My wife told me to leave our home and says that she wants a divorce. Everything is pretty much over now and I’m sitting here now in my new place completely alone and depressed. This place doesn’t even feel like a home. She has all of our furniture we bought together and all of our house stuff. She also has the kids most of the time and her life seems to be better for her now that I’m gone. At least, that’s what she tells me. I have no idea where to go from here. I still go to work, I have a few friends I can talk to, but, for the most part, life feels totally hopeless and depressing. Do you have any advice for guys in my situation? Should I start dating again once I’m divorced and just move on? I have no idea where to go from here.
Clearly, you’re in shock about your new situation. There’s nothing wrong with having a strong reaction to a situation that you didn’t want, but now you’ve got some important decisions to make not only for yourself, but also for your children.
Remember, they didn’t ask for this to happen. They’ve already lost the security of having mom and dad in the same home, so make sure they don’t lose the security of having a relationship with a healthy dad. Here are some suggestions to get you directed in your new life.
First, if there are things in your life that contributed to the divorce – addiction, anger, et cetera – make sure you take care of those issues as soon as possible. This might be a wake-up call for you to take a hard look at your life. While your wife may certainly be the kind of person that would just kick someone out of the house for no good reason, it’s more likely there were unhealthy patterns that needed some attention.
Second, get some furniture and set up your house so your children have a place to stay that feels like a home. Get them beds, toothbrushes, and toys. You might be able to survive fine in a stripped-down bachelor pad, but your children need a home that feels safe and secure.
Third, make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, and socially. Start with exercise, eating well, getting to bed on time, and limiting your TV and screen time. Reach out to old friends you haven’t connected with in a while. Let others know you would like to spend time with them and get support. If you are struggling to put one foot in front of the other, working with a professional counselor or your doctor can help you overcome the depressive symptoms that are holding you back.
The sooner you learn you’re not a victim and powerless to improve your situation, the sooner you’ll start to feel better. Don’t wait too long to start moving forward with your life. Your children need to see you functioning and creating a positive and safe environment for them. They need as much stability as you can provide in this very unstable situation. You can share your struggles with other adults who can be there for you emotionally. You can be honest with your children and let them know you’re sad to be away from them, but it needs to stop there, especially if they’re little.
You will eventually heal from the shock of this change in your life. Your children will also heal, but you can facilitate that healing much sooner by making healthy decisions that benefit their physical and emotional well-being. They’ll feel better and so will you.
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
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