We at Happen â€“ a magazine about dating and love â€“ asked our readers to share their opinions about what itâ€™s like to date after being divorced. We got a ton of personal stories and insights from a diverse batch of readers.Writer Chelsea Kaplan has collected the best of what men have to offer about facing â€œLove, Part IIâ€ and I wanted to share that with my Gather friends.
I will also post the flip side, so look for the other posting, which will have the viewpoint of women facing the same scenario.
Surprising love lessons
written by Chelsea Kaplan
Itâ€™s scary getting out there again after divorceâ€¦ but, according to these guys, once you summon your courage, you can learn some valuable lessonsâ€”and enjoy the process even more than before.
â€œI was surprised to find that dating in my 40s is actually a lot of fun. My theory is that it feels like I have been given a new lease on life, and I really appreciate having that second chance. I thought dating when I was a divorced 40-something would be really boringâ€”like the 20 year-old singles are the ones who are supposed to have all the fun and the new experiences, but I now know I was wrong. Dating after divorce when you are older is like having the fun of your 20s, but the knowledge and maturity of your 40s, which is a great combo.â€
â€“ Steve, 45, Roslyn, NY
Being upfront about your needs isnâ€™t a deal-breaker
â€œIâ€™ve realized that being honest about what you are looking for in a mate is OKâ€”and even necessary. I think when I was single I was reluctant to express what I was really looking for when I went out on a date, because when I did, it sometimes would turn off a potential girlfriend. Now, however, I freely I express that I am looking to get married again because I know that a woman who doesnâ€™t want that isnâ€™t the one for me. Instead of being turned off by that honesty, I think women â€” especially those who have been divorced before â€” find it refreshing.â€
â€“ Charlie, 42, Westborough, MA
Hitting the sheets happens fast
â€œI was sort of surprised to find out that getting physical with someone usually happens sooner than it did when I was dating the first time around. Before I got married, I found that most women would want to date for at least a month before we slept together. Now, I find it happens much soonerâ€”say, after a few dates. Iâ€™ve found that sex is much less of a big deal when youâ€™re older and dating the second time around.â€
â€“ Bradley, 40, Ellisville, MO
The dates are more interesting
â€œWhen I was single, I remember all of my dates somehow involving alcohol and, to some degree, getting drunk. Most of my former dates involved going to bars or a friendâ€™s party. I find that now that I am older and the women I date are older too, we are more into doing things that are really interesting, like trying a cool new restaurant, going to an art gallery opening or seeing a play. The focus is so much less on alcohol, which really allows you to get to know a person better, I think. I think this new way of dating is much more appealing.â€
â€“ Richard, 37, Cincinnati, OH
The ex is a factor
â€œI realized that unlike when youâ€™re a non-married single, chances are that your dateâ€™s ex continues to play a really big factor in her life, especially if she has kids. Sometimes sheâ€™s still â€˜involvedâ€™ with her ex in terms of caring for the kids or even financially in terms of expenses or because sheâ€™s still settling things after a divorce. As a result, the ex often comes into the conversationâ€”or even comes over when youâ€™re at her house! This isnâ€™t necessarily a bad thing, just something youâ€™ll have to sort of get used to. Most likely, there will be some â€˜baggageâ€™â€”on both of your ends, and it just takes getting used to.â€
â€“ Sean, 36, Racine, WI
The check isnâ€™t always the manâ€™s
â€œNow that Iâ€™m back dating again, I am always pretty surprised to find out how many women these days offer to pay for datesâ€”or at least split the check. That never used to be the case; it was pretty much understood that the guy would pay and that a woman would rarely offer. Now, however, I find that a lot of women pick up the tab or at least offer to. I always like it when a woman offers to pay (even though I always like to pick up the check). Itâ€™s a nice expression of equality.â€
â€“ Elliot, 40, Fort Wayne, IN
You have to make time for dating
â€œI didnâ€™t know mow much effort Iâ€™d have to put into scheduling time for dating. I am a lot busier with my career than I was in my early 20s before I got married. Back then I had all sorts of time to meet women and go out. Now that I have a job that requires a lot of my time, not to mention the fact that I want to spend a lot of time with my kids, I really have to make sure I budget time for dating. Itâ€™s really just like a lot of things in lifeâ€”if you want it to happen, you have to make the time for it to happen.â€
â€“ Don, 51, Sioux City, IA
The games arenâ€™t the same
â€œI soon realized that the game-playing I remember from my earlier single days isnâ€™t as pronounced when dating after divorce. Iâ€™ve found that when I like a woman, I tell her, and I donâ€™t wait three days or so just to call herâ€¦you know, to play hard to get or something like that. Thereâ€™s just less drama, which is nice. Who has time to deal with that kind of stuff?â€
â€“ Carlos, 37, Midland, TX
Chelsea Kaplan is deputy editor of www.thefamilygroove.com. Her blog, â€œIâ€™m Somebodyâ€™s Mother?â€ can be found at www.rumymother.blogspot.com.
To read more dating advice for free, visit Happen magazine or join our Gather group. Donâ€™t forget to read the other side: how women feel about dating after divorce.