Posts tagged ‘divorce men’
By Beth Neuman
Although both men and women can face a tough period of transition following the break-up of a marriage, men often have a more difficult time reorganizing their lives after divorce. Because women typically retain custody of the children and residence of the marital home, men face the dual challenge of adjusting to their new parental role and making a new home.
Men who have had little or no input into the day-to-day household decisions while married often find the latter task to be the most perplexing. For some men in this situation, the last time they were responsible for maintaining their own home, their apartments were decorated with empty liquor bottles and furniture from their parent’s basement.
While reliving these days – and décor – may seem at first like a romantic notion or an expression of lost youth, this is not something that often works out in the long run. A messy or unfurnished home could hurt a guy’s chances with new relationships because women often see a man’s living space as a reflection of the whole person and his potential as a mate. But most importantly, divorced men need to provide a comfortable and appropriate living environment for visitation with their children.
Unfortunately, getting your life and living space together after a divorce takes time – something many men who work long hours just don’t have. Although many men have the resources, they simply don’t have the time or knowledge to get their lives on track.
A new company, Hemancipation Interiors for Men (HIM), focuses exclusively on guiding men through this transition. The company’s select group of consultants taps into a nationwide network of resources and experts to help men find a new residence and create a comfortable new home after divorce. Because Hemancipation Interiors for Men employs interior designers, architects, lifestyle consultants and relationship managers, they offer divorced men a variety of experts that can assist them based on their own specific needs.
According to the company’s founder, Akilah Kamaria, the inspiration for Hemancipation Interiors for Men came from an item in the society section of a newspaper. The note was about a successful businessman whose wife had filed for a divorce. He was spotted in the lobby of the luxury hotel where he had taken up residence. The notation was not kind – he was being ridiculed because he was living in the hotel. Kamaria said that although she did not know the circumstances of the divorce she felt compassion for the man whose life had evidently been turned upside down.
“That’s when my journey began,” said Kamaria. “I needed answers so I initiated discussion with men – a lot of men – everywhere I went. I wanted to know what choices and services were available to them. So I talked to therapists and attorneys, I talked to men in barbershops, in taxicabs, in elevators, on the street and at grocery stores. I also searched the web, read books, magazines or any relevant literature that I could find on the subject. One thing was soon evident: no matter the socio-economic scale, from CEO’s to the security guard in the lobby, the male experience was consistent. They did not have a resource.”
Kamaria said all the stories were unique, but had a common thread. One gentleman said it has been five years since his divorce (his wife was cheating while he worked two jobs) and he was still struggling to get his life back on track. Another gentleman went to church one Sunday morning and came back home to an empty house, his wife had taken all their belongings and he was left with nothing. One divorced man moved into the couple’s second home when the divorce was final and quickly discarded everything in the home because he always hated his ex-wife’s taste. According to Kamaria, these men had the financial resources, but were living in empty unfurnished houses because they lacked the time, inclination or knowledge to create a comfortable space.
Kamaria said she was surprised to find many women were not supportive of her endeavor.
“The general female population was not interested in my newfound desire to assist men,” Kamaria said. “They expressed an odd displeasure with me as if I was betraying the gender by even caring what men were experiencing. As if men somehow deserved the hardship and punishment of divorce. No matter the fact that maybe he was the ‘good’ guy in all of this.”
The fact is everyone, especially men, need support during the transition that follows divorce. And there are many issues newly single fathers have to consider that may have previously been their ex-wife’s domain: food allergies and food preferences, medicine, clothes shopping, decorating, favorite toys, doctor’s information, hobbies and school functions.
The following are six tips developed by Kamaria for dads looking to make their new homes kid-friendly. More information on Kamaria and Hemancipation Interiors for Men can be found online at www.hisdesigner.com.
Private Space: Ensure that child has their own space in your home. Sleeping on a sofa/floor or in an open area is not conducive to having your child feel stable in your home. For teen girls, make sure there are little mini containers in the bathroom for her personal affects.
Decorating Dad: Invite your children to help with decorating their room in your new home. Your child can pick paint colors, posters, and toys to decorate the room. If you keep a second set of their favorite items, clothes, toys, games, etc. it eliminates the drama of forgotten toys and clothes while transferring from mom’s place to dad’s place. It helps the child to feel secure and make visits less traumatic.
Leather Love: Men’s preference for leather works well with children because it is a great fabric that is easily cleaned of minor spills. Leather is great to create a comfortable masculine space and your child can bring their dog or cat for the weekend because leather does not collect pet hair.
Safety First: Men and women see things differently and mothers are on the lookout in the father’s space for safety issues, items that may pose a danger to children. Look around your home; is it clean and comfortable? Take an inventory of items that may be issue- Glass tables, sharp edges on furniture, cleaning supplies under the cabinet, stairs without a stair guard, etc. If you have toddlers, crawl around on the floor to see what they see at their eye level. Ex-wives I have spoken to did not want the children visiting Dad’s new residence because they were concerned about perceived safety issues although they never mentioned it to the ex-husband.
Image is Everything: Make sure there are images in your home of your children, especially if you have remarried and have children with your new wife. Children notice if they are not represented and will feel unwanted and forgotten even if they do not mention it. For dads handy with a computer, use your children pictures to create the screensaver on your home computer. It’s a nice touch; and if you are not computer literate, you can ask your child to do it. They will enjoy the task and appreciate the attention from dad.
Create School Space: Ensure that your children have space to do homework in your new residence, even if you are living in a small space. Make sure there is a desk or area for the child to work. This shows that you have thought of their needs even if you are no longer with them each day. Sign up for your child’s’ school newsletter to stay involved in their activities. Most schools have online sites, so check out the school calendar.