It’s funny how divorce opens your eyes to things you never realized when you were married.
I know this won’t apply to all men struggling in marriage. But it applies to nearly 100% of the men who contact me for help. And it applied to me when I was in their shoes.
We’re guys who thought everything was going along pretty well – not great – but okay. We thought the problems, arguments, silent treatments and ice cold bedrooms were things every normal marriage endured.
And we thought we would still have the life-long commitment and certainty of the promises made on our wedding day. Even knowing full well that our marriage had a 50/50 shot at permanence from the start, we assumed we were in the other half.
Until now. Now we’re caught with our pants down and not in a good way.
She’s not happy and we’ve gotten a glimpse of how bad this could turn out if we don’t turn something around fast.
Panic strikes. Urgency fills every waking moment. We pull out all the stops to slow down the train of despair.
This is when we start screwing up worse and we pick all the wrong things to do.
Here are 3 secrets (I’ve got dozens for you) which can help you not screw up.
These became crystal clear for me after my divorce. Yeah, bad timing, but sometimes it’s the only way we learn. I hope they will serve you now.
Good news. I found out they are incredibly useful even after divorce.
Secret #1: You will instantly improve your relationship by giving much less of a f*ck than you do now.
Yes. You must care less – not more. The problem here is that you’ve been giving way too much of a f*ck about everything lately.
You’re worried about what she says, how she says it, her tone, her facial expression and her word choice. You’re wondering where she is, who she is texting and why she changed her Facebook photo.
You’re asking her too many questions and insisting on longer and longer heavy conversations.
You’re giving too much of a f*ck what she thinks about you.
You wake up every day to see if you are going to have a good day or a bad day based on the only gauge you can see on your “dashboard” of well-being. It’s a solitary gauge with her face on it.
The gauge measures either empty or full. You’re either happy or not happy.
She loves me or loves me not. She’s talking to me or not. She touches me or not. She kisses me or not. And she’s giving me sex or not.
At this point you have to just stop giving a f*ck. Everything you’re doing isn’t helping her and it’s certainly not helping you. Your confidence, emotional strength and ability to see clearly will plummet if you don’t stop.
In most cases, she is simply spreading her wings, making a plea for space, a little freedom and fun. It’s a test of your ability to give her some independence without having a meltdown.
The only way to pass the test is to not give a f*ck. Spread your own wings. Start playing more. Find things that light you up and make you laugh. Just like you did before she met you.
No more interrogations of her and every little thing she does.
Yep, this is extremely difficult, I know. It’s the only way and it’s the very best gift you can give to yourself and your own mojo.
It’s also the only man she may be able to respect, connect with and desire again.
Secret #2: You can be a whole lot better in bed than you are right now.
I realize you may not be having much sex right now. It doesn’t matter.
The truth is that you’ve been slacking off in the sex department which led you both into a rut. A boring routine with no variety and no stamina. Unsatisfying and mostly obligatory.
Now is the time to recharge your sexual energy and value. There are countless books, seminars, podcasts and videos to help you.
Divorced guys do this all the time. We start learning more about anatomy, physiology, psychology and biology. We learn about “27 Ways to Give Her Incredible Oral Sex”. (I bet you tried to click that, didn’t you?) We start working out and buying clothes that actually fit. We begin talking to women more confidently than ever before – even when we were married.
And the sex is amazing. You’re saying and doing things you’ve never said or done before. Your stamina goes through the roof. You feel like your sexual worth – your gift of physical intimacy – has more power and value than ever before. You’ve got your mojo back.
The secret here is to not wait until you’re divorced to make this a major area of improvement in your life. Assuming your sex life resumes you will be prepared to start a new chapter with her.
You can start this process tonight. And you should. Do it for yourself first.
Secret #3: Divorce is much less scary than you’re thinking it is right now.
This is almost as hard to get through your head as Secret #1. It’s natural for you to feel afraid right now.
Uncertainty. Failure. Shared custody. Finances. Dating again. The dog.
These fears create a “mind movie” that wakes you up around 4am every morning in a cold sweat.
It’s these fears that make it hard to not give a f*ck. And like I said, if you can’t find your way to ratchet down your give-a-f*ck index, things will get only worse. The knot in your gut will never go away.
Being gripped in fear about divorce will cripple your ability to respond in healthy ways. You need to get your emotions and your reactions under control. You need more clarity and emotional strength to respond to the stress in ways that increase your self-respect.
You also will need the fortitude to develop some empathy for your wife. Yes, empathy. It’s the only thing that will help you understand that every single thing she does is not about you. You’re not a horrible man and she’s not a horrible woman.
Human beings have baggage and you are now witnessing some of hers. Empathy will set you free.
Here’s the truth about divorce.
The actual process and aftermath of divorce isn’t all that bad. I see way too many men figuring this out in their first year after divorce and realizing they over-dramatized the trauma of splitting up.
They are living larger, bolder and more confidently than they ever imagined.
I realize that your fears also are tied up in your marriage values, religious commitments and the impact of divorce on your children. Those are real and they are scary.
What I’m trying to tell you is that by allowing an irrational, numbing sense of fear take over, you will continue screwing up.
Fear makes you desperate and needy. It makes you complain, argue and throw fits.
Fear makes you feel like crap about yourself.
Fear severely lowers any possibility you have to become the kind of man who just might save his marriage.
You must calmly come to terms with the possibility of divorce so you have the strength and focus to work on the one thing that matters more than saving your marriage at this point.
That’s saving yourself first.
I wrote a free e-book to help men learn how to lose their fear and be more bold in their marriage to create the love and connection they want. Get The Hard to Swallow Truth About Saving Your Marriage HERE
If you want to learn more about how to take a bigger step toward being a clear-headed, confident man of action, then find out more here. I would be thrilled to help you get there – our first discovery call is always free and always gives you a BIG boost of confidence.
You WILL become a clearer, stronger, more confident man only through other men. Your woman cannot take you there – and she doesn’t WANT to…trust me on that.
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Photo: Seth Lemmons/Flickr