A female friend of mine got divorced recently, and confessed to me how much she dreaded now having the “divorced” label hanging over her head as she re-entered the dating pool, like some modern day version of the scarlet letter. That she, too, had failed to make it work, and men would recoil from her in disgust, running for the nearest 20-something as soon as possible.
But I for one, think being divorced can actually be a stamp of awesomeness to we men willing to look past the stigma. I think this experience actually means you’re a cut above your never-been-married friends. And here’s why:
1. You’ve experienced loss, and rebounded from it. You have courage, resilience, strength. That’s an attractive trait to men looking for a worthy partner.
2. Hey at least you dared to get married! You took a swing at love, rather than just playing it safe on the sidelines. You placed a bet in the lottery of life, and while it didn’t work out, you can dust yourself up and try again. Hell, even George Clooney couldn’t make his first marriage work.
3. You know it’s better to be alone for the right reasons than with someone for the wrong. And are maybe more willing to wait for the right guy then jump into something just to have a body next to you. You don’t feel “incomplete” if you’re not in a relationship, and are maybe becoming a better person each day that you’re on your own.
4. You now know (if you didn’t before) that love takes work. That it doesn’t just magically take care of itself, and float along in a some happy, pink cloud surrounded by unicorns and cotton candy. You know that both parties have to commit to supporting each other and making compromises on a daily basis. This, too, means you’ll have a more realistic and mature approach to your future relationships.
5. You had the balls (irony intended) to walk away from something that wasn’t working. You stood up and said, “No, I won’t stay in something that’s a lie.” And that means you have standards. Principles. And me, I like a woman who takes a stand. And isn’t afraid to face some public scorn in the process. Where others see “scandal,” I see strength.
6. Maybe you’ve recognized that you’ve made a mistake—either in your own actions, or simply by marrying someone else who was making a lot of mistakes. And that’s incredibly valuable for your future partners in life, because you’re clearly humble enough to accept criticism and question yourself.
7. You probably now have a deep knowledge of what sexually satisfies you (and what doesn’t). And that’s rare for women and men. And your future relationships will benefit significantly from that.
8. Maybe you were the one who walked away, and now know what “Mr. Wrong” looks like, so you’ll better able to spot “Mr. Right.” Your bullshit detector is now iron-clad, and you realize you don’t always have to “stand by your man.” Because a lot of guys don’t deserve to be stood by. You’ll be less likely to fall for bullshit more able to identify a true heart.
9. Or maybe you yourself realize you weren’t such a peach, yourself. That you have things to work on in your character, personality or attitude. But that willingness to accept fault is also incredibly attractive to the right guy. You’ve recognized you’re not perfect? Congrats, most of us never get there. We’ve got shit to work on, too. It’s nice to have some company.
10. You know what it’s like to watch love slip away, and you’re more able to keep it from happening again, to have the tough conversations that need to happen. Hell, maybe you can help us prevent us from losing our way, too, if we drift.
11. Because you look wonderful when you walk down the street alone, unafraid, cool and confident. When you sit at the bar with no one next to you, it doesn’t bother you a bit. You kind of even seem to be enjoying it. Which makes us want to be next to you all the more.
12. So you’ve got a few scars. They make you more interesting. You’ve suffered pain and loss, so you value joy and happiness more than those who’ve never lost it. You’ve experienced a wider range of emotion in life, and have a deeper appreciation for the highs and lows.
If you’re worried about the future, please don’t. Believe that your best years are ahead of you. Because there are those of us who find you all the more appealing for the battles you’ve won and lost. Who find you much more interesting and inspiring for having a few kinks in your armor and some stories to tell. And maybe you’ll find one of us wanting to be by your side sooner than you think. But, maybe you’ll be just fine without us.
This was originally published on The Good Men Project.
Author: Mark Radcliffe is a writer living in New York City. He has a weakness for bourbon, jazz and girls who can drive stick. You can read more of his essays here: www.theradcliffescrolls.tumblr.com and http://markradcliffe.com.