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Guide for Recently Divorced Men in Boca Raton Part I

On December 1, 2021 by

When prospective clients contact Klein Law Group to have our divorce attorneys initiate or respond to proceedings, major processes of life-change are underway. These changes can have a significant impact on one’s finances, happiness, and health. 

Though every person responds to divorce uniquely, evidence from several long-term studies using aggregated data and surveys shows that men tend to cope differently than women during and following a divorce. In a 2020 article published by Harvard’s Medical School titled Marriage and Men’s Health, the author cites multiple surveys and studies that present a bleak picture for divorced men. Many flounder physically and psychologically after separation. The former is due to changes in diet and exercise habits. The latter is because the majority of men report that they rely on their wives as their primary form of social support.

Divorced men experience stress, depression and social isolation at significantly higher levels than their married counterparts. Some of the observed results of the differences in divorce for men and women include men becoming more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, a prolonged period of denial, depression, and grieving, devoting more time to their profession than is healthy, and casual sexual encounters. These have long-term impacts – it increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, and the likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted disease.

While Crazy, Stupid, Love shows men’s experience of marital separation for comic affect – the stages of isolation, depression, debauchery, and promiscuity it depicts are true to life. Reality understood via the statistics collected about men’s lives following divorce tells an aggregate story that is more tragic than comic, and yet that statistical tendency need not be the truth for all men.

Over our 65 years of combined legal experience, we have gained extensive insights into our client’s non-legal needs as well as their legal needs. To show our support for them, as they have supported us while acting as their champions in their fight for the freedom to start fresh, we decided to compile some of what has been shared with us into the following Guide for Recently Divorced Men in Boca Raton.

Stay Active, or Get Active

While women tend to lose weight in the first year after a divorce, men are statistically are more likely to gain weight after separation (Mata). The cause for this gained weight is that men decrease their level of physical activity, which puts them at greater risk for acute myocardial infarctions (Bourassa). Recently divorced men that want to live a longer, higher-quality of life must get moving physically as well as psychologically. Boca Raton has many options for men that have recently divorced. For one, many private physical fitness centers have exercise equipment and instructor-led classes. Some of these include:

  • LifeTime gym has been in business for over 15 years.
  • Busy Body has operated for more than ten years.
  • Other Boca Raton gyms, many of which now offer significant promotions to attract new customers since the end of COVID restrictions.

The Palm Beach County Department of Parks and Recreations has installed exercise courses and stations throughout county-owned parks. Alongside the many tracks for running, are stations for calisthenic training. This free alternative to the gym has the additional benefit of open air exercise. Being outside means you’ll receive vitamin D in the form of sunlight. As low levels of vitamin D are linked to depression and other chronic illnesses, exercising outside can be an easy and cost-effective form of therapy (Penckofer). In addition to combatting depression, medical researchers publishing in Environ Health have proven that sunlight has a positive impact on cognitive brain function as well!

When it comes to staying active, there’s no reason to be limited to cardio, traditional weightlifting, or calisthenics. One of our divorce clients didn’t like lifting weights, so he started taking Latin dancing classes at one of the many studios in the West Palm Beach area. He committed himself to two years of weekly instruction and found not only newfound confidence to perform in front of strangers, but also a community of people interested in advancing their skills in social settings.

Eat your Greens

In 2016 Social Science & Medicine published a longitudinal health study of 11,577 men and women. The results showed that while women’s diets were unaffected by divorce, divorce seriously disrupted the healthy eating habit of men. The disruption caused by divorce was so dramatic that it often had medical ramifications. Men’s levels of fruit and vegetable consumption declined by about 25% after a divorce. What took the place of it? Fatty foods. 

A similar study on marital status transitions using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth was presented at the American Sociological Association in 2011. It provided evidence that weight was gained when unhealthy eating habits were adopted. When your self-esteem is already suffering from the loss of a partner, gaining weight becomes another reason for a downward physical and mental health spiral.

What then ought a recently divorced man do? Simple: Eat your greens. And thankfully there are many options for men in Boca Raton to find places where they can get prepared or raw vegetables, fruits, grain, nuts and legumes.

Happy Cow is a directory of vegan restaurants with listings in Palm Beach GardensWest Palm BeachDelray BeachBoca RatonPompano BeachCoconut Creek, and  Fort Lauderdale.

If you’re going out with a group, and not everyone is up to eating only vegetables, Palm Beach TripAdvisor and Palm Beach Yelp have identified numerous restaurants with good vegetarian options.

Where are some of my favorites from all these directories?

Darbster serves fine vegan dining with a menu that has delightful regular fair and specials that will always impress. They are only open from Wednesday to Sunday and close early. Feel good not from the food, but from the fact that 100% of their profits go to the Darbster Foundation – which helps facilitate local animal adoption.

Christopher’s Kitchen is another example of haute cuisine. They serve the gamut from raw foods to molecular gastronomy. Its casual atmosphere is perfect for lunch or dinner, with covered outdoor seating by a babbling fountain in the Midtown PGA Plaza.

