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There are 3 types of divorced men — and only one is relationship material

There are 3 types of divorced men — and only one is relationship material:

1. The one who values his freedom

This guy tried marriage and learned it wasn’t his cup of tea. He found that marriage was a series of compromises and negotiated collaborations that weren’t worth it in his grand scheme of things.

For him, the delicious and comforting aspects of partnership didn’t make the trade worth the sacrifice. He enjoys companionship.

He craves adventure. And since he loves women, he’s going to work on spending time with as many of them as he can for the rest of his life. When this guy says, “I’m never going to get married again,” believe him.

 

There is a subset of humans who have unkind things to say about this guy. I’m not one of them. I think he’s awesome. If he wants to be single, date women, and buy fancy whatever (cars, boats, etc.) that make him happy, then that’s his business just as long as he’s not making any false promises to the women he dates. (He can promise whatever he wants to his boats.)

2. The one who is not over his failed relationship

When a divorce is sudden and didn’t see it coming, he might be in shock. Or even if he knew it was inevitable long in advance, depending on how he manages the emotional side of his life, it might take him a minute to pull it together and be ready for someone new.

His whole world got rocked and he needs to find his footing again in a new life after divorce. The hot-mess-divorcee comes on strong. You are the most amazing woman ever! You two get “swept up.” And then he has a moment of clarity, which is when you learn you’re the rebound. It feels like being dropped to the ground from a thousand feet in the air.

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So, if this is how it goes, why? Why would smart women like me and my BFF be willing to put ourselves through it over and over with the newly divorced or separated guy when this specific category of dating is so painful? The answer is easy: Not all men.

3. The one who is ready to date after divorce

You, too, have a shot at meeting the newly detangled guy who says, “Wow, I didn’t think I’d meet you so soon.” And boom — done! How can you tell which one you’ve got? Easy, but it might take a minute.

The “I’m free! I’m free! I’m finally free!” guy will usually tell you before you can ask. He might all but bring a bullhorn to deliver this message on your first date or he’ll say so right there on his online dating profile — “I’m only looking for fun,”

“I want to meet new people for adventures,” or “Not looking for anything serious.” They’ll tell you. Is there room for exceptions? Sure. But you have a whole lot of vetting to do.

The hot mess might be needy, clingy, or overly reminiscent of his past (with his ex or the ex before the ex). You might get the sense he doesn’t see you — at all.

When he’s looking at you, he sees a mother, a savior, or the fantasy he’s always wanted. He might not have a confident sense of self at this point in his life, so he projects onto you. Or you might get to the “We’re dating” part, but you can tell he’s so guarded that he’s not going to let you in or fully commit.

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These signs will be obvious if you’re willing to see them for what they are — or it’ll become obvious when he ghosts you because you were the rebound. Alternately, he may take the “showing up but not opening up” path.

I’ve had both, more than once. And if I had been truly honest with myself, I could have caught even the “It takes time because he’s not opening up” ones much faster if I’d been willing to take off the rose-colored glasses and stop making excuses for him.

Keep your eyes wide open, ladies! Then there’s the “Terrible timing, but it’s you” guys. They both show up and open up.

You can count on them to do what they say. They take actions that match their words (in other words, not all talk). They’re not too busy for you. They’re leaning in by calling, texting, and planning fun new adventures with you.

On my second date with my now-husband, I said, “Wow, you’re great! It’s too bad our timing is so terrible”, referring to his newly separated status. He replied, “It’s not bad timing for you. The bad timing is on my side. It’s not for you to worry about, it’s mine, I got this.” Hot, right? I sure thought so. And there are more hot things to note about this type of newly disentangled guy:

  • He knows how to commit and he’s likely willing to do it again at some point.
  • He likely “grew up” in his marriage and as a result, he’s an upgraded version of himself thanks to his ex and the experiences he had with her
  • He’s realistic about what he needs and what he can provide in partnership
  • The fantasy of “happily ever after” without putting in any work is well and truly shattered (good)
  • Bonus points if he has a good relationship with his children: Those little humans have done unspeakable things to and on him, and he still loves and cares for them. (That’s staying power!)
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Good men who love partnership will find it again, and often quickly. Most women have this fantasy that a guy will wait, mourn, do inner work, heal, take a few personal growth workshops, wait three years, and then go find his new wife.

But it doesn’t work that way in the real world. What I see consistently is men connecting with their new forever people either straight away or after the first rebound (or three) when the old wounds aren’t yet entirely healed, ink is still not dried (or even inked yet in some cases), but getting there.

These are the men who hold their new person’s hand and willingly pull them into his future while still doing the work to shake off the past. (Sorry, I don’t create the realities, I just observe them.)

So, what do you think? Still, gonna grab your sneakers and run away from the newly disentangled guy as fast as you can? Or are you going to give them a chance?

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