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Men After 50. How do men age 50+ cope after divorce


By Tom P Blake

Bill Ritter, of ABC, published an article on March 13, 2002, titled "Men After Divorce: In Touch With Feelings." (See link below) 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. Eventually, I found the woman of my dreams; we’ve been together for 18 years.

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 woman customer away. Without even thinking about how old they were or how old I was, I’d bug them.

"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 found myself having more wine than I should have. Bored? Lonely? Yup, and thirsty! Plus, 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. But, somehow, you will get through it. Just don’t rush into another relationship.

Link to Bill Ritter ABC News article:

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