Many men find it hard to deal with problems they can’t solve. Some lash out in anger, drink too much or gamble. Others work too hard or become anxious, depressed, isolated and alone.
Actions that have worked more successfully for men to cope with a separation include continuing with normal activities (work, sport, hobbies etc.) and experimenting to find what works for them.
Often the last thing men want is to seek support of any kind. But never be afraid to ask – people want to help. Support can be found in friends, family, work colleagues, other separated men, a local doctor or counselling services. Most men who seek this kind of support say they find it helpful and wish they’d done it sooner.
- Make a list of people you can talk to.
- Write down the questions you have.
- Be prepared to talk – don’t bottle it up.
- Don’t give up on people, no matter how hard it may be.
After separation has occurred there is often a need to reconnect with a new close relationship and to feel wanted and cared for once more.
It is important to be open to developing a new relationship but to take it slowly. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of your original relationship and take time to re-establish your own independent interests, pastimes and social networks.
Some men join interest groups and enjoy companionship but remain unattached. Some establish a committed relationship that includes children from other relationships.
Violence and abuse
Separation can be an argumentative and volatile process. Some partners might respond to the stress by being violent, but abuse is never an acceptable response. The consequences of abusive behaviour include:
- your children could become afraid of you
- your access to your children could be restricted
- assault charges and legal intervention orders can be taken out against you
Seek support to change through domestic abuse programs or counsellors.
Some men are abused or threatened by their former partners. If this is the case, it is best to keep contact to a minimum, always be accompanied by a friend when you do have contact, and avoid retaliation in kind. Contact local police if there is a serious threat to your safety.
Relationships Australia WA’s Family Abuse Integration Response is staffed by experienced counsellors with qualifications in psychology, social work and/or counselling.
They offer group programs to men, women and children to help where there has been abuse in their families or relationships.