What do you do when you find out the guy you’re dating has been married before? Do you hit the brakes? Worry that he may have too much…baggage? I tell you what: You should be far more afraid of the dudes with zero baggage. I personally have never trusted someone who travels a little too light.
You want a real grown-up man? Date a divorced guy. They know two things: What it’s like to love and what it’s like to lose. Two very critical lessons. And if he has kids? Great. Even better. He has learned that there is something more important than him. He knows what it is to be humbled by love, and to put other people first.
One of the most serious boyfriends of my adult life was divorced, or divorcing (he’d been separated a year). I hadn’t dated anyone in that situation prior, and I found it refreshing to date a grown man with commitments and obligations.
When you’re in your 20s and dating 20-somethings (which, full disclosure, I still do from time to time), you realize what’s missing–they’re all hope, no miles. But when I started dating this divorced man in his late 30s, I thought he was sexy and sturdy in ways that younger men simply weren’t. He knew what it was to make decisions, and have them blow up in his face. He learned how despite your best efforts, things sometimes fall apart in your hands and break your heart. His biggest disappointment in life wasn’t, say, that he didn’t get into his first-choice school.
And by the way, you don’t have to have been married to have baggage. There’s not one person you could meet right now who hasn’t been hurt before. Who hasn’t been let down, left to cry his or her eyes out. Or had to make the tough decision to leave. These decisions are what give us character. It’s how we learn anything worth knowing.
If we’re going to look at the upside of divorce, it’s that thousands of men and women are released back into the dating pool every day — many of them with a far more open-minded and enthusiastic approach to meeting new people than some of the hardened singles you encounter. It’s true. You want to feel like hot stuff? Date a man who’s fresh out of a sex-free 10-year marriage. Trust me on this one.
I’m not saying that divorced men are better than single men (generalizations like that are about as useful as a toothbrush in the toilet). But I AM saying that if you write off a dude because he loved someone before, you’re being shortsighted. Perhaps very. This weird idea that we have to be someone’s first love, that he or she can’t have had any life before us, is naive and crazy and, I’ll say it, selfish. Someone’s ex, or exes, their kids, all of it, is not just baggage they carry around — these things are part of who the person is. And I want a man with a little meat on him. Don’t you?