According to a survey, 39% of men regret being divorced. But it is not as simple as it seems. This statistic has many layers to it – for example, a man who has committed marital wrongdoing that triggered the divorce may regret the event, but a man who has been wronged during the marriage may not regret it. Here’s another example: A man may feel that he’s free after a divorce and may actually be happy until he is confronted by the consequences of divorce (financial and emotional hits) – then he may start regretting the divorce.
Now, individual statistics on divorce-regret in male marital wrongdoers vs. male victims are not available, so we can’t dig deeper. This post is based on the experiences and opinions of the family law attorneys in our firm.
Marriage is full of hopes and dreams. Couples visualize a family and future when they marry and a normal person does not marry thinking it will end up in divorce. A divorce, which can occur for a variety of reasons, can shatter the couple’s dreams and hopes, cause a lot of emotional pain, and harden the couple emotionally. Men who commit marital wrongdoing, or even those men who have been wronged, may regret divorce for several reasons. For example:
Emotional Pain and Regret
What did I do wrong or why did I commit that wrong? What could I have done better? Why did I lie? Why did I keep quiet when my wife was deliberately hurting my emotions? Why did I treat my wife badly? How will my children cope without my help? Will the divorce impact my children’s future? And so on.
Questions like these are likely to play out day after day, and even though time is the greatest healer, a man who has committed marital wrongdoing may live with the harsh implications of his actions for the rest of his life. The emotional pain may be so acute that a man may start avoiding his friends and family out of fear that his social circle may be sympathizing with his ex-wife. This could lead to a lack of emotional support and the feeling of guilt can start building up.
Result: Emotionally-burned men may underperform at work, become argumentative, remain depressed, and perhaps avoid seeking medical help for their mental issues. They may also start doubting others and become nitpicky about getting into a new relationship. It can lead to loneliness. As an aside, medical research has discovered that a divorced man is more likely to die by suicide than a divorced woman.
A man may have to pay alimony and child support, bear the legal costs of the divorce, buy or lease a new home to live in, buy furniture, and generally incur a lot of expenses on starting all over again. All this, at a time when he may have lost his emotional support and may be feeling depressed.
The monetary burden may be even more in the case of men who were the sole breadwinners in the family, causing regret.
Usually, wives cook meals at home even though many men have taken to cooking. Data suggest that about 19% of American men prepare meals at home, while 80% of American women are the daily meal preppers. So, it is going to take a long time for men to catch up.
Therefore, after divorce, many men may start eating outside or eating too many processed ready-to-eat foods, thereby missing out on the nutrition they used to get when they were married. Their health may deteriorate with no one around to encourage wholesome eating habits. Initially, men may not feel the impact in the immediate aftermath of a divorce, but unhealthy eating habits almost always damage health in the long run.
An emotionally troubled man, who is haunted by regret, who does not trust his family and friends, does not get nutritious food, is emotionally depressed, and is financially strained may turn to abusing drugs or alcohol. Addiction to substances is a double-edged sword – it not only can trigger divorces, but it may also be one of the outcomes of divorce.
Addiction to substances can take anyone downhill right into an abyss from where there is no coming back, and hence a big reason for regret.
There may be good reasons for men to divorce, and there may be great reasons to stay married. No matter how thick-skinned a man may be, divorce represents the death of his dreams, and though he may not admit it to maintain his ego, chances are high he is likely to regret the divorce at some point in his life – especially if he was the wrongdoer in the marriage.