I have represented many strong and successful men in divorces. The skill set which creates business success often does the opposite when seeking conflict resolution in a personal relationship.
Too often, men tend to handle negotiations in their divorce as they do in the boardroom. They become frustrated when their previously successful tactics do not work. Frustration often shows itself as anger, stubbornness, yelling, or complete withdrawal. The real obstacle to their successful divorce resolution is grief, or, rather, the failure to work through the grief.
Divorce is the second most traumatic event a person can experience, second only to the loss of a loved one. While there is plenty of information and support for women to work through the trauma of divorce, there is very little available to men. Why? Because “real men don’t cry.”
The reality: men do grieve the loss of their marriage, but their grief is expressed so differently it appears as aggression, arrogance, or as a complete lack of empathy to the untrained eye
We generally understand that men and women take in information differently. Men are typically more visual and women are typically more verbal. Many times men and women speak different languages. Men have three primary areas of their lives which greatly influences their level of self-esteem and impacts their sense of well-being: work, home, and sex. For women, these areas are money, family, and intimacy. No overlap at all!
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. Men and women label these traits with different names, indicating just how differently we view them.
Divorce is all about these things: Work, home, family, money, sex and intimacy. Without speaking the same language, it’s no surprise men and women have so much trouble navigating marriage and divorce. So let’s take a closer look at these concepts based on my experience as a divorce coach working with many couples on these issues.