Divorce Coaching With Men

Work / Money Home / Family Sex / Intimacy

It is generally accepted men and women take in information differently – men being typically more visual and women typically being more verbal. Many times men and women speak different languages. For instance: The three primary areas of a man’s life that greatly influences their level of self-esteem and impacts their sense of well-being are known by men as work, home, and sex. For women, these same areas are known under the labels of money, family, and intimacy. To verify, ask a man to give his definition of money, family, and intimacy. Next, ask him to give his definition of work, home, and sex. You will find a significant difference between these two definitions. The fact men and women label these with different names indicates just how differently we view them. Like I said, many times men and women speak different languages.

Work / Money
For most men, going to work is more than earning money. Our work helps to define us. Our work is part of our identity. Our work directly impacts how we feel about ourselves. Our work significantly influences our level of life satisfaction – our sense of well-being. Our work provides us a level of both self-respect and respect from others. Having doubts about the validity of this truth? Check me out. Go interview a recently unemployed man and gauge for yourself his level of self-esteem, his sense of well-being, and his feelings of self-respect.

Home / Family
Most men receive a great deal of satisfaction in knowing they are protecting their home for their family. We also take a healthy sense of pride in being able to provide for our family (food, shelter, and clothing). This satisfaction and pride translates into a greater sense of well-being and an increased level of self-esteem.

Sex / Intimacy
It has been said that for women, intimacy is a necessary prerequisite for sex. On the other hand for men, it is generally accepted there is no necessary prerequisite for sex. Some have postulated that for women, intimacy behaviors lead to sexual behaviors. For many men, it is the sexual behavior that leads to intimacy behavior (ignoring of course the “turn-over-and-go-to-sleep” group). It would appear to be a fair statement that men and women not only view sex and intimacy differently, we actually act upon them from opposite directions – with women intimacy to leading to sex and with men sex leading to intimacy.

Side Bar
As with all issues in relationships, the key to the sex vs intimacy issue is being able to have an open, honest, and nonjudgmental communication policy. Unfortunately, that is getting off the subject of this article and we will save it for a future article. Now back to our regularly scheduled article on divorce coaching.

When divorce coaching with men the coach must understand some of the general differences between men and women. However, in addition to differences between men and women, there are differences between age groups, between social-economic groups, and differences within and between cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. All of these groups have their own unique historical backgrounds, group rights and rituals, and group belief systems. An experienced divorce coach will take these varying issues into consideration when outlining a strategy of how best meet the needs and necessities of their client entering into the family court system.

When men experience family court they experience feelings of being overwhelmed, confused, and threatened – threatened by a process and a system that has control over their finances and their time with their children. A process over which they have no control and very little, if any, input. A divorce coach needs to educate the man on what they are about to experience. They will need to have regularly debriefing on the man’s experiences, to explore the mixture of emotions and feelings that will surely be experienced.

It has been said people do not care what you know until they know that you care. Well, one of the primary tasks of a divorce coach is to ensure their client knows from the very beginning that they care. Men gain confidence knowing they have the information and feedback from their coach throughout the confusing, frustrating, and stress-filled family court system.

A divorce coach will set up a proactive plan of action to help the man move forward in part by teaching him how to emotionally let go of A) historically biased judges, B) self-serving opposing attorneys, C) self-centered spouses, D) over-reactive relatives, and E) under-informed friends, neighbors, and co-workers. This plan will include helping the man develop a positive attitude and confidence in dealing with their own attorney. An experienced coach will help the man keep his emotional issues from getting in the way, allowing him to think and act in a more centered and directive manner. Enlisting the man as an agent of positive change and requesting his input into all areas of the restructuring process allows the man to feel vested in the process – rather than simply standing by and watching the divorce process take on a life of its own.

When individuals experience the break up of a relationship it is often due to a loss of trust, typically exacerbated by a reduction in communication. In men, this loss of trust and communication many times produces feelings of insecurity. For men, insecurities can quickly produce feelings of resentment and blame. And, feelings of resentment and blame means we get to go to our familiar feeling of anger. Unfortunately, we erroneously believe we know how to handle anger; meaning, we think we know how to either shut people up or force them away from us by displaying angry words and actions.

The cornerstone of divorce coaching with men many times commences with an initial assessment of their level of anger. It is not whether or not there is anger. It is accepting there is anger and assessing the level of that anger. The second step is to determine the level of functioning within the level of anger and to discover how the anger has manifested itself in the relationship breakup. Knowing the manifestations (if any) and the level of functioning provides the divorce coach with the information needed to commence a strategy of directing the anger into a balanced and focused force. This balanced and focused force can then be used to challenge the man into becoming a proactive, driven, and actively involved team member with his attorney.

Helping to direct the anger into a balanced and focused force is critical. During the divorce process a man will be asked to think rationally, with a level head. They will be told to get their emotions centered and their thinking focused when making decisions. Men must think clearly during negotiations. He can not and must not be clouded with angry thoughts and emotions about his spouse. Such anger can only result in irrational and emotional decision-making, resulting in decisions that are neither good for him nor anyone in his restructuring family.

Engagement in family court is the second most stressful event a person will experience (second only to the death of an immediate family member). Having to sort through all of this without the benefit of a divorce coach help can be daunting at best, disastrous at worst. As such, I believe the services of a professional experienced divorce coach is worth the investment.

These 10 Commandments for Men Going Through Divorce are provided for your thoughtful meditation and critical review:

10 Commandments for Men Going Through a Divorce

1. The right and wrong in a divorce is the same as the right and wrong in life: Being honest, congruent, just, and reasonable is right; Being dishonest, incongruent, unjust, and unreasonable is wrong.

2. Fair is not a part of this process. What is fair for us will probably be considered unfair to the other side. We need to leave the concept of fair out of our divorce equation.

3. We need to change what we need to change. We need to let go of those things over which we have no control, or no longer need, or no loner fits with who we are becoming.

4. Forgiving someone is not about them. It is about us. When we forgive we release ourselves from our bondage of hurt, anger, frustration, and confusion.

5. When we change, others around us must inevitably change.

6. Like our life, our divorce will be different. We need to take outside advice as generalized information for referral purposes only. Relying on misinformation from others is dangerous.

7. One of the best releases for stress is physical activity. If we are already physically active, we need to stay active. If we are not active, we need to start immediately.

8. Emotions and feelings are our body’s way of letting us know we are alive. Not right or wrong, they just are. We either deal with our emotions and feelings on our terms, or we allow them to deal with us on their terms (usually through our self-destructive behaviors).

9. Whether things are going right or whether they are going all wrong, everything changes. Be prepared for change. Be prepared for the unexpected. Being prepared for change and the unexpected allows us to roll with the punches without being knocked out of the fight.

10. We must treat others as we want to be treated – with respect, with patience, with acceptance, and with unconditional love.