A year ago I wrote a hub called “seven reasons why you shouldn’t date a divorced man.” I wrote this hub based on my experience on this matter and the experiences of some people I know. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with the responses I received. It seems this topic is a sharp nail that hammers through the majority of the human race and whilst some agreed with my hub, most dismissed it as written by a scorned woman. Yes, I do admit I was scorned whilst I wrote it, but then I decided to dig deeper into this and ask people who have dated divorced men and their experiences. It took me three months to interview about a thousand people who have had relationships with divorced men and their thoughts on this subject. I created a forum type of discussion and collected information based on statistical analysis.
The results were very interesting. It shows a real picture of how divorce totally destroys the human anatomy of relationships in all aspects of interacting physically, emotionally and mentally. Even though I gathered about a hundred reasons why dating a divorced man is just not wise, I will elaborate on the seven most common answers that I received.
Goodbye First Time Thrill Effect
This was the most common point that all my respondents pointed out on. Here is my favourite answer that was submitted by Eileen Wormack, a dentist who dated a divorced guy with two kids for three years:
“You will never experience the joy of first time-ness. I don’t care if he is the prince above all princes, the perfect and supreme human being, you will never have the joy of experiencing anything first together. He has already had that first time thrill. When he first proposed to the ex, the first wedding, the first honeymoon, the first kid he saw being born, the first time he bought the eternal home with her, the first time they went on holiday together etc. He put his heart and soul into “the first thrill” so when he starts dating you, it is no longer a thrill to him and neither is his heart and soul in it. It’s just another wedding, another honeymoon, another kid, another, another, another. It may thrill you, but you can be thrilled as a singleton so why settle with a bloke you can’t have “the thrill” with? The thrill only happens once and once only in a lifetime so if you choose to date a divorced man, you’re denying yourself one of the fundamental joys of life and trust me no man is worth giving that to.”
It’s Not a Sacred Complete Union – It’s a Wound Concealer
This point was submitted by Jacqueline Summers, a beautician who is divorced and married a divorced man with three kids for fifteen years:
“I don’t care what the current status of your relationship with your divorced companion is. The fact is whether you admit it or not, or pretend to be a strong character and say things like “that doesn’t bother me,” or “it’s not like that with us,” the ample truth is you will feel that your relationship with your divorced spouse is not complete. The first marriage he had was complete and accepted and he really did feel whole and complete. With you, it is no longer a complete union. It’s a plaster stuck on his wounded heart that’s providing temporary relief. Yes, you’re in happy land and everything seems hunky dory but soon you will begin to feel the void of dating someone else’s leftovers. You will never get rid of that conscious wondering and comparing yourself with the first marriage from your mind. You can suppress it, but it will creep up in some way or another. No one ever survives dating a divorced guy, whether it’s for a year, ten years, 30 years or even a hundred years. That relationship is not eternal and it will end at some point.”
You’re a Permanent Outsider
Marion Bradley, a high school teacher, married a divorced man with four kids for seven years had this to say:
“One of the most painful things about getting involved with a divorced person is the lack of security and safety of your relationship. It doesn’t matter even if you get along with his kids and the ex, there is always that feeling of being “the outsider” that lingers around you. At home, when you set the table, the kids always sit next to their father and you’re further out. When you’re chilling at home, you’re always on one end and never in the middle. When you go on family outings, there’s always an invisible divide, for instance, if dad buys an ice cream and licks some of it, the kids will happily eat it but if you buy the ice cream and lick some of it, the kid will not want that and ask for another. When taking pictures together, notice how you are always on either the left or the right, but never in the middle of that picture. If you look at the pictures his ex took with him and the kids, she’s always at the centre. No matter what you do, you cannot replace that position that their mother and his ex had in his life. Hence, you become a daily reminder that their once upon a time happy home is permanently broken and will never be mended.”
You Will Always Be The Last
Brenda Featly, a retail manager, dated a divorced guy with three children for five years:
“The one reason why I would never again date a divorced man is the fact that you will always be last in his life. You will never be that first person on his mind regardless of how your relationship stands. You will never feel the special effect because that honour now goes to the kids. Regardless of how his marriage ended, she will always be the mother of his children and no matter whether he hates or loves her, she has a permanent place in his heart and you are just hovering around it. You can give him your heart and soul and everything else, but he will not reciprocate, not because he doesn’t want to, but he no longer has that special effects feeling. He lost it when divorce crept in. Yes he loves you and is a good, nice guy that looks after you and all that but as an emotional being, women have the ability to feel what someone else is feeling when you spend an ample amount of time with them and you will feel the “last effect syndrome.”
