Is divorce sinful? Well, if we act like good men and continue to take care of everyone involved because of our divorce, we are already doing the best we can. As men, sometimes we don’t really have a choice when we were requested to divorce. However, what happens NEXT and how we handle is important.
During and after our divorce, there is a phenomenon between men and our family of origin. This article is likely one of the first literature to discuss about this phenomenon of no name. The phenomenon is, we find ourselves trying to isolate from our dear original family members, including our aging parents, our siblings, and very close friends.
Many fathers may not be aware of this phenomenon. In fact, it has profound impact on our parents, brothers, sisters, and those who really care about us. It is another “side effect” of divorce.
Phenomenon of deliberate distancing between a man and his family after divorce
Let’s discuss first, why is there such a phenomenon of deliberate distancing?
1. Family confused and supportive
During divorce, even our closest family members might not fully support our divorce. During the process, we had some verbal quarrels with them. When we told our family how our wives were violent to us, it was sad to see that not only the outsiders didn’t believe us, but also our own dear family members did not fully buy into our story (even it was all true!) Even our family members would say, as a man, just bear with it. Or, is it because you are not nice enough to her? Ever heard of “happy wife happy life“? Our family members still try to communicate with our wives or ex-wives, and even try to speak for her.
2. Family traumatized by ex-wife
Next, as our family members continue to talk with the ex-wife, they became frustrated. They saw their grandchildren were alienated and taken away. The ex-wife who used to be sweet and polite became a cold woman. They were even threatened by her. At this time, we didn’t want to visit our sad parents. That reminded us of the past, where we took the whole family to a family reunion happily. The trauma of “losing the grandchildren” became our shadow every time we reunite with our parents.
3. Not mentally prepared to see family
After the divorce, we might find our mental and physical condition not good enough to see our parents. We are afraid to see our parents’ worries. On the other hand, we don’t want to see our parents got disappointed at us. As a result, the motivation to visiting our parents was greatly reduced. Every time, we had to raise a lot of energy to go back. We didn’t want to go back anymore.
4. Lone son weirdness
Before getting married, a man is okay to be with his parents. After getting married and having children, a man goes back alone to his parents was never a good picture. That picture is very incongruous. It also reduces a man’s willingness to go back and see his parents.
Tips to comfortably reconnect with our family of origin
We know it’s not a good idea to distance ourselves with our aging parents and caring siblings. How can we counter this phenomenon to give ourselves back to them? Here are some useful tips provided by men having similar experiences:
1. Change the way of contact
Keep in touch with your parents in a less intrusive way. Examples include using text messages instead of talking on phone, and using video call instead of in-person meeting. In this way, we don’t need to be well-prepared. Even when we are in a bad mood, we can still keep them from noticing.
2. Increase the frequency of contact
We used to see each other once a week, but now we called every day. We contact our parents more often than before, but shorten the time in each call. We can easily start the conversation by asking how today goes. We let your parents know we are all right. Maybe your parents even have an impression that their son is more engaging than before. They won’t know it’s because we don’t want to talk too much.
3. Build a new family quickly
We still love our parents. We can’t stop ourselves from keeping a distance, but the trauma in our heart will not disappear because of keeping a distance. Therefore, the best treatment is to “repair and rebuild” at the same time – fight the divorce to repair the old, and start a new romance to build a new family.
The fact that we might not know is, all our parents want is see that we are well. Although they feel sad that they cannot see their grandchildren, they feel sadder to see their son devastated. When divorced, we should tell our loving family that we are determined to keep standing. We will bring the happiness back soon.