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“I want a divorce.”

Those are easily the four most devastating words for a husband to hear.  While it may seem impossible, life does go on.  Here are eight steps for getting your life back on track.

1.  Don’t be ashamed of your grief

The breakup of a marriage is like a death.  Take time to mourn the life you’ve lost.  Don’t expect this process to be quick.  Studies show it may take up to half the time you were in the relationship to fully mourn its loss.  Let your past go bit by bit.

2.  Call in reinforcement

Round up your best buddies and keep them close.  We’ve all seen the crazy and irrational things people do after a breakup.  You may think you would never do those things, but you’ll be surprised what grief can make you do.  Ask your buddies to prevent you from doing stupid and rash things like drunk dialing your ex, posting nasty messages on facebook, or assaulting her new boyfriend.

3.  Consult a professional

Your buddies can help you drown your sorrows with beer and be a metaphorical shoulder to cry on, but you may want to consider getting some professional support.  Many times, men find it is hard to get motivated about life on their own.  A therapist or spiritual advisor can help.

4.  Reinvent yourself

You are no longer one half of a couple.  There is no more “we.”  Take this opportunity to explore your new role in life.  Create an individual identity that doesn’t depend on another person.

5.  Make new friends

Many men find it is awkward to hang out with the married friends they used to associate with.  After a divorce, they don’t have much in common anymore.  Find some single guys to hang with.  Then, you won’t have to worry about being the third wheel or listening to husbands complain about their wives.

6.  Get back on the horse

Are you ready to start dating again?  Flattering female attention is a great way to re-inflate a bashed-up ego.  Ask your friends to hook you up.  Check out online dating sites.  Just make sure you keep things light and fun.  You don’t need to find a soul mate fresh out the gate.

7.  Rediscover your mojo

If you start dating again, that probably means…sex.  The thought of a new sexual partner is probably both exciting and frightening.  You probably think sex is a good way to prove you’re still desirable.  While that may be true, remember that sex rarely sooths what really hurts.  Go slow.  Take precautions.

Blogger James Davidson is a divorce attorney.  He has helped many men through the emotional upheaval of divorce.