By JR on Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Do divorcés make better potential partners than men who have never married? A New York news station reported last month that divorced might be the new single. According to WABC-TV, perennial bachelors might soon be pitied in the same way that single women over the age of 40 often are.
In the past, divorce was a red flag for many women, a sign that the man involved would come with the baggage of a previous marriage. These days, almost a third of marriages end in divorce. As Samantha Jayne, director of private matchmaking agency, Blue Label Life, points out, eliminating divorced men from the equation can make finding a partner that much harder, especially for women in their early 30s and older.
According to dating coach Jane Roder, there's now more of a stigma attached to 40-something bachelors than there is to divorcés the same age. "My personal view is that the older a man is, if he's single and never been married, he's perceived as having commitment issues," she says. "The single man who's never committed, there's a perception of – why not – why hasn't he done that? Especially in a place like Melbourne, where's there's an excess of women," she says.
Divorced men might have proven that they can commit, but for many men, when it comes to marriage, it would seem that once is enough. Just over half of men who divorced in 2000-2002 could expect to remarry, with some resolving never to do so again after the dissolution of the first marriage, for various reasons. "Hopefully they're not hung up on the past but there is a possibility that they haven't let go of the previous relationship," says Aiken. "There may be financial issues because of the divorce and they're not as stable or secure as they once were," he says.
Then there's the not-so-small matter of children. A divorcé might get the green light, but kids are often a deal-breaker. "It's a big consideration," says Roder. "It depends on the individual. Love can conquer many barriers and many people do it, but it is easier for divorced people without children, I think." If you're wanting kids of your own, it's important to establish early on if a divorcé with kids from a previous marriage is willing to have more children, she says.
Kylie*, 38, married a divorcé, with whom she now has three children. "I think they're better (divorcés) the second time around," she says. "The only catch in my situation was that he also had a three year old, and I had to deal with the ex-wife. After getting used to things, it was all good. We are very happily married."
The reason for the divorce, and how the situation has been dealt with, are other factors to consider. "If he'd cheated, I definitely wouldn't have gone there," says Eve of her divorcé. It's also important that the divorcé has moved on fully before entering another relationship. "The most important thing is that those people have left that relationship and that it's respectful," says Roder. "If they're fighting and still angry with somebody, that's the issue more than anything else because it's a sign that it's unfinished business," she says.
According to Jayne, not being the first woman to walk down the aisle with their husband-to-be is still a major deterrant for some women. "Sometimes people get hung up on it, they think, 'I don't want to be that second wife or second husband'" she says. "I think women tend to worry more about it, they have this fairytale idea of what their future husband should look like and what his life experience should be. I don't think men are so concerned, if kids are involved it's an issue but generally men are fine with it."
The experts interviewed in this story agreed that divorce isn't actually the issue, rather, it's whether or not that person is willing and able to commit again. "What I say to single people is that everyone comes as a package," says Aiken. "Some people will be divorced, others will have kids, others might be widowed or they might come with an overinvolved mother. What you've got to do is you've got to stop and think, what are my deal breakers, and what are things that I can embrace," he says.
"It's not about divorce, it's if someone's emotionally available," says Jayne. "A man could be divorced with a lot of emotional baggage or a man who'd previously never married could have the same amount of baggage," she says. "A lot of clients say, I don't want to be with a divorced man because he's fallen in love with someone else. It's all about a person's beliefs."