Give yourself some empathy rather than blame. Oftentimes, we beat ourselves up and look at the divorce as a reflection of us failing. I’d say to a friend, be kind to yourself and look at this as a learning experience for your next chapter in life.

As part of our series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce Or Breakup” I had the pleasure of interviewing Hayley Lisa, The Divorce Coach For Men.

There are many divorce coaches, however, Hayley Lisa is the only one who specializes in working with only men. She provides men with unbiased, unconditional support, guidance & accountability they need to gain the clarity needed to make better decisions throughout their divorce process and after.

Being a female for men, Hayley sets herself apart by being a strategic partner with the unbiased opinions of a woman, which gives her clients an advantage.

Hayley believes that men have a significant disadvantage in divorce, especially in the family court system. It is her mission to “even the playing field” and gives men a fighting chance with the uneven scoreboard. Her hope is for her clients to have a peaceful, kinder divorce process, however, when that is not an option, she will tackle the issues they are facing such as co-parenting, high-conflict divorce, and parental alienation head-on.

Being divorced herself, she knows firsthand, the emotional and financial toll divorce takes on an individual. It is through her ten years of experience, education, and tools, that she helps men navigate the choppy waters of divorce by being an unconditional support system to her clients. “Divorce is never a weekday 9–5 issue, which is why I will always show up for my clients regardless of the day of the week it is, including holidays,” Hayley says.

Sessions with Hayley are interactive, thought-provoking, and action-oriented, so clients gain insight, perspective, and action steps for moving forward to a successful solution/goal/remedy/outcome. Integrity, confidentiality, and honesty are 3 things she lives by and will stop at nothing to give her clients a fair chance in the unfair process of divorce. She believes it’s her mission to help men navigate and strategically tip the scale in their favor.

Hayley has received many accolades for success and dedication as a divorce coach for men, however, it is her client’s testimonies and her reputation that she is most proud of and motivates her to be the best and only divorce coach for men.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to ‘get to know you’. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

Yes, thank you for asking. My parents divorced when I was seven yrs. old. My mother had primary custody of my younger brother and I, with bi-monthly weekends with our father. My mother did her best to give us a stable homelife, however, without her probably being aware, she emotionally alienated me from my father. I think as a single mother, she desperately wanted our love and affection, therefore, saying negative remarks about my father my entire life. It got to the point, where I honestly feared him and did not look forward to spending time with him. My father never missed his weekends visits, never late for child-support and alimony payments and never said unkind words about our mother.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

There are a few stories, but the one I believe had the most impact was never realizing until 10 years ago, I was alienated from my parent. My father never deserved to be spoken so badly about to his children, which created fear, anxiety and resentment in my feelings towards him. After my own divorce when my son was 4 years old, I decided no matter the outcome I will take the high-road and never be the cause of alienation from his father. It’s ironic since my former spouse refused to pay his court ordered child support, did not co-parent in a healthy way and yet here I am devoting my work to supporting men. As a mother to an adult son and a daughter to a father who honestly didn’t have a fighting chance to create a bond with his daughter, I want to make sure men know they have unbiased support and guidance with me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career? Oh boy, only one story?

I have SO many…A few years ago, I was attending a wedding of a former client in Texas (I’m located in Florida). I worked with this gentleman for nearly a year, and we had a silly bet that he would eventually move through and past his divorce and find peace and perhaps love again. He doubted this for the longest time, however, I knew he had it in him even when he didn’t. Long story short, I won the bet which was an invitation to his wedding should he ever re-marry. Not only was I invited, but he also made it a point to introduce me to as many people as he could (there were over 200 guests). During one of the toasts, he made me stand so he could properly thank me for my unconditional support, faith and accountability I demonstrated with him. Tears and applause filled the room and on a side note; his bride was so thankful of the hard work he put in with me! She was convinced it made him a better man for it.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.” By L. Frank Baum, The wonderful Wizard of Oz This comes into play not only in my own divorce story but my client’s as well. It’s not about being the “smart one” or outsmarting someone. It’s about having a heart, compassion, empathy when people need it the most. This in turn, will give people the happiness they are so desperately searching for.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

One of my new projects is a virtual support group for men going through a divorce. Each month, I will have a guest interact with the members. I’m sourcing excellent therapists, attorney’s and other professionals throughout the U.S. Men have very few resources of support, which is why I know this is going to be so helpful to men.

Ok. Thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell us a bit about your experience going through a divorce, or helping someone who was going through a divorce? What did you learn about yourself during and after the experience? Do you feel comfortable sharing a story?

