It can be easy to take sides after a divorce. Our society is practically conditioned to “choose” one spouse or the other, or to automatically assign blame. It’s not uncommon for a couple’s friends to assume the husband initiated divorce proceedings. However, often times it’s the wife, and the husband is left blindsided and with a diminished social circle.

Dads who are served with divorce papers, in particular, often see a big lifestyle change at the end of a marriage, and it isn’t always easy. There’s a stereotype that men break free after a divorce and can’t wait to get back to the bachelor lifestyle. A lot of the time this isn’t true at all.

Let’s look at an example. Alan is served with divorce papers from his wife of 20 years. It catches him off guard, but he takes the high road by keeping the details private and not saying anything negative in front of the children or the couple’s friends.

Soon, though, he notices that he’s not invited over for family-style barbeques. Some of the couple’s friends don’t initiate social activities with him anymore, and he’s left off the invite list for school functions.

He needs to get used to a new living space without the comforts of the home he’s lived in for years. His kids don’t like it, either, and they tell him so when they visit. He has an obligation to support his ex-wife and his kids financially.

This isn’t how it is for every divorced dad. And divorced mothers often carry a similar burden. But the example shows that taking sides isn’t always clear cut and that divorce can be painful for men, too.

Source: Huffington Post, “Must divorced fathers become second class citizens?” Linda Lipshutz, May 23, 2012