Can Divorce Be a Good Thing?
Believe it or not, yes.
Before we talk about how divorce can be a good thing, we are also realists and understand that going through a divorce is stressful, and many people initially experience bouts of anxiety. (We’ll say it louder for the people in the back!) To put it bluntly, it can freak people out at the start for a lot of reasons.
Starting to Smile Again
But then a funny thing happens—and sometimes it’s literally a funny thing—they start to laugh again. Their smiles become more natural and less forced. For many men, the first months of separation or divorce can actually be a relief. The relationship they recently ended may have been loaded with tension for a long time, and that’s why it ended. For many men, divorce results when the years of cumulative stress and tension are no longer tolerable. When that environment is changed, many men are overcome by the instant sense of peace. With more free time and significantly less angst, they’re likely to look up old friends and even pick up old or new hobbies and pastimes! In essence, they find a new and improved version of their old self!
Losing Weight, Feeling Great
The weight loss that accompanies a separation, the so-called “Divorce Diet,” is so common that it’s practically a punch line:
“You look like you lost weight!”
“I did – 125 pounds of ex-wife!”
Again and again, men who have recently separated or divorced find that they can fit back into the size they wore in their early 20s. Experts say there are many reasons why so many people drop 15, 30, and even 50 pounds after divorcing. For some people, the simple stress of the experience causes them to lose their appetite. For others, being away from their ex’s bad habits may allow them to pursue healthier eating patterns. Still others turn to exercise to fill time, burn energy, and because they’re motivated to look good and get back on the dating scene. Whatever an individual’s reason for eating less and exercising more, it’s undeniably a perk of starting a new phase of life.
Divorce Can Be a Good Thing Because Life is Best with Less Stress
Doctors everywhere agree—stress will kill you. Stress, like the kind you experience 24/7 when you’re living in a bad marriage, is a major contributor to nearly every chronic illness. Not only does stress make you feel bad and spur bad habits like smoking, drinking, and binge eating, it floods your system with hormones that wreak havoc on every other bodily system.
Our bodies developed a fight-or-flight stress response back when we had to worry about fighting our enemies in battle or outrunning saber-toothed tigers. We needed those hormones to literally help us survive. Unfortunately, those are the same hormones that flood our systems during an argument with a spouse. If it only happens every now and then, it’s not a big deal. But, let’s talk real, your marriage probably wouldn’t be ending if the stress only came every now and then.
When it comes to the health impacts of stress, getting a divorce may be the best thing you can do when you are in a failed marriage. Chronic stress can cause high blood pressure and heart disease—that’s why you hear about people in intense jobs suffering heart attacks. Living in a state of constant stress is horrible for your body, in every way, including your sleep. High-stress situations disrupt sleep patterns, and when you don’t sleep well, you don’t heal well. Stress can also weaken your immune system, leaving you susceptible to colds, viruses, and common infections. Stress can exacerbate asthma, digestive problems, cancer, and it can even speed up the aging process.
Often, to cope with stress, many men will smoke or use smokeless tobacco more when their marriage is on the rocks. And speaking of the rocks, they tend to drink alcohol more, too. Some will even turn to prescription or illegal drugs to cope with feeling lonely, rejected, anxious, or depressed.
But, when the source of most of their stress is gone, the reason for the bad habits is gone, too. Eliminating stress from your life gives your body a chance to recover. You sleep better. Your hormones stay in check. You’re less likely to catch colds and viruses. You look younger, and you’re more energetic.
If you’re already stressed out and overwhelmed by going through a divorce, you’ve got a lot of good to actually look forward to. Things really do get better, and there’s a lot you can do right now to look out for your health while you wait to get to the other side.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the best ways to protect your physical and mental health is to have a strong support system in place. Surround yourself with friends and family and, if you have kids, try to see them as much as you can.
For many men, leaning on a support system can feel unnatural and forced. Men don’t tend to cultivate relationships like women do, and even men who had strong friendships with other married couples while married can find themselves losing touch with their married friends. Being intentional about spending time with people who care about you can help alleviate a lot of the stress.
Make an effort to reach out to friends and initiate getting together. Consider expanding your social circle by getting involved in an activity or organization you enjoy.
Prioritize your health. Instead of letting healthy habits slip away, make an intentional effort to go to the gym, and to cook healthy food. Go see your doctor for a physical exam, and get a doctor if you don’t already have one. Wear your seat belt and drive carefully. Practice safe sex. Monitor your alcohol consumption, and don’t let tobacco or drugs become a crutch. If you don’t build bad habits, you won’t have to quit them later.
Use the possibility of dating again as a motivator to get back in shape. Look for ways to have fun with your kids and make an effort to make new memories with them.
Why Divorce Can Be a Good Thing
Though very few people will say that they enjoyed going through a divorce, the stress and other bad feelings you may be feeling now will fade. And when they do, you’ll find the guy you used to be—a guy in charge of your life, empowered, ready to have fun, and feeling healthier than you have in years. And if it happens to make your ex jealous to see you looking and feeling so good after divorce, well, call that an added bonus. Can divorce be a good thing? The verdict is in: yes, definitely.
If you’re considering starting the divorce process the attorneys at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC today.