CPR To the Rescue
Part of the Men Moving On — After Divorce Series

by Sam J. Buser, Ph. D.


One of the most common problems men face after divorce is how to move on with their lives–especially with regard to starting a new and better relationship. If you are a newly divorced guy, you might need CPR.

C – Comradeship
P – Pain Tolerance
R – Readying (yourself for a new relationship)


Just “being” with others can be hard for some people, particularly for men. As men, we have been trained to “do” things with others, not just chat. This is the main way in which guys spend time together.

If there’s free time during the week, guys may get together with buddies and develop a poker night. Other men go bowling, or two guys may go out to the driving range and knock out a bucket of balls before having a sandwich.

They may eventually chat as much as women do, but it’s organized around an activity. In a sense, these activities make it easier for men to get involved with each other because the activity is taking precedence.

This is characteristic of men regardless of their age. So find activities that you would enjoy doing with others as a way of building more connections.

Pain Tolerance

No one wants to experience pain, but the only people who don’t experience pain are dead people. It is natural to feel pain about losing the woman in your life. If a man isn’t feeling any pain, then he probably didn’t care too much about her.

Dealing with Anger

Often men are feeling anger and outrage more than pain. Divorce doesn’t hurt so much if we are “pissed off” at her. Covering the pain with hostility is a major reason why so many divorces end with huge animosity. It is also the source of a steady stream of nasty jokes about the “ex.” That kind of anger, though, will often come back to haunt us. It is harder to let go of a marriage if you are dwelling on how you were wronged. This anger can also interfere with your next relationship, and it can harm the kids since it makes it more difficult to function as co-parents after the divorce.

Dealing with Your Feelings

A lot of men try to deaden their feelings about divorce by hitting the bottle or working more hours. If you postpone dealing with your feelings in one of these ways, the pain will generally be even worse later. This will be especially true for men that make a few bad decisions along the way (e.g., getting remarried too soon; getting a DUI).

Belly Up

The best strategy is to “belly up” to the pain. Rather than building up bad habits to avoid the pain, try forming good ones that you have been putting off: lose that extra weight, join the gym, develop that hobby, learn about yoga, or take a martial arts class.

Readying (yourself for a new relationship)

After a divorce it may take a while for you to re-orient yourself to being single again.
Remember to:

  • Cleanse yourself of anger.
  • Prepare yourself to be the person you’d like her to meet.
  • Get out into settings where she might meet you.
  • See the process as a learning experience.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not a “finished product” on the first date.
  • And keep your sense of humor.

Remember that professionals recognize divorce as one of life’s most stressful experiences. It’s no surprise if it is not a piece of cake for you.

Excerpted in part from The Guys-Only Guide to Getting Over Divorce and on with Life, Sex, and Relationships
(2009, Bayou Publishing) by Sam J. Buser, Ph.D. and Glenn F. Sternes, Ph.D.

About the Author

Sam J. Buser, Ph.D. is past-president of the Texas Psychological Association and a member of the American Psychological Association’s Division 51 (Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity).

With more than 20 years experience in treating men, Buser is an adjunct faculty member of the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Houston, teaching graduate courses in marital and family therapy. He has appeared on the nationally syndicated Montell Williams Show, and is featured frequently on local radio and television programs as an expert on a variety of psychological topics. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas.

Melodie Tucker

Melodie Tucker is a Mars Venus Success Coach and Seminar Leader, trained by Dr. John Gray, author of the world famous "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" series.She has helped men and women all over the world create great relationships that last.

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