Bitch, please. I got this.
No. Really. As resourceful and resilient singledom has allowed me to become, as I turn the corner on four years without a ring on it, I know this for certain. Men are important. Never fool yourself into thinking you can live without them. If my social circle only consisted of women, I might hang myself with a pair of Spanx and, just to make sure I ended, puncture my liver with a McQueen heel. Life needs testosterone.
With that in mind, I’d like to present you with the 5 men that every divorced mom needs in her life.
And I would know…I’m as single as a dollar bill.
1. The Handyman.
No shit. The Handyman is Numero Uno in your life. You don’t have to sleep with him and he’ll change your air conditioner filters. Seriously, how awesome does it feel not to have to negotiate sex to get something done around the house?!? Finding the perfect Handyman is more important than finding a boyfriend. I am non-sexually in love with my current Handyman. I hit the Tool Time jackpot with this one. He hangs chandeliers without asking me to swing from them, digs post without asking to “post” me, and lays carpet without…well, you get the picture. I would give you his number, but, fuck that! I’m keeping him to myself.
2. The Hot Neighbor.
Everyone needs that equally single guy neighbor that can come running should you have an emergency. He’s like the backup quarterback. You don’t plan on using him, but he’s nice to keep around. His hotness level is irrelevant, but since mine happens to be hot, really hot, I figured I’d take this moment to brag about it. (Unfortunately, he has an equally attractive girlfriend, which makes my walking my dogs back & forth in front of his house, hoping he’ll walk out for a conversation, slightly psychotic.) The single neighbor is the guy you call if something seems awry in your house at midnight, or if your car won’t start.
3. The Ex.
You don’t like to admit it. I don’t like to admit it, but the ex-knows us pretty damn well. So much so, that when you get crazy because the guy you went out with on Monday hasn’t called and it’s Wednesday, you can call the ex and he talks you down. Because he knows your crazy….he’s experienced it first hand. Always keep an Ex on deck for moments of insanity. Of course, this one is totally up to you. If he left you high and dry and you want nothing to do with him, that’s understandable.
4. Friend With Benefits.
No explanation needed but, in case you do, here is an article for you. A woman has needs.
5. Secret Crush.
It’s not really a secret that I have a crush on the produce guy at my grocery store. It’s not like I stalk him (I don’t even regularly BUY groceries!) or know his schedule or anything creepy like that, but on that rare occasion when I see him, terrible thoughts enter my head that involves knocking down entire displays of apples.
I know. I’m a bad grocery girl. But quite honestly, everyone needs a secret crush…and not just single ladies. An SC lets you know you are still alive. That no matter how routine and humdrum your life may seem, you still have that spark of frisky.
So if you’re single like me, you keep these five in your bullpen until the ONE comes along to make them all obsolete.
I grew up in a traditional family. My dad went to work every day. My mother worked too, but she was a school teacher. This meant she was home earlier in the afternoon, fixed dinner, did the dishes, and saw to it that we had our baths and a bedtime story.
My father read the newspaper or watched TV in the evenings. On weekends, my mother cleaned the house, while dad did the yard work or changed the oil in their cars. Each had their roles to play. My mother was the “softer” person; my father the harder tough “fixer.”
We have long lived in a society in which the differences between men and women in relationships have been discussed. Women are the romantics, the half of a partnership that craves physical and verbal affection.
Men are the less demonstrative half who crave compliments about their deeds, who want respect for their positions as the heads of the households. Women value emotion; men value logic. But these traditional roles have become murky and gray over recent decades, and what men want to hear from their partners may now be quite different.
Here are 11 things men need to hear from their partners
1. I appreciate you. In a healthy partnership, both members sincerely want to help and support one another. When a man has shown his support and help, he does want to be recognized for that. In fact, don’t we all? It is important for him to know that his partner has understood his contribution and can verbally tell him so. Being appreciated fosters inner feelings of self-worth.
2. I understand. When a man is going through a rough patch, when he is upset about situations and events, when his career is not going as he wishes, he does not want criticism or “should do’s.” He wants empathy. Far better for a partner to say, “I ‘get’ that you are upset and angry. I understand the feeling. If you can think of any way I can help or if you just want to talk, I’m here.”
3. Take What Time You Need. Sometimes men just want to be alone. It is not a statement on the relationship or a lack of feeling for their partner. It is a genuine need to get off by himself and think things through that may have nothing to do with the partnership. Perhaps he is considering a career change, or going back to school, or how to deal with an issue at work. He needs space, and the wise partner will allow him that time.
4. I Apologize – Please Forgive Me. We all make mistakes in our relationships. We “blow up;” we say hurtful things; we’re inconsiderate. Men want to hear words of apology when they are warranted, and they need for the words to be sincere. When they hear these things, they are far more prone to do the same when they have been in the wrong.
