Katie Holmes may be an extreme case of a person losing herself in a marriage. Tom Cruise’s wife endured live-in members of Cruise’s church more or less taking over their home. Holmes feared losing her daughter, Suri, to the same church. Divorce was a way out … and a way to recover her sense of self. While some may focus on the negative perspective of a split, divorce for many people is a path to a better life.
Recovering Your Identity
The experts at Psychology Today warn against losing yourself in a relationship. This can happen to men as well as women, in a marriage or simply a strong relationship. The two of you start off madly in love and never wanting to be apart. After a while you begin to resent giving up time and parts of yourself.
You seek to please your wife, giving in to whims or demands, changing yourself to fit her expectations. Soon you feel anxiety, resentment, or hopelessness as you get lost in routines and rituals.
Divorce can help you recover your own identity. You can pursue your own interests, make your own choices, and be who you truly want to be.
Solid Prep Work
Getting a divorce from an unhappy marriage is a great introductory lesson to what you want in your next relationship or marriage. As divorce expert Carol Ferguson points out at Your Tango, you may have married at a young age, without a lot of world experience or understanding of what you got into. You divorce and now you have life experience, maybe a little more money, and a better idea of what a good life partner acts like.
If your marriage is particularly unpleasant, you can learn from that, too. As Ferguson puts it, “You most definitely know what you don’t want in a partner.”
Rediscovering Great Friends
Like most married people, you and your wife probably allowed some friends to fade from your lives as you gained new friends. If you divorce, you can rediscover friends you left behind. Couples normally hang out with other couples; couples with kids hang out with other couples with kids. As a divorced man or father, you can find your old friends and forge new friendships with others who share your experiences.
You Count, Too
Divorce can lead to a better life by helping you reassert your own tastes and interests. Instead of constantly compromising, you can enjoy your own decisions: what to eat, where to find fun, which shirt to go with those jeans. Nobody will pass judgment on you about your decisions.
Divorce can be the time to dig out the wagon wheel coffee table. Divorce can be the time to have a garage sale of all the Ikea furniture she liked and you did not. Divorce can mean your first pair of real Lucchese cowboy boots.
This sounds ridiculous on the face of it—divorce, after all, is famously expensive, right? You will have court fees, and lawyers to pay, spousal support to consider, and children’s expenses if you have kids. Yet you will, eventually, no longer have a lot of those bills. You could actually end up saving a lot of money over the years. Money for vacations, for a new hobby, a particularly fine sports car—you name it.
Freedom of Personal Growth
Your wife could be stifling your personal growth. You may have had ambitions to pursue a higher degree, acquire a new skill, start your own business; with divorce, you can explore who you really want to become.
This also holds true for your kids; if you were carting Junior back and forth to Saturday karate but what he really wanted was guitar lessons, divorce gives you the chance to make that happen. We are not saying your wife dictates the entire family’s future, but divorce certainly gives you more freedom to go your own way.
Superdad to Your Kids…
You can be a happier Dad—and your ex-wife can be a happier Mom to your kids—after a divorce. With the right visitation schedule, you can have more, not less, one-on-one time with your own children. Just be sure to focus on them, instead of turning the weekend into a series of adjustments to your schedule.
This is not just us saying this. Writer Paul Raeburn cites evidence that fathers improve their children’s lives in enormously important ways. After a divorce, make a point of being a strong presence in your children’s lives.
You have strengths you may not even know about while in your marriage; once you tap those strengths and consciously apply them, you can be a Super You and a Superdad to your kids, says The Good Man Project.
Call The Only Family Law Firm in Virginia Protecting Men Exclusively
If you are thinking about a divorce or have issues of custody and visitation, call The Firm for Men at 757-383-9184. We can help you plan your path forward, and help you see the better life just ahead.