Divorce affects men and women differently. Men going through divorce are more likely to suffer emotionally. Women are more likely to suffer financially.
Studies find that “men were six times more likely to be depressed following a separation or divorce than men who remained married. That was nearly double the likelihood of divorced or separated women undergoing a similar episode compared to women whose marriages were intact”1. One reason for this seems to be the result of men losing daily contact with their children. Losing daily contact with one’s children is a huge source of anxiety, which can lead to depression. Often times, even in cases where man has only been peripherally involved in the day to day activities during the marriage, losing that daily opportunity for contact with ones children can be overwhelming.
Women, on the other hand, suffer financially. Women are about “three times more likely than men to suffer a substantial loss in household income after their marriage broke down.”2 Studies have reported that women “experience a 73 percent drop in their standard of living during the first year following divorce. Men, on the other hand, often fare better in terms of the financial effects of divorce.”2 According some statistics, men “enjoy a 42 percent rise in standard of living within the first year of divorce.”2 Although most women do receive child support, and in some cases spousal support, it still very expensive to run two households and, in most cases, men seem to fare better in these circumstances. As a result, most divorced women have to find a new means of establishing financial security. This new financial stress and, often times complete upending of a women’s lifestyle (e.g. stay at home mom going back to full time work) can cause extreme anxiety. Divorce is difficult for men and women for different reasons.
When mediating a divorce settlement, good mediators encourage parties to step in each other’s shoes. Thus, when going through mediation, men will do well to think about the serious financial anxiety their soon-to-be-ex-wives are experiencing. Women, on the other hand, would do well to recognize the extreme anxiety their soon-to-be-ex-husbands are dealing with as regards the children.
Posted by Jessica Wilds, Graine Mediation Intern
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