While some people certainly make stereotypes come to life, there are also a lot of unfair stereotypes in this world. In my own experience, my ex has fit the bill with some of the stereotypes you’ll see here; but many of my divorced friends and associates do not fall into these harsh, and sometimes untrue, assumptions about divorced men.
Not every woman or man who divorced is exactly how you imagine them: the money hungry ex-wife, the deadbeat ex-husband.
Here are stereotypes that divorced men face each day—no matter how good a man he is, or not.
It was his fault.
A lot of people assume the divorce was the man's fault—at least initially. Obviously, if people know a couple, they'll have an idea of the "root" of the issues, but most times when I tell people I am divorced, they assume it was my ex's fault. I'm not going to personally reveal the source of our divorce, but I am stating that many people assume the guy either was a cheater, jerk, or the cause of the marital discord.
He's hiding money.
How many divorced men have been accused of hiding assets during their divorce process? If I can count you through your show of hands, it would take a long time. People tend to believe that men are dishonest about their finances when it comes to divorce.
He's angry about paying you.
People believe—and it's commonly seen—that men don't want to pay out in a divorce. Not to the ex-spouse, and not to the kids. The angry man paying alimony trope is seen over and over again. It's not fair, of course, to men who pay child support and aren't stingy or trying to make their former spouses suffer (and by the way, women pay support also).
He wants revenge.
Everyone thinks the ex-husband can't stand the former wife; that he's ready to wrangle her down in a wrestling pit of mud and wishes she would disappear off the face of the earth.
I can't count how many times people asked if my ex had an affair—and no, I'm not spilling the beans either way! People assume women could never just leave a man because she's not happy. They assume the man was screwing his secretary or some other stereotype—which, hey, is sometimes true.
He sees his kids every other weekend.
While some dads, unfortunately, take a hands-off approach to parenting after divorce, there are many dads who actively see their kids each week. And for those dads, we ladies and moms salute you!
He's having a mid-life crisis.
He divorced you in some mid-life crisis rage, and now he's off driving a sports car, dying his hair, and banging twenty-year-olds. How many times have we seen this stereotype play out, even in book and film?
He filed first and he's a shark.
People assume the man filed for divorce and that, of course, he's aggressively taking his former wife down with his shark of a lawyer, who is also male and an a**hole. The divorced man decided he had enough, and then went for the throat; that's what people think, day in and day out.
He makes the kids suffer.
People assume that the man isn't paying for the kids' activities and/or clothing or what have you because, somehow, he’s afraid that darn ex-wife is going to get all his money. People assume he's letting the kids suffer.
The bottom line is some of these—or perhaps all of these—may be true if you're a divorced man, or none of them.
There are a few things that do seem to happen time and again, but to assume that all divorced men or all divorced women behave, or respond, in a set way is detrimental to all of us. While my own ex has been hurtful in his own ways, I never assume the divorced men I meet in my dating pursuits are exactly like him.
Having an open mind and creating direct and open dialogue between divorced people of all genders and sexual orientations could change the way people survive, and live, after divorce. Just saying.
Written by Laura Lifshitz
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated, writer, comedienne, and single mother. Laura will work for chocolate. The former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate is currently writing about divorce, sex, women's issues, fitness, parenting, marriage and more for the New York Times, DivorceForce, Women's Health, Redbook, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, Your Tango and numerous other sites. Her own website is FromMTVToMommy.com.