Avoid wallowing in bitterness and self-pity. The opposite risk of failing to recognize your wife’s sin against you (or somehow finding ways to justify or minimize it) is that you fall into anger, resentment, self-pity, and bitterness yourself.
Realistically, if someone does something bad to us, we are going to be angry about it. In fact, if we aren’t disturbed at some level, we probably haven’t fully accepted the reality of what that person has done. But we also need to make sure we go through the healing and forgiveness process and not end up stuck there (and also to remember that the anger of men does not accomplish the righteousness of God).
This bitterness can be directed not just at your ex-wife, but also at others we feel who have let us down: pastors, friends, etc. If you aren’t careful, you can end up like the people in that email above, which ends up repelling the very folks you need to help you move forward. I’ve seen way too many bitter, cynical, nihilistic people like this who populate the comment sections of manosphere type blogs. Don’t let that happen to you.
One thing I did in my divorce was to create a document with four sections: her good qualities, what I got out of being married to her, ways I hurt her, and ways she hurt me. I then prayed through these several times. I think it gave me a balanced perspective, especially over time, that did not lead to bitterness or to ignoring the realities of her actions.
Recognize that it will take a long time to fully discern the lessons you should take from your divorce. It’s natural for us to reflect on something bad that happened and try to learn what we did wrong so that we can correct it in the future.
In some cases, like say losing a game in sports, it’s pretty easy to dig right in and do this. In more complex situations of life, however, it can be very difficult for us to properly discern what actually went wrong and what we need to do. That’s because our mental models determine how we think about these situations, and our mental models are often wrong.
One commonly held model among Christians, for example, is the servant leader model, which is completely false as a model of attraction. This leads people in failed relationships or marriages to consider the ways in which they failed to act like servant leaders, and resolve to do better next time (or even to blame their own lack of servant leaderhood as the reason for the divorce). Sadly, they will likely discover the hard way again that doesn’t work.
A few months after my divorce I sat down and wrote out a series of nineteen personal failings that I felt had to be fixed before I could even contemplate being in another relationship. They were all substantive, legitimate items. But thinking back now, it seems to me that – putting her actions to the side and looking only at my own – the more decisive factors were not things that I did wrong, but the things I did that I thought were right. In particular, the very things I was most of proud of for being servant leader-like (before I’d even heard the term) were deeply counter-productive. It was only years later that I came to understand this.
It’s not uncommon for men who have been divorced to find their way to some “red pill” site and discover the shocking reality that their entire way of thinking about women and relationships was based on lies. Some of them sadly end up embracing the kind of nihilistic visions that the red pill community propagates. They end up as bitter, cynical, angry people (or worse) in the comment sections.
Be open to learning that your previous belief systems were wrong, but don’t give in to that kind of bitterness. Instead look to incorporate the truth into a system of belief that is more true to reality (recognizing that we’ll always have blind spots and errors) but still Christian and hopeful.
You can start by reading my material on attraction and relationships in Masc #17, Masc #18, Masc #21, and Masc #23. But just realize that if you are recently divorced, there’s probably a lot you don’t know, and as the saying goes, a lot of things you do know that ain’t so.
Even so, it is worth writing down what you think your lessons learned are early in the healing process. That will give you a good baseline to refer back to when seeing how your thinking has or has not changed over time.
Rebound relationships are almost certain to be a disaster. I’m sure you know this already but it bears repeating. What woman is likely to be attracted to a man who is just divorced or even still going through the divorce process? Think about it. Also, you are (or will be) in an emotionally vulnerable place that clouds your own judgment.
The challenge here is that you’re unfortunately more likely to have a woman willing to lend a sympathetic ear to you than you are male friends. When you are really hurting, this can be nearly impossible to resist.
I’ve never heard of a rebound relationship turning out well for either party. It may be best to simply avoid engaging in any one-on-one relationship with a non-relative female for a significant period of time. (See also Masc #25). If you do choose to enter such a relationship, just realize you are playing with fire.