I received a question from a newly divorced man asking, "How do women feel when they hear that a man is divorced?" The guy wrote that he wanted to start dating, but that he feared women would turn away, "thinking that there is something wrong with me since my ex-wife left me for someone else."
To address this divorced man's concern, let me start with some statistics:
Number of divorced guys I have probably dated since my divorce: 7
Number of divorced guys I am friends with: 45
Number of divorced guys I have met in my life: hundreds.
I'm sharing these numbers because I truly feel like I have a pretty good sense of the divorced guy, some common traits, and how I think so many of them think and feel.
The divorced guy is oftentimes seemingly wounded. I have talked to many, many men whose spouses cheated and then left them for another man. Just like it does for women, it kills. It's traumatizing. It's humiliating. It's infuriating. It feels unfair.
I also think many divorced men have no idea how wonderfully attractive they are. The most likely reason is because they haven't felt desired by a woman in a long long time -in the case that their wife was the one who chose to leave. Even worse, she left for another man, so I'm sure that does a number on a man's self-image. This same thing applies to a woman in that situation, by the way.
Now, let me explain how I think many women view a divorced man whose wife left him. I think at first, just like a man might be, a woman might be skeptical. She might be looking for things, wondering, 'hmmm...he seems totally normal. I wonder what he did to make his ex cheat and/or fall out of love with him. was he mean? abusive? Maybe he didn't pay enough attention to the relationship. Maybe HE had an affair.'
That said, I think men and women dating are skeptical of every person they go on a date with, divorced or not. So, what does it matter?
I will say this. I believe that SMART women take the time to really listen to the guy's story and trust our gut. Then we draw our own conclusion about what we think of him, his whole personality, his divorce only being one aspect of him, not what defines him.
Another GREAT trait about divorced men. They have proven that they can commit. I have a lot more faith in a man who has been married versus never married when it comes to his willingness and desire to commit to a serious relationship.
Then there's the kid factor. A man who has been married and has kids will probably be more comfortable around a woman's kids, simply because he has experience. That's not to say it won't work with a man who has never had kids. But the divorced man with kids gets it.
Here's the other thing. If 50% of people are divorced, women are certainly coming across divorced men, right? So, don't feel like you are unique in that sense.
Also, in regards to your comment about there being something "wrong" with you, I have this to say. There IS something "wrong" you. There's something wrong with everyone on this planet. In other words, everyone has faults. So, is a woman going to find some things "wrong" with you? Sure. But that's OK, isn't it? I'm sure you will find things wrong with her, too.
I'll leave you with a great quote. Can't remember who I heard this from. I might even have made it up.
"A woman's decision to divorce her husband could lead another woman to meeting the love of her life."
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.