Divorced men are severely diminished. He is not bound by the marital agreement of good behavior, so he withdraws and stays put.

His mental and physical health quickly deteriorates. His confidence is dwindling and his circle of friends shrinks to a sad, one-digit size.

It is foolish to internalize a truly devastating personal crisis. In all aspects, he lives in reduced circumstances.

So that was how it worked for me.

It was the most difficult question I ever asked during those darkest months of my marriage, which lasted for 20 years. How would this make me feel better?

According to one source, it takes a year for divorced men to heal and recover from a separation after each five-to seven year marriage. This meant that I could only see four years worth of misery.

My divorce muted me. I was an introverted, unhappy, and hermetic bore. I never saw anyone. I worked. Red wine was something I enjoyed.

I read somewhere it took divorced men one year of healing and recovery for every five to seven years of marriage. So, at best, I was looking at about four years of misery, says Simon Mills

It was said that it took a man who had been divorced one year to recover and heal after each five to seven years in marriage. Simon Mills said that I had been looking at four years worth of misery.

Weekends were especially difficult and I often went 72 hours between conversations with no one, other than the postman or the grocery checkout clerk. Because of my high blood pressure, I received medication to treat anxiety and depression.

Women just seem to do divorce better.

It was amazing to see how my ex-wife remained strong emotionally and physically throughout the 18 month period between our divorce proceedings.

As I picked up and dropped the children off at her house (our), I felt sluggish, uncommunicative and my complexion was drab. I did not see any signs of weakness, regret, or doubt in her conversations or demeanour.

My size was less than. She looked better, and her mind was refocused. She was strong; I was only sad.

This was for many years a difficult time.

It would have been easier to feel less bitter if I knew that there was medical evidence supporting the idea of divorce having a deeper impact on men and women. I’m not the only one.

Men who have been divorced are more susceptible to deep depressions, and they’re also more likely to consume excessive alcohol and use recreational drugs. Our mental health is not the only thing that’s affected.

A new study has shown that divorced men of middle age who have been living apart for seven years or more after a ‘life-altering’ event also experience higher levels inflammation. This can lead to hardened arteries and strokes, as well as cancerous, brain damage, early death, and dementia. This is not a good sign.

According to Professor Rikke, the University of Copenhagen senior author of this research, it appears that, contrary to popular belief, men often feel more emotionally attached to their marital relationships than women. They are also most likely to receive the initiating moves toward a split-up.

My divorce muted me. I became an introverted, miserable, hermetic bore. I saw no one. I worked. I drank red wine (stock image)

My divorce muted me. I turned into an introverted, miserable and obsessed bore. I never saw anyone. I worked. Red wine was what I had (stock image).

She says that evidence shows that men are dependent more on female partners than they are on women. This makes them more vulnerable to losing them.

The study found that men of this age have smaller social networks and are therefore more likely to be lonely. . . There is evidence to suggest that single men may be less able to take care of themselves and might not want to see a physician if they have any medical issues.

“This may explain why men are more inflamed after multiple split-ups or living apart for longer periods of time.

Since 2011, I’d been married for more than 20 years. While some years were peaceful and joyful, others were chaotic. What about this divorce? It felt properly, physically damaging — the emotional adjustment, the logistical upheaval, the loss of intimacy, the cruelly rapid reduction in social connections and finances, all a constant and significant challenge.

Did you realize that suicide rates among single men are 39% more than those of married couples?

While divorces in movies tend to hinge on big moments — the discovery of an affair, a screaming row, a car door slamming, brakes screeching as (usually) the man drives off — my leaving, like so many others in real life, played out over months.

It’s too difficult and too personal to discuss the reasons for the split. But it took place in gradual, awkward, and painfully painful moments.

After I had finally unloaded the Fiat’s engine and turned the car around, my children and my wife were already out.

What was my destination? In a state of uncertainty, denial and mourning, I’d be couch-surfing in friends’ homes, occasionally checking into boutique hotels and Airbnb.

This was quite a downer. I was a writer for and editor of glossy magazines, and a newspaper columnist — and during my life as half of a couple, the marital mantelpiece in our old four-bedroom West London townhouse creaked under the weight of invitations.

It seemed like our lives never ended. We lived in a constant whirlwind of red-carpet events and country weekend parties. I also took glamorous trips to exotic destinations where I could enjoy five-star accommodation.

