Divorce is usually difficult for all those involved, especially the children. And while traditionally women find support through their close friends and family, men are more likely to deal with their pain on their own, or through un-healthy coping mechanisms such as drugs or alcohol.
One Lacombe man is hoping to change that by starting a support group for men going through the legal, financial, and emotional pain a divorce or separation can cause.
Man Up is the first support group of its kind in central Alberta, and organizer Mike Thibeau says it's a situation himself as well as a number of guys he knows are in, and he found the lack of resources available catering to men in this situation sadly lacking.
“It’s one thing that women do extremely well, is that they lift each other up and support each other when they are going through a really tough time, and guys don’t seem to do that very well. Our group aims to help change that kind of mindset with men, through community and accessibility to resources and advice.”
Thibeau said he wanted to help men break from the "suck it up and deal with it" mentality that prevents a lot of guys from speaking out about their issues.
“I wanted to put together a group where you can go in and kind of find comradery with a guy who is going through similar circumstances and you can build friendships that way and kind of say, ‘hey listen this is what I’ve been going through and this is how I’ve been dealing with it.”
Thibeau says they plan to have guest speakers including lawyers, financial brokers, as well as yoga and meditation instructors to help men care for themselves in all aspects.
He also points out that although each circumstance is different, men often have to fight for the right to see their children during divorce proceedings, and it can be emotional as well as finically bankrupting. With the connections made from these meetings, Thibeau hopes to help men achieve these goals and ensure their children get the best possible outcome for their emotional health.
The first meeting will be on October 25th at the Funhaus in Red Deer.