5. You did such a great job. Whether he has decided to clean the garage, help with the laundry, or finish the chapter of that novel he is writing, a man wants the praise that should be given. While we often think that adults ought to be able to pat themselves on the back for their accomplishments and be satisfied with inner pride, this is not the case. Other people recognizing accomplishments, even smaller ones, and giving verbal acknowledgment, is important to all of us, and men are no different.
6. You are sexy/hot. Men may not communicate the need to be seen as attractive, but they appreciate being told that they are. Tell them in words such as “sexy” or “hot,” and you will have a guy who acts that way.
7. Why don’t you go spend some time with your friends? What a welcome statement! Especially if he has been stressed at work or taking care of you while you have been sick or involved in a major home improvement project. It’s time for a break, and he needs to know that you see this and want him to have it.
8 — Thank you. Say it often for little and big things. Again, it says that you notice the nice things he does and that you appreciate them. Earning your gratitude is important.
9. Tell me your dreams. Most men are future-looking. They know where they would like to be in five, ten, etc. years. They may have dreams that include striking out on their own someday or getting a degree. There may be hobbies they want to pursue. When you ask this and truly listen, they know their goals are important to you.
10. I need you. When men hear this from their partners, they beam inside. Everyone loves to be needed by those they love. It’s not that you must have him in your life for financial support. It’s because he completes you in so many ways. He provides encouraging words when you are down; he adds humor when you need it; he provides you with greater insight and perspective. And there is no greater feeling for a man than this.
11. I believe in you. This relates to being supportive, but it is more than that. When you tell a man you believe in him, you are really saying that his decisions are good, his plans are based upon his best thinking, and that you know he has the skills and talents to accomplish whatever he wishes. And this needs to come from you because you are the person whose opinion he values the most.
Relationships are complicated. Individuals in them will never always agree; and there will be bad feelings, anger, and disappointment in even the most “perfect” partnerships. Men, like women, are also complicated, individuals. They have thoughts, feelings, and emotions that they do not always show (vestiges of cave protection and other ancient roles), but they are certainly there within. They need validation; they need to be appreciated, and they need the inner joy that comes from being told how much they matter. Relationships can withstand a lot of tough challenges and dangerous waters if these 11 things are said and said often.
My Facebook feed is filled with divorced or almost divorced women turning to each other for support and there is one thing you won’t find on there:
Single dads and divorced dads are not gathering in tribes on social media boards or in person to chat about their plight and experience with divorce even if they want to.
Why Men Don’t Seek Support From Each Other During Divorce
A study published in 2000 in the Psychological Review, showed that stressed women “tend and befriend” while men go for the “fight or flight” option. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that when stressed, men’s brains omit less oxytocin, that feel-good love hormone than women. And according to statistics produced by the American Psychological Association in 2011, women (70%) are more apt to do something to reduce their stress than men (50%) are.
No matter which way we slice it, research shows that men tend to go the solo route when it comes to working through stress while women look for company along the way. Men don’t want to raise their hands and say, “Hey everyone, my life sucks,” or “I miss my ex-wife,” or “It’s really hard raising kids in a single parent home.” Doing that would mean admitting pain and hardship, something that isn’t considered a masculine trait and let’s face it, while women have been the oppressed gender from the start, men also suffer from unfair stereotypes and expectations.
It’s not OK, according to society, for a man to cry.
“Be a man, suck it up.”
You’ve heard that phrase tossed around and so have I. We tell men to be brave and strong and to keep a straight face. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief and sadness. So it isn’t surprising then that single dads and divorced men are not looking for a support group, but to me, this limits divorced men and single dads from moving past divorce in a healthy way.
If men could form groups or did form groups, it could help them grieve divorce and learn new parenting strategies from other dads. If a man did reach out to another man to say, “Hey, how did you find a good custody schedule,” or “Is mediation the better route?” it would be beneficial for that just-divorcing dad. Going solo on such a huge time of adversity like becoming a divorced, single dad seems risky, from my female-wired brain.
It could also be the reason men seem to jump into new relationships, faster. A new partner might just be the divorced man’s support group, but that is problematic too. Another woman shouldn’t be your springboard for grief and renewal.
So for all the divorced dads out there, why not see befriending or growing your support network of other divorced and single dads in a different light, rather than seeing it as a “b*tch fest” or gathering like a group of old ladies?
See it as a:
- A chance to network: Maybe your new friends will have good business contacts or even better, cute single female friends.
- A chance to mentor: If you’re a single dad mentoring a man who’s going through the divorce process, you can be a father figure to someone going through the experience—an adoptive son or little brother, as it were.
- A chance to learn from others: Use your man brain and be logical: someone who has been there or done that will know certain pitfalls to avoid as you go through the divorce process that you wouldn’t have known without asking someone in the “know.”
To all the divorced dads or “going through a divorce” dads, why not do things a little differently in your life? Making contacts and building a support network isn’t just for women. It’s for smart people who want to make a huge life adjustment a bit easier or in other words, it’s for you!
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