You Are Basically Mary Poppins
Melissa Benbridge, an obstetrician, dated a divorced man with two kids for two years said:
“I got fed up with being a constant “Mary Poppins” because that’s what the kids and their dad saw me as, a person that cooks, cleans and babysits. Though I didn’t mind that at first, but it soon became apparent that my permanent role in their lives was that of a maid and housekeeper and not a family member. When we went out, he introduced me as “just his girlfriend,” a title which I began to despise as our relationship went along. The kids called me “the lady that lives with us,” even though we got along fine but this was a heart bruiser. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when one day the elder child needed to fill in a second next of kin on a school outing form and she put my name on it and on relationship she filled in “my dad’s caretaker.” It was then I knew I was kidding myself and wasting my time so I politely exited that relationship and never looked at another divorced man again.”
You Are a Constant Consolation Prize
Wendy Primwood, a graphics designer, dated three different divorced men and her view was:
“Even though I knew the pitfalls of dating a divorced man, I didn’t believe that all divorced men were damaged goods. It was only after the third dating I realized that all divorced men have one thing in common. They are not looking for a new love. They are looking for someone who will help them heal their broken and devastated heart. Hence, you are not and will never be the love of his life even if he tells you so. You are a consolation prize, someone they can look at to help them forget their pain of divorce. In my case, my divorced guy got along very well with his ex and it got to the point where I wondered why they divorced in the first place because they became better friends and she become his confidant and I knew I was drowning so I abandoned ship as there was just no point in going on further.”
You Are Always Alone No Matter What.
“What I mean by that is the constant isolation you experience, particularly if you are a single girl with no kids dating a divorced man,” according to Beth Underwood, a fitness instructor who dated a divorced man with five kids. “Even when we were in the same room together, I still always felt a distance between us. He was no longer a complete free man. I could feel his isolation because there was just this space and void that nobody could fill in his life even though he was divorced for twelve years. No matter what I did, nothing made him whole. In as much as he tried to balance his life between me and the kids, it became apparent that I will never enjoy a fulfilling relationship if I remained with him.”
So to sum this up, this is not a feminist article! I’m simply trying to show you why dating a divorced man is a challenge and not worth it as there are more cons than they are pros. Divorce does not only hurt the immediate family, but it ultimately destroys anyone that comes in contact with them. It is a contagious plague and I don’t care who you are but if you are in a relationship with a divorced man, prepare for it to end because it will end.
The author of this hub is a statistics and data reconfiguration analyst.
Pinky on February 13, 2018:
No no no soooo...hectic i thought to myself i want to try it but its tooo...much for me
Ms Jones on December 29, 2015:
I am never married with no children. I am over age 50 (very well preserved I might add).
I have a very strong aversion to dating divorced men for many of the reasons you state. I had an old boyfriend who had a very serious relationship with an ex girlfriend. I often felt I was the consolation prize (she married another man and they have 2 small children). If I am not Mrs. Number one - I feel like I am accepting a burnt offering.
I have 2 divorced brothers who now date divorced women. They are all on the same page. My parents are also divorced. Try as I may, dating a divorced man is really not the scenario for me.
I appreciate this article and the thoughtfulness of the author. Not every woman is so "modern" that take a chance with a second go around is all that appealing. I don't find it a comfortable situation for myself. Perhaps if I had been married and divorced this scenario would be more amenable to me. Since I am not, I don't see any reason to put myself in a position where I feel I have the "leftovers".
There are single never married men out there. I do not care if he is over 35 and never married. Maybe that means that he, like me, has yet to meet the right match. I know many people who marry for the first time later in life.
Does the fact that he "took the plunge" but failed make him a more desirable mate for me? Maybe some women see it this way. Good for them. I personally do not feel very comfortable with it. I think the author makes some very salient points.
Thank you for this thoughtful article.
Shauda on November 16, 2015:
This is unfortunately my current situation. Ive known for about year tgat this relationship wasnt going anywhere, but chalked up my doubt to insecurity.. But my instincts were right. He still loves his ex wife and regrets their divorce.. He hasnt said those exact words, but his actions say otherwise. He still gets angry when he speaks of how she cheated on him, ine day we picked up the children from home and a guy she was dating stopped by and he became angry..that hurt because he and I have been together for 4 years and have lived together for 3..why is this still affecting him? Ever so often they have this why arent we together talk.. Hes shown he has no interest in moving forward with me(marriage, kids).. So im preparing to move out. I will never date a married man again.. You will forever be in competition with the wife, 2nd place to kids.. And a small part of him will forever long for his family unit. You are not his family and will never be, move on before you get in too deep.
Ms Smith on April 25, 2015:
I have never been married and have no kids. I also happen to be Roman Catholic. I am very uncomfortable dating a divorced man.
