What does it feel like to go through a divorce?
I’m going to lay it all out for you.
If you’re going through the same thing, please know that you’re not alone and that it will get better.
10 most common emotions of a man going through divorce
When you get divorced you experience a kind of sadness and pain that’s second only to a major life trauma like the death of a loved one.
It hurts beyond what I’d wish on my worst enemy.
Even if you’re no longer in love, the sadness, frustration and stress is off the charts.
Here are the most common emotions you’re likely to feel if you’re getting a divorce.
Your marriage is over.
Whether it was you who ended it or your spouse, it’s going to hurt. You’ll feel sad.
I spent entire days in bed, and not even watching or doing anything. Just…in bed.
The sadness is intense, and don’t beat yourself up over it. Everyone who’s been through a divorce has been there.
Even if you’re no longer in love, the sadness at having a marriage fall through is horrific.
I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, if I’m being honest.
It just feels like life and your own situation will never get better and like you’re weighted down with fifty pound weights on your ankles slowly sinking into a bottomless pit.
It’s bad. But it will get better.
When my divorce was going through I was pissed off. I own that.
I slammed doors. I spoke sharply to family members. I swore at a work colleague unfairly.
I’m not proud of it. But it happened.
And it wasn’t just a flash of anger that came and went. It was a simmering fire that burned and flared up for months.
I felt like the world was against me.
I took the divorce personally. I saw it as a black mark against me, a failure, a humiliation.
I saw the divorce as an attack on my success as a man. As an attack on my ability to successfully form a marriage and make it work.
The fact that it didn’t was so hard for me to accept. And I still have times when I feel furious that all those years ultimately fell apart in divorce.
I was scared when going through divorce, and most men are.
As man we’re conditioned not to be afraid or not to admit when we are.
But I admit it.
The unknown has always frightened me, and after eleven years of marriage divorce was something that was completely new to me.
I’d grown so accustomed to having my wife around that the idea of her not being there was very new and strange.
Would I be OK?
Would I miss her?
Would I be happy?
I wondered all this and more, and I felt afraid about tackling something so new and building a new life for myself.
Housing, all the legal nonsense and much more had left me bewildered about what to do.
It sometimes felt to me like stumbling blindly in the dark to find a path I couldn’t see and I won’t lie to you: it still does feel that way sometimes.
The most common emotions of a man going through divorce revolve around unpleasantness and bewilderment.
My main thoughts when my divorce was happening were the following:
This is really trash. I fucking hate this.
What the hell am I supposed to do now?
When you’ve grown accustomed to living your life with someone, even in a codependent or toxic way, leaving that behind is a huge change.
I wasn’t really ready for it, and even though our decision was basically mutual, I felt like I’d been given the short end of the stick.
I felt like I’d been dumped but 100 times worse.
My life was a train going off the tracks and I had to figure out how to fix the engine and get everything running again with no help apart from a few friends and a lawyer who was trying to turn my bank account into a historical relic.
It sucked. Bad.
I was so confused about how to get the divorce done as efficiently and with as little drama as possible, and even then it ended up having way more hassle and drama than I would have preferred.
Is exhaustion really an “emotion”?
If you’d asked me prior to my divorce I would have said no. Exhaustion is being tired.
If you ask me now, I’ve had a change of heart: exhaustion is definitely an emotion. It’s subtly different than being tired.
Being exhausted is like a mix of being depressed, tired and kind of “done with it all” at the same time.
It’s not really the same as just being sad, but it’s not being completely apathetic either.
It’s more like the feeling if you were asked to carry five grocery bags and then given ten more.
It’s a feeling of having too much put on you.
It’s your whole body and mind saying enough.
And that’s what I felt through the whole divorce process. I just wanted it over with. I didn’t like what was happening, but I wanted to see it done and gone.
Despite the confusion of what to get on with in the rest of my life, I just knew that the divorce chapter of my life is not something I ever want to do again.
I’ll be honest, top of the most common emotions of a man going through divorce is sometimes.
It can feel like waking up from a nightmare.
I was still in love with my wife at the time we were divorcing and a big part of me didn’t want it to happen.
But as I began to reflect on it more and really marinate in it I had moments when the only emotion I can describe myself as having had is relief.
I felt like a weight was being lifted off my neck and like I could finally get on with my own life instead of living under the psychological shackles of someone who was trying to control and take advantage of me.
