10 April 2013
The pros and cons of dating someone who has been divorced
by Fran Creffield
When it comes to reviewing your matches how important is their marital status? Would you consider dating someone who is divorced?
Although someone who is divorced is as single as someone who has been widowed or never married, there are certain differences which will make their situation unique and could pose challenges in the development of something new. Naturally these will not apply to everyone who is divorced – there will be differences depending on when the divorce happened; whether it was amicable and whether there are children involved.
Here are some of the pros and cons of dating a divorcee:
1. Time – divorce is often the result of a relationship where people rushed in too quickly and didn’t really take sufficient time to get to know each other. It is unlikely that someone who has been through this will want to make the same mistake again so they are more likely to take their time getting to know you.
2. Commitment – having already made a commitment a divorcee will often be much clearer about the realities of that decision and the problems that can arise. Although they may be slower to make the commitment, they are more likely to stick with it once they do rather than go through the pain of another separation.
3. Experience – when someone has been through the pain, loss and separation that divorce can entail, it can make them more rounded as a person. Having had a relationship, a wedding and a shared home will have given them a chance to find out who they are and what is important to them. This experience is invaluable when forming a new relationship.
4. Open-mindedness – often a person who has been through a divorce may have a complicated family life with ex in-laws, children and contact with their spouse. This can often result in them being much more open minded and adaptable themselves with a deeper understanding that every person’s situation is unique and not necessarily a reflection of their values or beliefs – a divorcee may still believe in the sanctity of marriage but their ex didn’t.
5. Communication – good communication skills are at the heart of any lasting healthy relationship. Someone who has been married and shared their life with someone, will probably have developed more emotional intelligence and good communication skills than someone who has never had that experience.
1. Once bitten – for some divorcees the experience was so painful that they resolve to never make the same mistake again and therefore will not consider remarrying. It is possible to share a full and happy life with someone without a marriage certificate but if it is high on your list of priorities it is best to check whether this is ever a possibility.
2. Emotional baggage – a bad divorce can leave people bitter, angry, resentful and with a skewed view of relationships. While their feelings may be entirely justified it may be impossible to break down the barriers and form a new relationship until they have worked through the issues. It takes time to heal and the more recent the divorce was the more likely it is that they are still working through there feelings. Be especially wary of someone who is only just going through divorce proceedings and still living in the marital home – the chances are you may be used as a stepping stone to freedom.
3. Trust – although it is unfair to be judged because of someone else’s bad behaviour, when a person has been badly hurt they are going to be wary of trusting again. You will need to be patient and over time trust will build as the painful past is replaced with healthier experiences in the here and now.
4. Entanglement – while the emotional and physical separation may have happened often the logistics of a divorce and division of property and money can take much longer to resolve. This can have practical implications in the development of a new relationship.
5. Family ties – if there are children from the marriage you have to accept, whatever the age of the children and whether they live with their parent or not, that this match comes as a package. Having children will usually also necessitate contact with the other parent to some degree and this can be difficult when a new relationship is developing.
Every situation will be unique and as with the development of any new relationship, you need to be honest with yourself and your match as to whether the relationship is something you want. It is important not to make assumptions based on someone’s marital status, instead judge each situation on its merits.