Dating a Divorced Man

by Elizabeth on April 19, 2013 · 3 comments

in could be controversial, love

“Wouldn’t you rather be with someone with less baggage?”

That’s a question I often get when someone finds out my boyfriend is divorced.  My answer is always “who’s to say that someone who isn’t divorced has less baggage?”  I truly believe that; just because someone has been married before or has children doesn’t mean that their lives are any more complicated than anyone else’s.  It doesn’t mean that they are more likely to fear commitment or have relationship troubles.

I live in the South and in the South, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a Southern man in possession of a decent job must be in want of a wife.  People here get married young.  Almost everyone I know met their spouse in high school or college or extremely soon after.  There is little to no dating around or living together or trying to “find yourself”.  You meet someone, you get married.  That’s pretty much how it works.  Obviously, there are exceptions.  Look at me.  I’m 27 and in my first ever serious relationship.  But by society’s (well Southern society) standards I’m a little behind.  Clearly there must be something wrong with me.

Around here, if you meet a guy in his late 20s, early 30s who seems mostly normal and hasn’t been married or at least close to it, you wonder if there is something wrong with him.  Unless he meets one of the exceptions (did a long stint in some sort of graduate school, was in the military, or is a yankee), people (and by people I mean single women looking for potential husbands) wonder why he hasn’t been married, or at least in a serious relationship.  Is he crazy?  Is his mother crazy?  Does he have some long tortured story that sends up lots of red flags?  Whether or not you choose to believe that’s true or that people actually think this way, that’s pretty much how it works.

These are the sorts of things I explain to people when they ask me to elaborate.  Dating someone who’s divorced can be a red flag obviously, but once you start to get to know someone, you realize (if it’s the right sort of divorced man and not the one who has bodies in his basement) that a man who’s divorced believes in marriage, in long term commitments.  He believes in family.  He already understands how to balance family and work life.  These are things that you often don’t find out about a person until you’re very invested in a relationship.  These are sorts of things that are deal breakers or can lead to divorce.  These are all things I had learned about The Carpenter before the end of our first date.

Is dating someone who is divorced hard?  Yes, very.  There are always going to be problems.  There are always going to be additional people involved in your life that you may not like or want.

Is it harder than dating a non-divorced person?  I don’t have a good answer to that.  On the surface it seems like it would be more difficult, but you never know what’s going on in a relationship unless you’re the one in it.

Is dating a divorced person worth it?  I think so; The Carpenter is certainly worth it.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter.  You’re not dating the divorce or the reasons for that divorce.  You’re dating the person.  And if you love that person, who the hell cares what happened in the past?  It’s their past.  Now it’s time to make a new future, together.

This post has been syndicated on BlogHer!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber April 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm

First of all, it’s none of anyone’s damn business *who* you’re dating (or what his marital history is), as long as you’re happy and he’s not a serial killer or an Auburn fan.

Secondly, as far as baggage goes, I completely agree with your sentiment that “who’s to say that someone who isn’t divorced has less baggage?”. I think every serious relationship leaves you with some sort of take-away (i.e. baggage), regardless of your marital status.

Thirdly, I love you & I’m happy for you & I can’t wait to meet him.


2 Christine April 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I love both of you and this post. And amber’s reply!!!!


3 Jennifer Lohmann April 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm

“Almost everyone I know met their spouse in high school or college or extremely soon after. There is little to no dating around or living together or trying to “find yourself”. You meet someone, you get married.”

This reminds me of a roommate (we’ll call her Jill, though I can’t actually remember her name) I had for one summer in college. She grew up in a conservative Mormon family. Jill was in her late 20s, getting her MBA, and had a summer internship at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Jill was not married. At her younger sister’s wedding, an old family friend grasp Jill’s hand and said (with much sympathy, possibly even tears in her eyes), “this must be so hard for you, dear.” Jill always wondered why the woman couldn’t see that she could be happy for her sister without wishing her life be like her sister’s.

I’ll never understand why people think they can and should comment on another’s love life, especially when it’s a happy one.


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