I'm twice divorced so I've done my fair share of dating and I always make it a point to ask a potential new partner on a first date, "Why did your marriage (or your last serious relationship) end?" There are two sides to every story of course, but if they're honest with you, you can learn quite a bit about them.
HOWEVER.... I've written men off because of certain answers to this question as well. Here are some common explanations I've heard and what follows (in italics) are some of the inner thoughts I wish I was brave enough to have articulated aloud.
1. "My ex-spouse really let herself go and I found I was no longer attracted to her." What do you mean by that? Was it just normal, natural aging stuff or perhaps she didn't lose all of her baby weight? Elaborate because now I'm going to be worried that you put an extraordinary amount of emphasis on how a person looks on the outside, to the exclusion of their interior soul. What happens if I get sick and a side-effect of the medication is weight gain?
2. "We fought over money and finances. She didn't work outside of the home and then she'd shop like money was going out of style." Oh I see. No actually I don't. Was it that you believe unless she had an official job title with a paycheck that she didn't have a right to buy things? Was she a stay-at-home mother making your life easier so you could hold down an important job? I need more information and until then I'm going to hide my new Kate Spade purse from you!
3. "Her parents were very nosy and meddlesome, always butting into our lives with the pretense of being well-meaning." So in general you like extended family, but her parents were just too overbearing? Because I'm close with my own mother and she likes to stop by unannounced and occasionally she might wipe down the kitchen counters. (Thanks Mom!) Are you gonna start referring to her as the "mother-in-law from hell" like Endora on Bewitched?
4. "We fought over raising children. She was a pushover and too indulgent so I always had to compensate by being the disciplinarian." Yikes, I just told my kids they could order pizza and stay up until I got home from this date. Are you gonna be the type of stepfather who runs the house like a drill sergeant?
5. "We had very different ideas about the frequency of sex. She thought three to four times was plenty. I didn't think so." I'm sorry to hear that. But wait! Isn't 3-4 times enough? Turns out he meant per DAY!
6. "She cheated on me when I traveled because she had a high need for attention!" Wow. That's really awful. But by high need, do you mean it was necessary to phone home with compliments every five minutes or she just liked you to check-in once a day and tell her you missed her?
7. "She was helpless in the kitchen so I had to prepare all the fancy meals." Like you mean she couldn't even make pasta? Or were your expectations completely out of line so that she couldn't possibly live up to ....wait a sec, you're a gourmet chef??!"
Alright so perhaps by now a few things have become clear -- the first being that I'm a very suspicious person! But the point of this article is actually to illustrate that it's not really about what you say, but more about how you say it! And so much of all of this is relative and subjective so be prepared to give some specific examples and to qualify an ambiguous statement with further details.
I'll close by citing some of the other reasons I've heard that never prompted me to raise even a single eyebrow.
"We got married too young."
"We didn't date long enough to get to really know one another."
"We got pregnant too fast and never had time to just focus on being a couple."
"We had different ideas of fun and recreation. She loved to go to all kinds of amusement parks and I couldn't even stand Disneyland."
Okay, okay so on that last one, I raised half a brow. Because who hates Mickey Mouse?
For further quirky divorce articles, visit the author's blog right HERE.