HE’S PERFECT... BUT DIVORCED
SHOULD GO YOU THERE KNOWING THAT HE’S FAILED HIS VOWS ONCE BEFORE? BY JESSICA MARTIN
Should you date him?
Before he met you, he put a ring on someone else.
But dating a divorced dude doesn’t have to mean bad news.
Picture this: You’re looking oking through an album fulll of stunning wwedding photos hotos featuring yoyour man ass the handsome groom. His Hi gaze, aimed med squarely at his beautiful beaut bride, is full of love and adoration. It’s It the sortt of bliss you’ve dreamed of. But B there’s a plot twist, lady – the bride ain’t you.. See, your man has been married marrie before. Yep, for better or worse, you are romantically tically involved with a man who w publiclycly agreed to spend the rest of his h life withh someone else. So, what to do? Run for
metaphorical hills screaming, “Holy baggage, Batman!”, or pop a chill pill and look at the bright side?
Unless you’re a relationship virgin or a highly evolved spiritual being who doesn’t believe in anger, bitterness or exlover voodoo dolls, chances are pretty high that you and your new boy are bringing some past baggage along for the ride called Your New Relationship. But just because your divorced dude is likely to be carting around a couple more suitcases than a guy who has never walked down the aisle doesn’t mean he’s better left in the “too hard” basket. “Everyone comes to the table with some baggage,” concedes psychologist and relationship expert John Aiken (johnaiken.com.au). “The key is how they’ve dealt with it. If a divorcee has learnt from his mistakes and got through his split in a healthy way, he’s actually a very good prospect because he’d have some relationship skills under his belt. He’s likely to understand how important it is to prioritise his partner, and listen to her needs and be capable of doing some of the key things that hold relationships together.” Sounds like dream-man material, right? And it can be, if the timing’s right.
BEWARE THE REBOUND
Madeline* thought she had hit the dating jackpot when she met Tim*. He was attentive, generous and funny. He took her out for a few casual coffees and swanky dinners, and a couple of weeks later he took her home to his place. “Everything was going well,” Madeline says. “Until we slept together. He was aloof the next morning and didn’t try to get in touch with me until days afterwards. When he finally returned my texts, he told me he didn’t want anything serious right now and alluded to the fact that he was still recovering from a break-up.”
What Madeline didn’t know at the time was Tim had recently separated from his wife and was still waiting for his divorce to be finalised. This, Aiken says, is a red flag. “You don’t want to go near someone who is recently divorced. It takes at least 12 months to get through a break-up, so if you’re meeting someone within that period of time there are probably lots of things going on for them that will make it hard to commit to a relationship.”
Although disappointed, Madeline ultimately thinks she dodged a bullet with Tim; her only wish being that he’d told her about his situation from the start. While Aiken says it’s best to keep things light, casual and fun in the beginning and not get into the nitty gritty of past relationships, you also have a right to know if he’s recently separated. “Men should be upfront about the fact they’ve been married before; if you want a straight answer, ask for one.”
AH, WHAT ABOUT THE EX-WIFE?
Navigating the beginning of a relationship is tricky enough, but becomes even more so when there’s an ex-wife and children in the picture. While Dani’s* divorcee boyfriend Josh* doesn’t have children, his ex-wife still manages to interfere with his new relationship. “She’ll find any excuse to get in touch with him, no matter the time or day,” says Dani. “I know Josh is committed to me, but he still bows to his ex’s every demand. It’s incredibly frustrating.”
When it comes to a clingy ex, Aiken says you have to be flexible, but at some stage he also needs to prioritise you over his ex. “If he can create boundaries with his ex-wife there shouldn’t be any problems, but if he can’t, it will probably become a major issue.”
It’s something Dani knows too well. “After four months of being woken up by text messages at 2am from his ex-wife when she was feeling down and wanted his attention, I told Josh he had to put a stop to it.” Dani adds, “I don’t mind if they talk every now and again – everyone has a past – but it shouldn’t come between me and him. He understood and has slowly started enforcing more boundaries when it comes to her.”
*Names have been changed.
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