
9. The “I Can Finally Live My Life” Stage
The grief has to end at some point.
Yes, that’s true. It ends at the “I can finally live my life” stage. Finally, you’ve reached a point where giving up is no longer an option. Swallowing the pain and drinking the liquor is also not an option. You realize that freedom is waving at you…for the first time in years.
You realize something:
Yes, it hurts that you wasted so much time. I remember this one coaching client. He started to cry when he thought about the fact that he wasted 10 years of his life. It’s hard to accept that these years are gone forever. It’s painful. But the pain can be liberating.
You have the opportunity for a fresh start.
You have the chance to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.
Summed Up Wisdom
What are the stages of grief after divorce? It’s about more than denial and acceptance. The first thing you realize as a divorced man is that the big promise was nothing but a big lie. Things change and the feelings of a woman change faster than the wind.
But her feelings are not the only thing that changes. Your bank account changes, too. Getting divorced is more expensive than getting plastic surgery. It’s even more painful when you see your bank account shrink while you realize that there were more red flags than you can count.
Stop worrying about dying alone and sexless. I make sure that you’ll get laid again. It’s way more important that you stay away from alcohol, drugs and other ways to numb the pain. That’s the only way you can reach the next two stages that allow you to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes.