He Got His Divorce: Why Is My He So Angry?

He wanted a divorce, got it and is now angrry.


Anger is a convenient tool used by some to prolong their own sense of victimization and, to punish others for wronging them. 

We live in the day and age of no-fault divorce. Every state in the United States has now adopted no-fault divorce laws. One of the main arguments for this is that no-fault divorce laws cut down on conflict. A concept used by those who have evidently never been through a divorce...fault or no-fault.

I received an email on Friday from a woman who has been divorced for three years. She asked me to please explain to her why her ex-husband is still angry. He had cheated, filed for a divorce, got a divorce and married the other woman. The divorce settlement was equitable. He had 50/50 custody of the children; his ex-wife had a career of her own which meant no spousal support, no giving up of any of his retirement funds since she had her own.

She Jumps Through Hoops And He is Still Angry

This readers ex got everything he wanted; he was free of his marriage and able to move on to a new life with the other woman. The divorce had not cost him financially and he had equal time with his children. 

For some reason though he refuses to attend school functions if he knows his children's mother will be there. He insists she not attend school functions during his parenting time.

When one of their sons graduated from high school he refused to participate in any graduation functions if his ex would be present. There had to be two graduation parties planned; a schedule for who would get how much time and where for photos after the graduation ceremony, and on and on and on. Typical behavior for a toxic ex-spouse.

According to this reader, she has bent over backward to accommodate his childish needs but regardless of how far she goes to try to appease her ex, he remains angry. "Why," she asked, "is this man who had an affair, wanted a divorce and seems to have moved on with his life so angry with me? All I did was give him have what he wanted."

Why Does He Hold Onto His Anger?

I don't have any statistics from studies to back up my opinion but more than likely all that anger is a defense mechanism used to keep him from feeling what most of us feel at the end of a marriage, sadness, loss and perhaps some guilt over the way the marriage ended. This reader's husband has not yet done the healing she has. She allowed herself to grieve the end of her marriage. She did the work she needed to do and then she moved on.

He, on the other hand, can't admit that he had an emotional investment in the marriage. Doing so feels a wee bit too destructive to his sense of justification for leaving. So, he has to be angry. He is in self-preservation mode. The sad thing is, his attempt to protect himself is only doing more damage, especially to his children.

3. Reasons People Hold Onto Anger

1. They feel they have been wronged even when evidence points to the contrary.

2. They need the anger so they can identify themselves as victims. This woman's ex may feel that, if not for her, he would not have been put in a position to have an affair. He may feel that she was such a bad wife that the blame lies with her for the end of the marriage and destruction of the family. He has willingly become her victim and may live that identity for the rest of his life. 

3. They feel that being the victim, having someone to be angry with for doing them wrong will garner empathy from others for their plight. For some, anger and victimization is a cry for caring and compassion, something they feel they've never received. 

Whatever the reason, the anger is theirs to either let go of or nourish. If you are dealing with an angry ex, rolling over and playing nice dog isn't going to diminish their anger. That is something they are choosing to carry in their hearts and only they can come to terms with.