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Why support groups can benefit men going through a divorce

People go to a number of sources for advice and support during a divorce. This can include friends, family, therapists and support groups. The last of these is something that men turn to less frequently than women. It may be a stereotype, but there is some truth to the fact that men are generally less comfortable sharing their feelings than women are.

However, there are advantages to joining a support group of other men who are also going through a divorce. They can provide an important resource for acceptance, camaraderie and advice. They can also help you get things off of your chest so that you are free to talk with your buddies and your family about other things -- something they may appreciate, whether they say so or not. Support groups can provide a safe space that often helps people share things that they wouldn't with people in their family and social circles. Here are some other benefits:

-- They generally help people feel less alone. While no two divorces are alike, there are many commonalities that divorced and divorcing men share, including the loss of some of their assets and having less access to their children. Further, there's a wisdom to be gained from the collective experience of others. This is essential at a time when you're making crucial decisions about your life and future.-- They help men get in touch with and express their feelings, whether its sadness, anger, rejection or any of the emotions that go with the end of a marriage. The more you're able to deal with those emotions in a safe space, the healthier your other relationships, including with your ex and your children, will likely be.

-- They provide honest feedback or "tough love" that your friends and family may be afraid to do. It's easy and tempting to blame your spouse for the break-up, when likely you both had some role in it. If you don't take an honest look at yourself, you're more likely to repeat the mistakes you made in your next relationship. A support group can provide an important reality check.

If you think that a men's support group might be helpful as you move through your divorce, your attorney can likely provide you with information about some in your area or with names of therapists who facilitate these support groups as part of their practice.

Source: Huffington Post, "10 Ways Joining a Support Group Changes a Man’s Divorce," Karen Covy, July 15, 2016

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