Now? My mate had just finished up a semi-derelict attic and I was going to be there for the freezing winter months. 

Or, for a few memorable nights, sleeping on an inflatable mattress in the back of my estate car — surprisingly comfortable, as long as you find a nice quiet street — before finally moving into a small but cosy flat with another single man whom I found through a mutual friend.

It felt like a regression. This was a strange feeling. Since I was 20 years old, I have not shared fridge space with anyone who doesn’t share my surname. 

It was a queen-sized bed that I longed for, but a “roomy” ten-years my junior. And writing my name on half-consumed yogurt wasn’t how I saw my future.

Relations with my ex at the beginning of their break-up were difficult, but they became more civilized. My ex invited me to visit her home occasionally, to have dinner with them and just hang out. Slowly, however, I was forced to leave.

Then, one day I found out that I wasn’t welcome upstairs. My girls were also barred. Everyone soon realized that it was better to wait outside than go inside the car.

My children were even worse.

In dividing up access, we had been open-minded. We reached a generous, but not legally binding, split of 50/50.

Our teenage selves figured out that the girls would decide when and how they want to spend their time. 

But after factoring in the day-to-day logistics of their busy social life, my work and the girls’ school timetables — and, not least, my party-pooping bleakness, the parental split was more like 95/5 in their mum’s favour.

They were very good people. They didn’t love their new dad as much at the ages 16 and 12. His childhood was fun. He was now a miserable and needy man.

But my perspective was very different. My divorce meant I had to be a distant influence for them. They were missing out on the big moments of joy, and crucial points in their lives as young adults. I was unable to offer any wisdom.

If I had known that the medical literature supported this idea of divorce having a greater impact on men than it did on women (stock photo)

My anger and love were not omnipresent in their immediate vicinity. They couldn’t be my friend if I was not there. . . there.

My case was examined by a bloodthirsty lawyer for divorce, who charged me an hourly fee. ‘Your divorce?’ She said, “It’s either kill or be murdered.” I had no desire to kill anyone — but it did feel as if my situation was slowly killing me.

My break-up took on the personality of a shameful failure and grieving for my loss — for my home, my children and my myriad mistakes.

Each day felt like a small death. In reality, I gained weight.

Although I wasn’t very active, my family didn’t make it a habit of having dinner together every night. I was also not able to eat well or be healthy. Could I have reached out to someone? Nope. 

It was a common problem for many men like me. I was afraid of boring people and showing my weakness.

My feeling was that sharing my feelings, or admitting to being lonely, would only be reckless vanity and desperate. It seemed that the more burdensome, better option was to isolate myself, shut down all communication and retreat into solitude.

My declining group of male friends offered advice that was scanty, clueless, basic and limited (you have to move forward), followed by a matey punch and an offer of another beer, mostly.

What is the secret to my ex-wife’s survival and continued success, while mine was at rock bottom?

Women are able to remain in their family home with the children, which is a huge advantage. With a support network of loyal friends, she was able to persevere in our midlife struggles with great determination.

Slowly, however, I realized that there were certain things I liked about being alone.

Six months later, I realized that having my own double bed was an amazing luxury. It was also a win to be able to listen loudly and eat out as often as I like. It was great to be able to go where I wanted, make my own decisions and see the world as I wished.

In my excitement at feeling somehow desirable, I discovered that dating was something that I enjoyed. They were warm and caring and suggested that I have a dog or a hobby to make myself appear as an intelligent, curious person.

The men suggested that I self-ignite male friendship moments, rather than complaining about my loneliness and expecting my friends to find me.

It is important to be honest with myself and show respect for my feelings. Learn from my mistakes so that I don’t repeat them.

They agreed that I shouldn’t talk to my ex on my first date about my marriage failure, or the whole of my life. This was particularly difficult.

After 18 months of dating during my midlife years, and believing that I could enjoy single life in the future, it was two years since I divorced and I had begun to have thoughts about finding a meaningful and new relationship.

My divorce was over. All the arguing and shouting was gone. I felt better. I felt better. I was ready — and then I met someone. Together, we moved into a new apartment. Our new apartment even had a dog. 

Even a decade later, I still feel like my divorce was a devastating, embarrassing and life-changing disaster. But it isn’t trying to kill us anymore.

Do you have a story on how divorce has affected your life? Email us at femailreaders@dailymail.co.uk