I feel I am not on the "second time around" and I feel a lot of divorced men are jaded and wounded.
I don't care if he is the best thing since sliced bread. If he is so great, why did he take a marital vow and then break it? What does he think about? Why did he quit?
I have also dated a single, never married guy who was crushed that "the best thing that ever happened to him" married someone else. If I heard that girls name once I heard it a hundred times. If I am the "consolation prize" after a bad break up, I can only imagine the position I would have as an "also ran" wife.
I notice that many men who are divorced do not take very good care of themselves. They are tired from divorce, from having disappointed the kids, their family, etc. I think they make a better partner for an also divorced woman, with whom they have the same "marital" experience in common.
I am not damaged goods. And I don't want someone else's damaged goods.
I know this sounds harsh, but I see how many divorcees conduct their second marriages and subsequent relationships. It's not for me. My parents were divorced and it was a very bad experience for me as a child.
I see how it has impacted my parents' world view. I don't want a partner like that. They feel guilt, shame, righteousness and a whole bunch if other stuff never married people just don't have the burden of.
I never thought I would date a divorced man. Now that I have tried it, I am sure it is not for me.
Leilina on October 25, 2014:
Thanks for your wonderful article. I wanted to correspond with you over email since I have a few questions. What is the best way to contact you? I am new to HubPages, so if you send an email, I woukd greatly appreciate it.
Cath on July 02, 2014:
That is so true.
I've just split up with divorced guy. Was so fed up of being alone most of the time. Xmas, Easter, weekends.
So true, true.
Wish I could read it a year ago.
Kevin W from Texas on June 07, 2014:
Interesting hub Aneegma. Although this really doesn't pertain to me as I've never been married/divorced, I can't help but think these reasons are based on personal experiences & shouldn't be attached to every divorced man. As for coming second to his kids, that would happen whether he was divorced or never married anyway.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 07, 2014:
Aneegma, your concepts are basically true and very worthy of consideration. I know couples in second marriages who have to compromise greatly to work the union work. It's possible, but difficult. Thanks for the warning.
Tish on May 25, 2014:
Third paragraph should read "once-married man", not "married man", To imply, divorced.
Tish on May 25, 2014:
Wow. Generalization much?
While I have a counter-argument for every one of your "deal breakers", what I can say that as a DIVORCED MOM, I would NEVER date a man who's NOT been married nor had children.
Despite the "princess fantasy" of "first-timeness" (which to me reads extremely immature and has nary a damn thing to do with love or intimacy), there are indeed women who appreciate the maturity, and ability to be with a partner who's at least had to consider something or someone other than his XBox C-500 Benz, or Golden Retriever.
Now, while I can concede that for SOME women (primary young, or never married), dating a divorced man can be "challenging", I think it's a bit over the top to assume that dating a married man is an instant deal-breaker for a lady's romantic future.
So, for those ladies who think dating married men is a no-no: Stop dating them! Please.
Go chase after the paucity of never-married 35+ year old men without kids, who've never gave a damn about anyone other then themselves.
BTW, I can give you about 70 reasons why I'd advice women to be leery dating a man over 35 who's never been married or had kids...
You're basically dating "Peter Pan"
...who's usually emotionally unavailable
...who's probably paid for a shit-load of abortions (don't get it twisted ladies, just because he has no kids, doesn't mean he hasn't made any)
..who will most likely NEVER COMMIT TO YOU.
Many ladies I know (myself included) who dated a divorced man got...A MAN. Not a little boy masquerading as one.
Now, are there some married men who are a hot mess? Oh hell yes! These are the ones who are usually quick to jump into a new marriage, and play "Jedi-mind-games." The truth, he never should have been married in the first place. But those men, are the minority.
I am not trying to hijack your hub, and I apologize if my tone is curt. Yet, I do believe that if I were a divorced dad reading this, I'd basically hang up my hat and assume that I'm damaged goods and go live in a bunker.
Peace and blessings
swilliams on May 03, 2014:
See Aneegma that's where you come in, to help enhance their overdone subject lines, instead of how to hang on to your man articles, or how to appear younger articles. Keep up the classy thought provoking writing! You have found your Niche!
Jasmine S (author) from Pennsylvania on May 03, 2014:
Lol Cosmo is for babies and celebrity suckers. If I could I would wave my magic wand for Cosmo to disappear lol. Thanks for stopping by.
swilliams on May 03, 2014:
'You Are Basically Mary Poppins' Lol! I love the insight behind this truthful statement. This is a very insightful article! Magazines such as Cosmo and More, would love this knowledgeable info, due to your truthful research! Thanks for sharing voted up!