Maoz Vegetarian has locations in the Wellington Mall, the Town Center Mall, and the Sunrise Mills Mall. Because they are a chain restaurant, it’s worth noting that the high quality of its offerings have made it a success not just in the U.S. but also in Spain, Brazil, France, and the Netherlands.

Palm Beach County has numerous green markets for men that feel comfortable in the kitchen. You can get the healthy products you need, be out in the sunshine, and find yourself in social situations – three ways to help combat mortality statistics.

South Florida Green Markets:

Hold Off on Buying a New Car

According to the American Psychological Association, Money is the Top Stressor for Americans. If cultural stereotypes are an accurate indicator – one of the first things men do after ending their divorce is to buy a new car. While no sociological research has proven this to be ‘normal’ in a statistical sense – we have had clients first come to us for divorce and then come to us for bankruptcy as they were not strategic with their money.

It doesn’t matter whether you are thinking of visiting a BMW dealer in Delray BeachJupiter, or West Palm Beach, a dealer of Aston MartinsAlfa RomeosAudis, or Maseratis, a dealer selling a variety of foreign luxury cars like Prestige Imports, or you are interested in something domestically produced like a Tesla. Hold off until you are certain that your financial affairs are in order and that there are no risks on the horizon. It is certainly more sensible to buy a car after a divorce rather than during a divorce. And yet, it’s even better to reduce the causes for stress in your life while you are still processing the changes caused by divorce.

If there is a special event that you want to arrive at in style, Enterprise rents luxury cars out of their West Palm BeachDowntown Fort LauderdaleFort Lauderdale AirportMiami Beach, and Miami Airport locations. If you’re looking for something even more exotic, Prestige Luxury Rentals in Boca Raton has other options that will give you a taste of the experience without placing an expensive depreciating asset on your balance sheet.

Hold Off on Buying a New Boat

Boca Bash – An annual gathering that attracts thousands of boaters to the Boca Raton sandbar.

While it ought to go without saying that if I suggest you not buy a new car shortly after your divorce, the same holds true for a boat. So it does not seem like a purposeful omission: You should not buy a boat until after speaking with an accountant.

Shortly before the Great Recession impacted global markets, one of my clients had just completed a contested dissolution of marriage. If the economy had continued as it had without interruption, the risk he’d taken wouldn’t have been an issue. After the firm he worked at took a major hit, he lost his job. He didn’t start earning the same amount of money as he had until three years later. The seven times he was able to go out on the water with his “dreamboat” translated roughly to about $60,000 per trip. That’s just not worth it!

It’s understandable why someone would crave a watercraft. Palm Beach County has an active boat culture with fun events and activities that require a boat to participate. Some of the events and locations worth enjoying include:

Boat Parades

  • The Winterfest Boat Parade in Fort Lauderdale goes along the New River area. Winterfest is one of the few commercial parades where people can purchase tickets on commercial vessels decorated with lights and join in the fun.
  • The Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade starts in Jupiter and ends in Palm Beach. People set up watchpoints all along the intercoastal from start to end to see the boats pass by.
  • The Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade is the longest-running annual event of its kind in all of the United States.
  • Peanut Island – While not a parade in any traditional sense, many people with boats come here on the weekend for fun. There is a sandbar adjacent to this West Palm Beach island for easy moorage. On Saturday and Sunday, the area is often filled with revelers and entrepreneurs selling drinks and food from their boats.

Nevertheless, just because you see something within your price range at the Palm Beach International Boat Show, or the yacht of your dreams is now discounted on West Palm Beach Boat Trader, or someone at OneWater Yacht Group promised to find something you can afford, that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy it.

There’s a wide variety of options available across Palm Beach County if you want to go for a relaxing experience on the water.

  • Manatee Queen has been providing scenic charter tours in Jupiter, Florida since 1988.
  • Delray Yacht Cruises have been operating 90 and 105-foot boats by the Atlantic Avenue bridge since 2008. Their Instagram account shows pictures from their normal cruises, and they also do private charters.

If you want to be the captain of your boat, ClickandBoat is a directory of more than 40,000 private charter yachts, over 100 each in Palm BeachBoca RatonPompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.

If you want to go fishing, West Palm Beach Groupon has lots of options.

While you won’t be able to share the funny name you’ve given your boat, by keeping yourself from owning the Sea Señora or She Got The House until you’re certain you can afford it from a long term perspective – you’ll save yourself lots of potential stress.

Consider Adopting a Pet

Oxytocin is called the love hormone, the attachment hormone, and the “cuddle hormone. One of the ways it’s released is when you look into a person’s eyes or the eyes of a pet. A 2015 article in Science Magazine cites dogs, the first animal domesticated by man, as skilled in using the social communication behaviors of humans – including gaze. The authors state that this functioned to create a positive loop in the coevolution of human-dog bonds (Nagasawa).

