Divorce can be a tough time for men, but it can be especially challenging for fathers. Not only are you dealing with the emotional turmoil of your own marriage ending, but you’re also worried about how the divorce will affect your kids.
One Mentoring Men community member who recently went through this experience was initially concerned about how his divorce would affect his relationship with his son and he found that men’s coaching helped him to navigate this difficult time in a healthy way.
Embracing Playfulness as a Source of Connection:
An unexpected benefit of men’s coaching that emerged for him was learning to use playfulness as a means of strengthening relationships. Recognizing the need for positivity and connection in his father-son time, he wholeheartedly embraced playfulness as a source of healing and connection.
Today, he and his son engage in joyful activities together, shared laughter, and create lasting memories. Playfulness has become the bridge that fosters emotional safety and trust between them, even months after his divorce has been settled.
While looking through a mix of photos on his refrigerator, this man observed moments of joy in his life and reflected on the lessons he has learned while on his journey to healing and personal growth so far.
With his permission, here’s a recent community post with several nuggets of personal insight from this man and father:
“Looking at the fridge today, I see an eclectic mix of photos.
One photo is of both Father’s Day balloons that my son picked out for me this year and an open refrigerator door, which he left open after grabbing a cookie out of the fridge.
Two years ago or really even just a year ago, I would have probably yelled “Hey close the refrigerator!!!!” But this time I thought it would be fun to snap a photo to contrast how thoughtful he was in picking balloons with how unthoughtful he was in leaving the refrigerator door open.
The second photo is of my son after closing the refrigerator door. I was giving him a hard time and telling him I was going to post this picture so everyone could see that he forgot to close the door and he was laughing at me. I love this photo of him laughing.
The third photo is of steak on the pellet smoker. The picture didn’t turn out great, but I wanted to take a picture of something I was ‘creating’ in my life at the time.
The last photograph is of a house plant that sits in my entryway.
It’s hard to tell, but some of the leaves are curled up. I bought the plant just a month before. After my divorce, I wanted to have green plants in my house, so I slowly started adding them. The instructions said to water once a week. Well, I forgot and the plant started drying out. So, I did what anyone would do and over-watered it. Instead of the leaves drying out and curling up, they started turning yellow and curling up!
Today, I look at this plant as a huge metaphor for relationships. I let my previous relationship with my wife dry out and when I realized how dry it really was, I tried to compensate by overwatering it. But just like with the plant, overwatering just damaged the relationship more. By the time I realized what was going on, it was too late to save my marriage.
The marriage and the plant both serve as reminders that to cultivate something, to grow something, you have to:
1) understand the nature of it and
2) be mindful that you are doing what’s necessary for that cultivation to happen”
Through men’s coaching, he also learned how to:
- Embrace calmness. When you’re going through a divorce, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of the moment. But it’s important to find ways to stay calm so that you can make good decisions for yourself and your kids.
- Build confidence. Divorce can knock your confidence, but men’s coaching can help you to regain your sense of self-worth and become the father you want to be.
- Embrace playfulness. Playfulness is a great way to connect with your kids and create positive memories during a difficult time.
This man found that by incorporating these principles into his life, he was able to improve his relationship with his son. They started laughing together more, and they were able to connect on a deeper level.
If you’re going through a divorce, I encourage you to consider men’s coaching. It can be a valuable resource for helping you to navigate this difficult time and build a strong relationship with your kids.
Here are some additional tips for fathers going through a divorce:
- Be honest with your kids about what’s going on. Don’t try to sugarcoat the situation or make promises you can’t keep.
- Set clear boundaries with your ex-partner. This will help to reduce conflict and confusion for your kids.
- Make time for your kids. Even if you’re not living together, it’s important to make sure that you’re still spending quality time with them.
- Seek professional help if you need it. A men’s coach can help you to cope with the emotional challenges of divorce and develop healthy parenting strategies.
The Canary In The Coal Mine:
In most cases, the unraveling of a man’s marriage is the “canary in the coal mine”. It is the life event that is painful enough to grab his attention and drive to look for answers, but once he starts working on himself he finds that he is the common factor in all his relationships and as he grows more calm, confident, and please with himself, all the relationships in his life improve. His relationships with children, extended family, co-workers, clients, friends, and even strangers improve. As he shows up differently in his life, so do others.
Why not join a community of men, just like you who have all been through relationship issues like divorce, separation, uncertainty, fear, and anxiety? As a community of men, we offer each other support by listening, asking questions, challenging assumptions, sharing personal experiences, and pointing to helpful resources. We walk with each other, talk with each other, and care about each other as brothers.
If you find yourself facing the uncertainty of divorce, separation, infidelity, or a sexless roommate relationship, I invite you to join Mentoring Men and get the support you need right now. Get answers to your questions through community discussions, weekly group support calls, self-paced courses, and optional private one-on-one coaching.
Navigating a divorce is never easy, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
Join Mentoring Men now or request a free coaching call to ask questions. Like the man and father above, you’ll be glad you did.
Much love brother,
Mentoring Men Co-Founder & Men’s Coach