Dating after divorce isn’t easy but, with nearly half of all marriages ending in separation, it’s not unusual. However, for some women who haven’t been married before, your divorce can pose some challenges. Many daters associate divorced people with excess baggage. Being upfront and willing to talk openly about your past can clear up these misconceptions and help your date clear up any doubts that are getting in the way of a potential relationship.
Knowing what to reveal about your divorce is half the battle; you also need to know how to talk about your experience.
Here are the top 5 questions women ask themselves when dating a divorced man and tips on how to answer them effectively:
- Does he have a crazy ex wife?
Your date is trying to figure out how your ex wife will affect the relationship you share. She might wonder, “Will his ex be a source of perpetual drama?” or “Is the ex wife vindictive?” Whether or not your ex has handled the divorce maturely is irrelevant; your date just needs to know that you are able to handle any backlash from your past. Although tempting, you should never throw your ex wife under the bus. Not only is it unattractive, it reveals underlying anger on your part that can be perceived as a red flag.
How to discuss: “We were both ready for those divorce papers and once everything was finalized, we both moved on to better things.”
- Is he in a rush to get married right away?
To make up for a failed marriage, some men are overly eager to get it right the second time. This question has a way of answering itself, but it’s best to avoid talk of marriage early in the courtship.
How to discuss: “After being married X years, I know myself better and have a clear picture of the kind of woman I’d like to share my life with. I also know that being in a rush to make that happen would ruin the fun.”
- Is he afraid of getting married again?
A painful divorce could deter anyone from round two, so it’s important to convey that you are open—but not rushing—to marriage. She wants to know that you won’t let a bad experience get in the way of a future with her.
How to discuss: “Marriage didn’t work out the first time around, but I’m excited to figure it out again and share my life with the right person.”
- Why did they get divorced?
In the early stages of dating, you can answer this question sufficiently without going into much detail. Even if you made some serious mistakes during your marriage, you can address them later once the relationship has progressed. In the meantime, stick to a message that reveals how much you learned and evolved from your first marriage.
How to discuss: “Marriage for us wasn’t right in so many ways—it’s hard to pick just one reason why it fell apart. I’m glad I went through it because I’ll make a better partner next time around.”
- If kids are in the picture, what does that picture look like?
If you have children, absolutely mention them early in the relationship; they should never come as a surprise to your date. She will want to know about the relationship you have with your kids and the role they will play in your courtship.
How to discuss: “I have two kids from my first marriage, and I share custody with my ex wife. I’ve got the kids on weekends, and I love being involved in their lives. I try to give them as much stability as possible, so I generally keep my relationships and kids separate in the beginning. Would love for you to meet them one day when the time is right for both of us.”
Remember, your divorce is not a deal breaker, it’s just a part of your story. Being open about your failed relationship and framing it the right way will help your partner realize that although your first marriage was broken, it gave you an opportunity to be a better partner in your next relationship.
The best first dates, start with you being you. Read tips on being the best version of yourself on a date here.