I’m an author, blogger, and psychotherapist, who’s usually writing about the notion of a “Honeymoon Forever” – that love between two people can last a lifetime and beyond. I don’t usually write that much about what to do, or who to date, after a relationship ends for good.
However, yesterday, while scanning the Internet, I read an interesting and provocative article, by “Dating Coach & Flirting Expert”, Laurel House, (authoress of Screwing the Rules), who’s work I always enjoy reading.
Anyway, Ms. House contends that dating a divorced man is the ideal situation for a single woman.
She writes: “If you’re looking for a real, substantive, long-term relationship with a man who gets it, gets you, and is ready to commit, dating a divorced man is ideal. Yes- he understands and isn’t afraid of commitment, because he has had one. He understands that marriage takes effort and compromise… He is also more aware of what he needs as opposed to just what he wants. He is more evolved and “grown up.”
Well, I respectfully disagree with Ms. House’s sweeping contention, for a variety of reasons:
1) Some of the most unstable, angry, and confused men I’ve ever treated, happened to be divorced. Unfortunately, a lot of them just “don’t get it”, or are too hurt and resentful to even consider entering into a new relationship.
2) Divorced or not, many men, (like many women), are deathly afraid of intimacy and commitment. Just because a man (or woman) divorces, doesn’t mean that they necessarily have the required understanding or readiness to again connect with another.
3) Many divorced men (and women), are often still in the throes of the grieving process, and haven’t yet come to terms with their loss. I happen to believe that rebound relationships are usually a prescription for “dating disaster” – not to mention a glaring red flag to any hopeful seeker of love.
4) It’s possible that the reason “he’s” divorced, is precisely because he didn’t understand that marriage, or any partnership, for that matter, always takes great effort and compromise. Maybe he was selfish or just didn’t care – it happens, you know.
5) To think that divorcees are more “evolved” or “grown-up”, is, in my book, a naïve form of fantasy thinking. Some of the most juvenile and immature men (and women), on the planet, have had marriages that were destined to end.
6) Tragically, many of these individuals are clueless about personal needs and wants. Some are raving narcissists, and others are just plain incapable of loving another or themselves – a sure fire recipe for relationship failure.
Then House goes on to list 5 more reasons why it’s optimal to date a divorced guy. This is what she writes, and my retorts to her comments:
1 He failed! “He may have made some mistakes in his last marriage. And if he has taken the time to be at all introspective, he’s aware of his personal failings, has done his work and is ready to make it right and have a take two with his next wife… and maybe kids.”
Yes, maybe “he” did make mistakes in his last marriage. But the reality is that many people make mistakes and never learn from them. Sadly, many of us get stuck in our own psychic “stuff”, and never really become ready to make anything right.
2. He has baggage! “He may have been hurt and has a bit of baggage-which is a great thing! A man who has been hurt knows what it feels like, and is therefore often more aware of your feelings and cautious with your heart”.
Then again, there are those “hurt men” (and women), who have more than “a bit of baggage” and unresolved life issues, where it’s not such a “great thing,” at all. Sure, some people are actually able to unload their baggage, but unfortunately, never learn the art of empathy, and couldn’t care less about anybody’s feelings. These are the broken souls who continue to break hearts, maybe even yours.
3. He has been broken down! “Divorced men understand what it’s like to be in a committed relationship within which there are compromises and accommodations. His resistance has already been broken down by another woman so that you don’t have to endure the push back yourself”.
Broken down? I mean, really? The sad fact is that a lot of divorced men are running away from anything that looks or smells like compromise or accommodation. Hoping that a man’s “resistance is broken down by another woman”, is no accurate way to judge another for possible dating availability.
4. He uses his words. “Divorced men tend to be better communicators. There is a decent chance that he went to therapy during his marriage, if not after, and he has become fairly proficient at communicating needs and feelings more clearly.”
I can understand the “experience makes for a better partner” theory. But just because a man’s been married, is no guarantee that he’s now a “better communicator”, has been to therapy, or is, in any way, better in touch with his feelings. That’s just more fallacious thinking. If anything, too many divorced men are still angry, hurt, and worse, numbed to their feelings – not a good dating prospect.
5. He’s been broken-in! “Another thing about divorced men that you might not want to think about but will happily benefit from? They just “get” you. That’s because they’ve been with more women, or at least one woman for an extended period of time, and dealt with more attitudes, moods, issues, and emotions. With experience often comes understanding. In other words, he has already been broken-in.”
“Broken-in”, is usually a term reserved for stubborn horses! Does a broken-in man really “get you” just because he’s been married before? Seems to me that a man who’s been with other women, doesn’t necessarily mean that he becomes more understanding or empathic with someone new.
So, for the reasons I listed above (and there’s probably more), I don’t feel that a divorced man generally makes for a best new dating companion or prospective marriage partner.
Then again, there are the exceptions; those men that do “get it”, have grieved their losses, learned a great deal from their marriage experiences, and have found a way to apply this wisdom to a new love.
Then, and only then, can there be a real chance for a great dating experience, or even better, a fulfilled and long-lasting love between two people – a true Honeymoon Forever.