What does this all mean for someone that is recently divorced? While a pet will never be able to supplant the qualities of an absent spouse or children that no longer live full time with you, they can function as a supplement object of affection and motivating cause for healthy behavior.  

The decision to adopt a pet should not be taken lightly given the many obligations and duties required to be a good caretaker for an animal. There is freedom in not having to worry about where to board a pet if you need to travel, costs associated with food, health care, toys, and accessories, or whether an animal is receiving a sufficient amount of love and attention. But if you can truly commit to taking care of an animal throughout its life, then it can be a deeply rewarding and therapeutic experience.

South Florida’s sunny weather and the fruits of civil activism by animal lovers mean there are many opportunities for pet lovers to enjoy public spaces. Some of the top dog park locations in Palm Beach County include:

Volunteer your Time to Animals

Not everyone can devote the years-long commitment necessary for pet ownership. Alternately, some people may live in a community where the Home Owners Association prohibits animals. Some places allow you to spend time helping care for animals without taking on full responsibility.

  • Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Jupiter is a nonprofit turtle and sea life conservation center.
  • South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale encourages volunteers and interns to help with their rescue and rehabilitation operations for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife.
  • Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control in West Palm Beach offers a variety of options for volunteering at their shelter – from walking dogs, temporarily providing housing for kittens, making enrichment toys for animals, or helping unite lost pets with their families.
  • Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society in West Palm Beach has a large variety of animals. Their Aldabra tortoises, tapirs, tigers and white alligators all need care and you can help.
  • GreatNonprofits lists of several West Palm Beach Nonprofits and Charities devoted to Animal care.

Be Active on Behalf of your Community

While volunteering to help animals offers an easy way to help fight off isolation and process how to start loving again, serving other humans can instill a unique sense of meaning. Positive psychology has shown that humankind’s sense of meaning is based on our human connections. These connections occur at three levels: intimate, relational, and collective (Stavrova). To restate this succinctly: social connectedness is a source and consequence of meaning in life. By creating bonds within the greater community of humans through social activity, one’s sense of loss, isolation, and depression become less a focus of mental fixation. Two primary ways recently divorced men in Boca Raton can apply this insight by volunteering for individual causes or collectives of causes.

Individual causes can include:

Collectives of causes include social organizations and political parties, which we list below in alphabetical order:

Personal and Business causes – be it a commitment to self-improvement or professional development – were excluded from this list as they are fundamentally different than personal service to the community. Personal and professional growth can certainly help the interests of the community. Skills learned from Toastmasters could be used to help pass a local ordinance that many citizens desire. However, research demonstrates that working with people in a social setting for social issues is qualitatively different.

Our experience tells us the same. On the advice of a personal counselor, one of our divorce clients that felt anxious about starting a family later in life started to volunteer in a mentorship program for young men with absent fathers. Though his desire to find another partner with which to start a family did not wane, he shared with us how this experience helped enable a positive internal shift. Spending time with this young man, listening to his problems, and providing guidance helped him to transition from a fixed mindset that focused on past failures and helped propel him into a growth mindset that enabled him to envision how he would act differently with his next wife. While there is no guarantee that everyone will have the same sort of a-ha moment as this client, it’s an unlikely shift to happen if one is just sitting at home alone.

Conclusion

After the marital assets are divided, the dissolution of marriage is complete, and the lawyers go home – many men’s health indicators begins to decline dramatically. Men that go through a divorce tend to disassociate via neglect of practices to maintain physical health, abuse of substances, and isolation.

Klein Law Group has compassionate divorce attorneys ready to help you develop a plan so you can start your life fresh the right way. Our practice areas include alimony, complex/high net worth divorce, contested divorce, parental relocation, property division, and more.

Sources

Kyle J Bourassa, MA, John M Ruiz, PhD, David A Sbarra, PhD, Smoking and Physical Activity Explain the Increased Mortality Risk Following Marital Separation and Divorce: Evidence From the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 53, Issue 3, March 2019, Pages 255–266, https://doi.org/10.1093/abm/kay038

Mata, J., Richter, D., Schneider, T., & Hertwig, R. (2018). How cohabitation, marriage, separation, and divorce influence BMI: A prospective panel study. Health Psychology, 37(10), 948–958. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000654

Nagasawa, Miho. (2015, April 17). Oxytocin-gaze positive loop and the coevolution of human-dog bonds. Science. Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1261022.

Penckofer, Sue et al. “Vitamin D and depression: where is all the sunshine?.” Issues in mental health nursing vol. 31,6 (2010): 385-93. doi:10.3109/01612840903437657

Stavrova, Olga & Luhmann, Maike. (2016) Social connectedness as a source and consequence of meaning in life, The Journal of Positive Psychology, 11:5, 470-479, DOI: 10.1080/17439760.2015.1117127

Eric Klein

Eric is the Principal Attorney and President of Klein Law Group. He has spent over 25 years practicing law and guiding clients through some of the most challenging times of their lives.