A few years ago, I had a client come to me just a few weeks after learning his spouse was having an affair and wanted a divorce. He was beyond blindsided, and so filled with anger. Before we began working together, he had put a recording device in her car, and had gathered an enormous amount of evidence showing her adultery and with a subordinate employee. This was grounds of his wife being fired from her employer of nearly 15 years. All her hard work and dedication would be thrown away if he was going to act on his desire to get her fired. Immediately, I informed him that I will not work with anyone who is seeking to sabotage their spouse. If he wanted my help, we needed to work on his anger and find a solution to having him go through his divorce in the most amicable way possible. Long story short, we worked together for 7 months, and he has a wonderful relationship with his 10-year-old son and the best part: once a month they all get together for a meal to be a united front for the sake of their son. When I’m criticized for supporting men, I remind people I also support women with my work. In this case, I save a woman’s career, helped her husband make peace with their situation and move forward with a healthy co-parenting relationship with her. Women do not get the chance to see how much I help improve their relationships with their former spouse, right down to how he will communicate via text, email, or phone with her. This is just one example of why I love what I do.

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?

For men, I think the biggest mistake they may make is a rebound relationship. Dating and finding your new norm is healthy, however, jumping into the first relationship that presents itself is usually a big mistake. I recommend to my clients, take your time. Get to know your new normal. You discover so many things about yourself both during and after your divorce. These discoveries may lead to changes in what you’re looking for in a new partner.

People generally label “divorce” as being “negative”. And yes, while there are downsides, there can also be a lot of positive that comes out of it as well. What would you say that they are? Can you share an example or share a story?

Absolutely, there can be many positive outcomes of a divorce. For example, your new home will not be as toxic, stressful, and disruptive to your children as the previous one when you were married. Another is discovering many things about yourself you had no idea existed such as a “voice,” independence, resilience, and strength. Most people come out much stronger on the other side of divorce.

Some people are scared to ‘get back out there’ and date again after being with their former spouse for many years and hearing dating horror stories. What would you say to motivate someone to get back out there and start a new beginning?

I would say, look at it as a means of making new friendships, networks, and new hobbies.

What is the one thing people going through a divorce should be open to changing?

This is a great question. I would say be open to changing your thought process on who was right or wrong in the marriage. Take accountability for your part and work on improving this going forward.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. If you had a close friend come to you for advice after a divorce, what are 5 things you would advise in order to survive and thrive after the divorce? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Five things I would advise, would be:

  1. Move forward, take accountability for your part in the divorce. Often, people will say they were blindsided and had no part in the undoing of the marriage. There is always something, even if it’s small, that we have played. Find it and own it, this in turn will help you move forward and not stay stuck in your divorce story.
  2. Keep your emotional support team strong. Whether it is your family, friends, coach, or therapist make sure you lean on them when you need to. Your divorce may be finalized, but you will still need to have people there for you for support. I’ve worked with clients sometimes for a year after their divorce, it’s what keeps them focused and strong as they navigate through their new life.
  3. Make a new “bucket list” for you next chapter. Whether it’s a new hobby, make new friendships, start a new business whatever it is you think will keep you focused on the positive and work towards your new new normal.
  4. Take your time going into a long-term relationship. So many people make the mistake of marrying on the rebound which has a divorce rate of over 65%. I know people don’t like the idea of “dating” and prefer steady relationships, which yes, are wonderful to have. However, you have just been through one of the most stressful factors in life, your emotions and wounds are raw and need time to heal. Don’t skip this part of healing and go full steam ahead with a relationship right out of the gate. Besides, you may learn so many things of what you don’t want in a new partner.
  5. Give yourself some empathy rather than blame. Oftentimes, we beat ourselves up and look at the divorce as a reflection of us failing. I’d say to a friend, be kind to yourself and look at this as a learning experience for your next chapter in life.

The stress of a divorce takes a toll on both one’s mental and emotional health. In your opinion or experience, what are a few things people going through a divorce can do to alleviate this pain and anguish?

Get help! See a therapist or a coach. The pain becomes worse when you don’t have a professional working with you. I’ve had many clients seek therapy along with my coaching, and the results are amazing. You many also need medication, even if temporary. A few weeks ago, one of my clients sought help from a psychiatrist and was put on a antidepressant. For him, this has made a tremendous difference as he is working to recover from his divorce.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?

One of my favorite books is Conscious Uncoupling; 5 steps to living happily even after, by Katherine Woodward Thomas. This book aligns with my moral compass which is stressing the needs and well being of your children during and after your divorce. A healthy co-parenting relationship is vital for your children to thrive and must not be overlooked. This is one of the most difficult challenges people face but I am here to tell you, it can be done even in the worst of circumstances.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Keeping families out of the family courts and working together as a team for their children’s sake as they go through a divorce. Having more empathy and kindness towards your former spouse.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Former President Barack Obama- I’m not one to share my political beliefs, however, I love how President Obama was always willing to work with both sides. He was incredibly insightful and was open minded to how others’ perceived things. We need more of this in society, a willingness to be open-minded to the opinion of others without harsh judgements. He always demonstrated this.

Thank you for these great insights and for the time you spent with this interview. We wish you only continued success! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this series.

Hayley Lisa On 5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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