There are many reasons to avoid dating a divorced man. Did you know that second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages? Have you heard about second-wife syndrome? And, who would volunteer to be the ‘wicked stepmother‘ of the family?
In addition, it’s widely assumed that divorced men carry emotional baggage from their first marriage. Divorce leaves so-called hidden scars of grief, anger, and failure.
If invisible baggage is not enough of a burden, a divorced man must also shoulder legal obligations. Some divorced men must pay alimony and child custody. These legal obligations mean that he’ll keep interacting with his former lover and their children, which is a classic setup for the second wife to feel jealous and insecure.
So, with all the reasons to avoid a divorced man, why would you consider dating one?
The quick answer: Turning your back on a divorced man may be the biggest mistake of your life.
Negative statistics and stereotypes aside, you may be perfect for each other. The Rascal Flatts lyrics sum it up: “This much I know is true / That God blessed the broken road / That led me straight to you”
If you are considering marrying a divorced man, thoughtfully consider five advantages of dating a divorced man:
1. ‘Emotional Baggage’ versus ‘Life Experience’
Yes, a divorced man has baggage, but so do we all. Acknowledging that you both have baggage can bring realism and vulnerability into a relationship.
Besides, what’s the difference between ‘baggage’ and ‘life experience”? You can view ‘life experience’ as negative (i.e. ‘baggage’), or you can view it as an advantage. Be thankful for the life experiences that have made your man into the person he is.
Whether your man has ‘baggage’ that is holding him back or whether he has ‘life experience’ that contributes to his character will be determined by his behavior. You can draw out his good qualities by accenting the positive aspects of his life experience and ask that he do the same for you.
A man who has experienced marriage and divorce may better understand relationships than someone who has never made a long-term commitment to another person before.
2. Go on a Journey of Self Discovery Together
Why not go on a journey of discovery together? You can start a new life, and so can he. A second chance allows him to be more in touch with who he really is and what he really wants from life.
A divorced man knows that a relationship won’t last if it’s not tended and nurtured. You are going on a journey of self-discovery together, which can be exciting and wondrous. You are gifting each other a second chance.
3. Introspection and Humility
“Before my first marriage, I never imagined that our relationship would end in divorce. I took it for granted that my first wife would accept me and put up with my faults. However, after the divorce, I had to face the fact that some of my faults were worth changing.”
Beware the divorced man who has no insight into his part into his failed marriage. Beware the divorced man who doesn’t know how he contributed to the demise of his first marriage. Beware the divorced man who thinks his divorce was all her fault.
Most divorced spouses realize that they contributed to a low-functioning first marriage, and they don’t want to repeat their mistakes.
Speaking of introspection and humility, how are you doing in that regard? What have your previous relationships taught you to do better the second time around? Did you go behind a wall and refuse to speak up about problems? Did you have anger problems? Did you prioritize your work over precious together-time?
If both of you are reflective and humble about your own mistakes in your previous relationships, you will have a better chance for success in your new relationship.
4. Troubles Pressure Maturity
People marrying for the second time have experienced major disappointments and losses in life. Disappointments and setbacks pressure all of us to become more mature. Experiencing grief and loss changes our priorities and forces us to confront our ideas of what life is all about.
Did the divorce make your man more mature? Did the divorce make your man more likely to take personal responsibility, more willing to listen and compromise, and less black-and-white?
Did the divorce make your man more likely to be focused on the big picture, less likely to be irritated about small things? These are all excellent attributes that will contribute to your new relationship.
5. ‘Traditional’ Relationships are Overrated.
Be proud to be non-traditional. Non-traditional means “bad” in some people’s books, but not in yours.
There is strength and power in accepting your role in a non-traditional marriage. Aiming for a life of conformity won’t make you happy. Why not open yourself up to the beautiful ambiguities of an authentic life?
“So, there was surprise and curiosity and just a hint of gossip in the air when we went out. It took some getting used to, but then I accepted that this just wasn’t your traditional marriage.”
– wife of a divorced man
You don’t owe explanations to anyone as you go about this world, living your life according to your best judgment. Trying to be traditional is overrated.
In conclusion, marrying a divorced man has advantages. A divorced man has been offered a unique chance to re-set his priorities, humbly face his weaknesses, and emerge more mature than before his divorce.
Before marrying a divorced man:
- Consult with a divorce specialist lawyer near you to ask about legal issues that might affect your marriage to a divorced man.
- Observe his long-term relationships with family members, work colleagues, friends, children, and even his ex-spouse. Is he able to maintain warmth and trust with family and friends? Is he able to maintain professional courtesy with an ex-spouse?
- Discuss how both his and your life experience can be an advantage and make your relationship stronger.
- Watch how he explains his divorce. Does he take personal responsibility for his part in the problems that led to the demise of his first marriage?
Positive answers to these questions may indicate you are well on your way to happiness on the second go round.