Dear single writers of the 100 Hour Board,
What is your opinion about dating somebody who has been previously married and divorced? Would you date somebody with children?
-Ready to mingle?
I'm with most of the other writers in that the most important factor would be the reasons for the divorce.
However, I like to think that I'm relatively self-aware. I think I know myself well enough to know that I would not do well as a second wife. This has nothing to do with the guy and entirely with me. I would always feel like I was being compared to this other woman and that I would never measure up. Or, if his previous wife was abusive or otherwise harmful, I would feel like he would have me on a weird pedestal. I'm also not super comfortable with the idea of being sealed to someone who is already sealed to someone else, which rules out widowers. That being said, I think I'd be more likely to date or marry a man who has children but no previous marriage.
However, I would probably insist that he get counseling and that we attend couples counseling. Whatever went wrong in his previous marriage would probably have been traumatic in some way, and I would want to make sure that we dealt with those emotions properly as we progressed in the relationship.
I would be open to it, depending on the reasons for the divorce. They would still be subject to my high standards, though. I'd probably take extra care to make sure that they have good conflict resolution skills and take responsibility for their own actions.
Honestly, I would but maybe not right off the bat. I'd have to know them pretty well and have a lot of interest in them specifically. I'd have to be certain they have a healthy marital outlook. Before I married anyone who was previously married and divorced I would want to meet the ex. Which sounds weird but I have enough experiences with divorce to know that's important, particularly if there are kids involved.
So for me, previous marriages are not a deal breaker, but definitely a factor. I won't do court, so custody stuff and settlements etc should already be worked out.
Being divorced with kids isn't a deal breaker for me, but I think I would be more hesitant to date someone in that situation. Of course, I'm slow when it comes to dating anyone period, so maybe the difference would be negligible.
I have a couple friends who have married guys who had previously been divorced (although none of them had kids from the first marriage), and they're all very happy. I asked one of them about her experience with dating in that situation, and she said that she didn't even know her boyfriend had been previously married until their relationship got more serious. It wasn't something he wanted to proclaim to the world because it was still somewhat painful for him to talk about, and people make a lot of assumptions about divorcees. He got out into the dating world and went on several dates with my friend before telling her that he was divorced and explaining some of the situation around it, because it wasn't until at that point that she really had any need to know. It threw my friend for a loop, and she had to do a lot of thinking and praying, but ended up going forward with dating him and is very happily married now.
If kids had been in the mix it would have been harder for the guy to keep his previous marriage under wraps for as long as he did (unless they met on a dating app or something), so my friend can't speak to that part of your question. But she said that for her the most important part was just finding out why he had gotten divorced and making sure that he wasn't an abuser/that he didn't have a pattern of behavior that would ruin any new relationships. By the point my friend found out about his previous marriage they were fairly committed, so my friend was more willing to put in effort/felt like she deserved to find out what had happened. It required a lot of honesty from him, as well as my friend talking to people who had seen his first marriage fall apart and could offer their perspective on what had happened, but she ultimately decided that she wanted to keep dating him. They dated for a fairly long time before getting married because they both wanted to make sure they were ready and that he didn't feel rushed into anything, and they're super happy now.
From his perspective, getting back into the dating game wasn't an all-at-once thing. He would ask someone on a date and then hate it and feel sad and discouraged, thinking that maybe he just wasn't supposed to date someone ever again, so it definitely took a while for him to feel comfortable with dating again. He didn't try to force anything, but was just open to the possibility that he might meet someone, and eventually things worked out.
I know you directed your question to single writers, and I'm married, but I thought I would give you the perspective of someone who has been through something similar to what you're asking about, rather than just giving you our hypothetical thoughts. I hope it's okay that I chimed in.
Dear mix and mingle,
I think that I would be open to date someone who has been divorced before, though it would be difficult for me to understand exactly what they went through. A few of my mom's siblings married poorly the first time and didn't realize exactly what they were getting themselves into before marriage, but now, they are almost all happily married. Relationships aren't something that I jump into, but I don't think that their being divorced would make a difference, as long as the same problems that they had with their spouse would not harm our relationship. I think that I would give our relationship extra time, too, just to be sure that my partner had time to work through any struggles with commitment that they might have because of their previous companion.
As for dating someone with children, I think that this would be a good thing for me, as long as I felt that if we got married that their child would feel like mine as well. I would want to know how my partner would treat our own kids, and it would give me a hint as to what married life would be, if our relationship got serious.
Either way, I would be at least willing to try dating to see how it would go. I'm not sure how good I would be at dating someone who has divorced, but if they didn't want their past to define them, I wouldn't let it either.