Was I the perfect partner? Definitely not.
Buth thinking about how much my marriage had gone wrong began to show me the various ways in which divorce was really a bit of a blessing.
The process was still hell, and I felt awful.
But I admit there was that part of me throughout the whole time that was kind of giving God a high five, too.
Being giddy is a bit like a mixture of nervous and excited. That’s why I put it here, because I wanted exactly the right word to describe what I’m trying to say.
When you’re going through a divorce you aren’t sure what to think or feel. There’s not exactly a rulebook, and if there is a “Divorce for Dummies” handbook I haven’t read it.
What I do know is that one of the most common emotions of a man going through divorce is giddiness.
You feel excited about starting a new chapter of your life, but you also feel scared about turning the page on the previous chapter.
What comes next is what’s circling through your head.
This makes you feel like you’re about to bungee jump or get a chest tattoo. It’s a huge change.
You feel anxious, but you also feel strangely pumped.
Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, what comes next could be a clean slate? Could the next part of your life actually have some opportunities in it?
The divorce is such a hassle that it makes you feel like something that’s this much stress and bother must have some kind of payoff afterwards.
Hence the giddiness.
The idea of getting a divorce that’s often presented in popular culture and things like films and shows is kind of misleading.
It shows a dramatic showdown or separation followed by emotionless delivery of divorce papers.
Cut to one or both partners now sitting alone mulling the future with a martini or their pet on the sofa.
Not how it works.
Divorce is messy, long, stupid and unpredictable.
So many little details come into the picture like what belongings are exactly “yours” and which are his or hers.
Other things like who’s “really” to blame for the divorce often getting hashed out as well.
It’s all just such drama and endless expenditure of energy, but it’s like how you feel when somebody challenges you or accuses you falsely and you can’t stand to let the lie sit there uncontested.
You step up and start defending yourself, and next thing you know you’re locking horns and back into the drama, the paperwork, the petty fights and the months of wasted time.
Paranoia is kind of an emotion, kind of a psychological issue. It depends on the intensity and how you’re experiencing it.
In this context I’m talking about paranoia in the sense of doubting everything you once believed was true and reliable.
My divorce made me question whether I’d ever really known my wife at all, or at least whether I’d ever known her real motivations and character.
I began to suspect her of having been after me for financial stability from the start.
I began to wonder if she’d cheated on me with a friend of mine.
I started to think she was even somehow gaming the legal system against me in order to get custody of my kids.
If you’re feeling paranoid about the divorce and your ex-wife or ex-husband’s intentions, you’re not alone.
In fact these are some of the most common emotions of a man going through a divorce.
Mistrust, paranoia, suspicion, speculation…
Your world is being turned upside down and you’re starting to wonder if anything you ever thought was true about the reality you live in was wrong all along.
You’ll find your feet again, don’t worry. It does take time.
Last up I want to talk about the feeling of resignation.
I don’t mean like when you quit a job, although in a way divorce is basically quitting a marriage.
But what I mean by this feeling of resignation is sort of an acceptance tinged with sadness.
It’s feeling one plus a bit more mellowing.
Divorce is happening along with all its nasty and stressful concurrent incidents, costs and fights, but you’re no longer swimming against the tide.
You’re tired and you’ve become increasingly more of a realist.
Your divorce is brutal, you don’t necessarily fully embrace it or want it, yet at the same time you become resigned to it.
This is going to happen. You are going to survive. Life will go on, even if it feels as though you won’t go on.
But you will.
And this time will pass.
The feeling of resignation grows. You coldly accept the fact that this marriage is over and cease your efforts to complain, fix, save and rage against the dying of the love.
And you accept that fact.
Divorce is a very tough thing to go through, as I noted right here at the beginning.
It’s not something I’d hope for anyone to experience, even somebody I dislike.
Sadly, statistics don’t lie and divorce is happening all the time.
Less people are getting married, but that doesn’t mean that divorce itself is gone, and it can also be argued that long term relationships breaking apart is, itself, a type of divorce minus all the same legal hurdles.
I know those hurt a lot, too, even if society sees breakups as less “serious” than divorce.
It’s all pretty brutal stuff.
But you can survive divorce and you will.
Believe in yourself, practice patience, pursue hobbies and spend time with friends. Divorce is going to put you through the wringer of emotions, but think of it as the start of your next chapter instead of the end of the book.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.