Dating the Divorced
Posted by Alex Johnson for Bounceback.com
Let's face it. Dating is difficult, time consuming, exhausting, and frustrating. It can leave you feeling as if you want to give up all hope in humanity. However, with the negative does come the positive aspects of dating. It can be exciting and thrilling. That sheer anticipation of the perfect first date, the kiss good night at your doorstep, and of course that transition from dating to being exclusive with one another.
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As society is saying more and more that it is okay to not be married in your twenties and if we do more research to find our perfect soul mate along the way, our experiences will shift. The baggage that we each come to the table with will eventually get heavier. As we move our own personal baggage from one relationship to another and we get more aware of the actual person that will be right for us, chances are you will come across a new type of breed when it comes to your potential partners. That is, the divorced person. I immediately took to the streets to find out if in fact dating someone that has already been married differs than someone who has not.
We all know there are millions of reasons why couples get a divorce. But what happens when that person who has been married once decides it is time to get back out there in the dating field. I recently had the privilege of sitting down at a brunch and the table was a great mixture. We had divorced, separated, gay, straight and all types of ethnic backgrounds. I decided to ask for some of their own personal experiences and what I got was just what I was predicting. It was all over the place - Just how divorces themselves can be.
Related: Divorce First, Dating Second
Seeing that we could go on and on about everyone's personal experience, including myself, I have decided to break it up into the pros and cons of dating someone that has been divorced.
• Commitment: Regardless of the reasons for the separation, you know that this person can or has the ability to commit. Whether or not this has scared the person from ever committing again is something that will obviously need to be discussed, but I like to see the glass as half full and see that the person likes the idea of committing to the relationship and is willing to give it another try.
• Experience: As we get older, it is nice to have someone across from you that has either similar experiences or has at least a few relationship notches under their belt. With experience comes wisdom. With wisdom comes maturity and in the end, aren't we all looking for someone with a descent maturity level?
Related: Life After Divorce: How to Move On
• Compassion: Divorces, separations or break-ups always have the potential to leave someone with a bitter taste in their mouth. However, if the person you are dating has been divorced and has learned from their past, you will see a sense of compassion because, while the marriage didn't last, they experienced something significant with another human being, and with that painful experience comes a great sense of compassion for another fellow human being. Don't we need more compassionate people in this world anyway?
• Commitment: I included this one again because while I like to see the glass as half full, there are still plenty out there that see the glass as half empty. When dating someone that has been divorced it is very important to ask their views on commitment. If they are still angry at their divorce chances are they are probably angry at the idea of committing. If commitment is something you are seeking, you might want to let this type of person cool off before getting too invested.
Related: Cope With Heartbreak, but Avoid the Rebound
• Bitterness: It is rare that a divorce involves both parties shaking hands, partying ways and thanking each other for the lovely memories. More often than not, someone in the divorce will have to be the one that feels jilted. If the person you are dating happens to be that jilted party, you might experience a sense of bitterness on the topics of marriage, commitment or anything that falls under the "relationship" category. My advice would be to let your date settle their demons. They simply aren't ready for what you are offering.
• Fear of Failure: Like any relationship that ends, we often reflect on the failures rather than the good times we got the privilege of experiencing. Going through a divorce, from what I have heard and witnessed is much greater of an ending than compared to someone that you were dating. It involves lawyers, courts, tons of paperwork and extreme amount of hassle. Not to mention the emotional anguish.
It is rough, I sympathize with anyone that has to go through it, is currently going through it or contemplating on going through it. After the divorce is final, the emotional wounds have been healed, there comes a fear of getting hurt, disappointed or mislead again. That fear of failure will display itself in someone that has gone through a divorce. It is not our job to help them get over this fear; however, we don't need to turn our back either. We just need to provide reassurance when it is called for. As they say, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Dating is hard. It is also hard for those that have been divorced. They have to put themselves out there just like the rest of us that haven't been married before. However, the difference between them and us is that every single time they meet someone new they have to tell their story of their past marriage. It is not easy and no one ever said it was. However, what we can do is show the person across from us that no matter what the past has done, it is about the present and the future that matters now.
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More articles on BounceBack.com:
How to Bounce Back After a Break Up
The 5 Best Dates for Fall
Wedding Vows: What's the Point Anymore?
How to Survive the First Months of Living Together
Alex Johnson is a freelance writer and is currently living in New York City. Follow his blog about love, dating and all in between at: www.updatenyc.net