Rob Roseman, founder of WTF Divorce, couldn’t find the type of support and community he wanted after his divorce, so just like us here at exEXPERTS, he started it himself. He knows firsthand that the thoughts and minds of men going through separation and divorce are very different than most women, and that’s what he aims to bring his followers…information, resources, and the answer to his own first question, which was what the fuck do you do? Rob joined T.H. and Jessica on the Divorce etc… podcast to really help shatter some of the myths and stigmas out there about divorced men that women might not even know.
First, a bit about Rob’s background. He’s a former Las Vegas poker pro, which in and of itself is pretty damn cool, right? He got married, had three kids, and then moved to Atlanta for his wife’s career. At this point, he retired as a poker pro and focused on helping out at home, switching to more of an entrepreneurial path. About two years later, they mutually decided to get a divorce. But the timing was shitty – it was right at the start of the pandemic.
But that was just the beginning. “What I realized after you sign those papers, [is] you’re just getting started,” Rob realized. “There’s almost that adrenaline where you’re like, ‘I did it. I’m free!’ And you have a week high when you’re in your new place. And then I was just like what the fuck?”
Rob had to learn about co-parenting, he tried putting himself back out there with dating apps (which he knew wasn’t the smartest thing to do immediately after the divorce), and he realized that he pretty much had no idea what he was doing and had no clue where to look for help. He eventually found some resources on Instagram and Clubhouse, but he knew not everyone was on Instagram, Tik Tok, or even exEXPERTS. He had a background in marketing, so he thought, “what if I could help bring it all together, package it, make it easier for people to find help, and connect with experts?” So there it began: WTF Divorce was born.
Rob found that most men he knew didn’t want to get into the nitty gritty details of divorce and have those open discussions. “They just want the highlight reel,” observed Rob. “They just want to see your dating apps, hear about all of the fun stuff like that.”
Are Men Interested in This?
“A lot of those guys that you think don’t need help, they need it,” Rob admits. “They’re struggling deeply.” A lot of men have these thoughts, but they don’t vocalize them because there’s no real sounding board to share this information with. They just don’t know how to address their issues, especially if their friends haven’t experienced a divorce or don’t have kids themselves.
Rob wants to normalize this discussion. A lot of men don’t want to initiate this conversation, and male friends of yours don’t want to come to you. There’s a stigma around asking to spend time together, and Rob has found that after maybe asking once or twice to see a friend, he feels as if he was coming across as being needy, as do most other men. “It’s why I think it’s very important for divorced men and women to find other divorced men and women because there’s just that relatability,” Rob says. But you also want to make sure you’re not just vomiting out all of your stories and problems. It’s a tough balance. It’s more about making sure to check in with them.
But it’s very a slippery slope for divorced men in particular, as their friendships have just completely fragmented after separating from their wives. This was one of the biggest challenges for Rob. “You’ve got to find people, and you’ve got to get creative and get uncomfortable to do it.”
Dating Myths: The Male Perspective
Let’s get into some of the myths about guys post-divorce. First things first, he wants you to know, nobody knows how to date. Men coming out of divorce haven’t dated in probably 20 years. Guys might be getting dating apps, but they’re casting a narrow net and women are getting many more options and matches than men are. And then there’s the issue of dating when you have kids, where potential matches might not want to get involved.
Rob has some deal breakers on first dates. First up, talking about herself the whole time. If he can’t get a word in, that’s going to be a turn-off. Second: complaining about her ex. Sure, you can refer to them, but overall, that’s going to make you come off as negative. “Just be quiet, be funny, and just accept that the other person is going through something hard too,” Rob asks of dates. Making sure it’s more about the conversation rather than spilling all of your problems is essential in coming off as a potential match.
He also sees the first date as more of a meet-and-greet. That first date’s going to be awkward and uncomfortable, so that second date’s really your first date. He also likes the option of just FaceTiming before meeting up, to just get some more information before getting together in person. “I’ve got like three nights a month sometimes where I’m actually free,” Rob discloses, “So I don’t want to waste it on this person I built up in my head.”
Co-Parenting as a Man
As a newly single dad co-parenting, it can be very overwhelming. That’s why a lot of times you’ll see men hiring help or getting married early after the divorce because they feel they can’t handle being a single dad. They’ve lost someone they lean on for help, maybe a little too much when parenting, and they’re starting to feel that too much stuff is falling on them. But their ex-wife might be seeing this struggle as more of a lack of care from their ex-husband, as they’re just finding another person to take on the load that they may be trying to juggle in this new chapter of their life post-divorce.
And what happens when their ex-wife finds someone? What feelings arise with that? “It’s hard,” Rob admits. “Even though I didn’t have those same feelings about my ex-wife, I was jealous that, ‘Oh, she’s out of the rat race and I’m still doing it. She’s having dinner with him and the kids, and I’m meeting some random for coffee for the fifth time.’” It’s tough trying to find a balance and seeing someone else with their shit all together, or appearing to be all together.
That’s why Rob is so invested in creating a community with WTF Divorce. Sharing stories, confessions, and responses, and delving into what everyone’s going through, really gives you a sense that you’re not alone and it can help you feel a bit better about your situation.
One thing Rob always tells people is to accept that it’s going to be hard. “I think it’s our expectation that we’re supposed to be over it quickly.” In reality, it’s not going to be a quick recovery. That first year especially is going to be brutal.
He also acknowledges the divorced dad’s guilt. He wishes he had taken more time for himself, as in that first year, he was over-functioning with his kids. He still feels guilt over this, as he tried to overcompensate by spending time with his kids and he spread himself too thin. It’s okay to be a little selfish. Your kids will be fine, but it’s hard to remember this at the moment. It feels tough, especially when it may feel like their mom is their favorite, but it’s important to make sure you know this: you’re doing the best you can, it’s not easy but you will figure it out, you’re loving your kids enough and they’re going to turn out alright.