Since Jon and Kate Gosselin announced their split on the TLC reality show, Jon and Kate Plus 8, Jon has morphed into a poster boy for divorced guys behaving badly. Tabloids have photographed the 32-year-old father of eight with a slew of younger women, and most recently, Kate claimed that her husband of 10 years emptied a $231,000 joint account of all but $1,000. Though the indiscretions may differ, Jon's sudden bout of childish behavior is familiar to many divorced women, begging the question: Does divorce cause some men to act immature?
"Marriage constrains certain behaviors," says Reginald Richardson, clinical social worker at Northwestern University's Family Institute in Evanston, IL. "Under stress, it's not uncommon to see people regress. It's not uncommon that you'd go back to what feels good."
To find out more about men and their reaction to divorce, we talked to psychologist Marion Solomon, a UCLA lecturer and author of Lean on Me: The Power of Positive Dependency in Intimate Relationships and the upcoming Love and War in Intimate Relationships. Here she talks about why some recently divorced men regress and what women can do about it.
iVillage: Why do some men seem to behave so immaturely during a divorce?
Marion Solomon: Some men deny the pain of divorce, whether they initiated it or whether it was thrust upon them. They deny how much it hurts. What they say is, "I'm free. I feel like a load has been taken off me." On the road to divorce, there's a lot of pressure, attempts to make things work. "Now I'm going to do whatever I want. Now I'm free to do it. There are always women who might be interested [in me]."