Tom Blake - Finding Love After 50 website

How well do men cope with divorce?

How do men cope with divorce?

Bill Ritter, of, published an article on March 13, entitled "Men After Divorce." His findings might surprise a lot of people. Ritter brought together eight men to discuss their post-divorce experiences. The guys Ritter quoted admitted to having difficulty dealing with divorce, far harder than they had anticipated.

Ritter's first paragraph reads: "It's the typical Hollywood view of men and divorce: The guy trades in the old wife for a new, younger model and a really cool life in the fast lane." Ritter says that's a myth.

"For starters," Ritter wrote, "it's not usually the men who leave the women-and certainly not the movie-version of the guy leaving for a prettier and younger female. Instead, statistics show that in two-thirds of all American divorces, it's the women who file for divorce."

I can attest to those statistics. I'm not proud that I've been divorced three times, but in each case, my wives filed.

Ritter admitted men usually fare better financially in a divorce, but added, "…experts say it's the men who are much more likely to come unglued emotionally-seriously unglued."

I agree with that paragraph also. And, I think the older we get, the harder divorce is on both sexes, but particularly the men. Perhaps, women adjust more easily because they tend to have women friends they pal around with. They go to movies together, or out for a bite to eat. Women more openly discuss their pain than men, and seem more resilient.

Most men haven't cultivated other male friends, and those who have are reluctant to talk about how sad they are. Men internalize their feelings.

Ritter added, "The truth is men don't do well alone. Some statistics show divorced men are eight times more likely than divorced women to commit suicide." Well, I didn't feel quite that bad, but I'll admit I didn't do well alone. After my third divorce, I thought dating and finding a replacement would be easy.

Wow. That belief lasted for about a week. I started to check out women who came in my deli. I'm surprised I didn't drive every women customer away. "I'll have a turkey sandwich on rye, hold the mayo," they'd say.

"Are you busy tonight?" I'd ask.

I sensed them thinking, "this guy's loony and desperate."

Ritter added: "Lots of divorced guys start smoking and drinking more. And many jump way too quickly into new relationships- relationships that are usually doomed."

Again, I agree. After my last marriage ended, I started smoking and I don't smoke (fortunately, I stopped quickly). And, rebound relationships usually don't work. The divorce rate for second and third marriages is around seventy per cent.

If you're a married man, and thinking life will be sweeter after getting a divorce, think again. You'll likely find yourself in the same situation as the eight men Ritter interviewed: lost, and facing the most difficult time of your life.


Fran Blake, Santa Rosa, California: "In a recent column, you wrote: 'Do you know of anyone over 50 who doesn't take at least one prescription drug?' I know of somebody-your mother." Response: My remarkable mom surprised me with that statement. At 93, she drives, plays a mean game of bridge, and can finish most crosswords in fifteen minutes.

Loria, 62, San Juan Capistrano: "You should send me Keith Stroud's (the man with the quadruple bypass who got dumped) e-mail and we could compare scars, gallbladder, 3 c-sections, back surgery and a stroke. Yet, I have a great life dancing three nights a week." Response: Hats off to you, it's all in the attitude.

Tom Blake is the author of Middle Aged and Dating Again To comment, write Tom at P.O. Box 442, Dana Point, 92629, or e-mail him at

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