There are some life decisions you pay for very quickly. Getting gas station sushi at 2 a.m., for instance. Then there are those that will linger far longer than you ever want them to. Like tattoos. And divorce.
It's been nearly 10 years now since my, let's go with...conscious uncoupling. While the immediate pain of the whole experience has definitely eased, I've found there are some memories that still linger. These are things you never expected and nobody ever warned you about. Hence, I see it as my civic duty to explain these eight divorce facts guys don't want to be true but they kind of are anyway.
1) People will hate you. Maybe the divorce was your idea. Maybe it was hers. Maybe you had an affair. Maybe things just fell apart because they do sometimes. Just get used to the fact that most of her friends (and many of yours) will assume you did something to cause the breakup. Which isn't necessarily fair but either way, they're not going to listen your side of the story even if you left the marriage to save baby seals dying from Ebola in a Syrian refugee camp.
2) Make friends with Freddy Kreuger. For those first few years of divorce, I would spend entire weekends soaking up romantic comedies because it was nice to see relationships that actually worked out. Which is why ultimately, I got hooked on horror movies instead. It's not that I liked them. It's just that watching happy couples get slaughtered by zombies and aliens was a great vicarious thrill in my time of complete and total bitterness and self-loathing.
3) Vanity is necessary. The secret joy of marriage is that you've found somebody who accepts you for what you are, which means you can have that extra white chocolate raspberry cheesecake slice or skip the pilates class in favor of sleeping in. After divorce? You can't spend the day in sweatpants because a) you can't let the world know you've given up and b) at some point, you do want someone to say you have nice abs or (at least) you don't smell like a locker room.
4) Sex sorta sucks. If you ask most pre-divorced guys about the one plus to being on the backside of marriage, it's guilt-free sex with anyone new that you choose. (And you do arrogantly believe you get to choose.) Two things to note here: if you were married for any length of time at all, the guilt will always fit you as snug as a Trojan, and you're not nearly as irresistible as you thought you were when you were legally bound to someone who chose to sleep with you on a regular basis.
5) Try a tailor. Whichever party inspired the divorce, it's a safe bet that going through it will bring you some serious stress. There's worry about being alone. Worry about being broke. Worry about your kids hating you. Worry about the rising price of single-malt scotch. Worry leads to eating either nothing or nothing healthy. That leads to your clothes not fitting. Which leads to spending a lot of time getting your suits re-sized. So find a decent, affordable tailor right away. It's either that or buy an all new wardrobe, and who can afford that with the rising price of scotch?
6) Call your mom. Divorcing means you're stepping into a new, unfamiliar world that you're never totally prepared for. This may look a lot like your married world. There are a lot of the same restaurants and cable channels. But it feels different, more like you've started a new job in a new town. And when you're a stranger in a strange land, what's more comforting than talking to the one woman who will always love you no matter how completely you've messed up your personal life: your mom?
7) Consult the calendar. There's something about being on your own again that can make a guy feel far younger than what the calendar actually reminds him he is. The older you are, the more divorce seems like your last shot at the pleasures of youth. Hence, there's the temptation is to turn back the age of everything, from your girlfriends to your hairstyle. However, you're better off embracing your real age sooner rather than later because you're not fooling anyone. People are still going to notice you getting sleepy by 10 p.m. and you're still going to get hurt simply from sleeping.
8) Enjoy cat videos. You may not tell your family or friends. You may not even admit it to yourself. But the truth is, divorce hurts. It means life hasn't worked out the way you hoped it would. There will be moments when you want to do nothing but drink the aforementioned scotch and watch the aforementioned horror movies. There's only one thing to do to escape those private, dark times. Watch cat videos. They may not cure your problems, but c'mon...has there ever been one that didn't remind us all of how adorable life is?
This blog post is part of HuffPost's When Men Divorce series. For other posts written by men about the divorce experience, head here. If you want to share your story, email email@example.com
More From HuffPost: