What's the opposite of a divorced guy? If you answered "a married guy" you're wrong. When it comes to dating after divorce, the opposite of a divorced guy is a guy who has never been married!
These guys aren't just opposites. In my opinion, sometimes it feels like they are from different planets! Here are some things to consider when dating the divorced guy versus dating a guy who has never said "I do."
1. Kids: Someone who is divorced (depending on his age) most likely has kids, which means he will feel a little bit more comfortable with your kids. Remember, there are some guys who have never been married who have kids, and there are some guys who have never been married but have dated a lot of women with kids, so they might be used to being around kids. There are also divorced guys who have never had kids. Here's the thing. I find that a divorced guy, who has his own kids has a certain ease around children. If you are dating someone who hasn't been around kids much, they might not enjoy it. It might be awkward at first. Or, it might turn out great. He might end up really hitting it off with your kids. Or, he might fall madly in love with your kids and realize he wants to you have kids with him. Yikes! That could be an issue for some people.
2. The ability to be domestic -- in other words, can he play house? Let's face it. Once you've been married, you've seen it all. Nakedness in broad daylight, those annoying habits, likes clothes all over the floor, the burping and farting you never experience when you're dating, and really the way the person lives. Can a guy who has never been married handle this? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe he's lived with someone. Or, maybe he'll run for the hills the first time he sees you sitting on the bathtub ledge clipping your toenails. Then again, maybe I'm not giving the never been married guy enough credit. Maybe true love can overcome all those things. Just be aware that he's never been married, so up until now, he hasn't.
3. Baggage. Here's a plus for the guy who has never tied the knot. He's carrying way less baggage than the divorced guy. He's not bashing his ex every three days, he's not saying good-bye to his kids and then having that sad look on his face, and he doesn't have that wounded look that says, "My wife ruined my life." The never been married guy is fresh, untainted. Although, how do I know he wasn't madly in love and then dumped? Is his breakup any less significant because he wasn't legally hitched? I admit, everyone has baggage. But, the divorced guy's is likely to be a little bit heavier.
4. Commitment: There's commitment and then there's commitment. The divorced guy committed. He stood in front of God or a judge and a crowd of people and agreed to commit in writing. A guy who has never done that could have a commitment issue. Again, I'm not bashing the guy who has never been married. I don't know his story. He could have always wanted to commit and just never found the right person. Or, maybe he committed (got engaged) and then the girl broke it off. Who knows. All I'm saying is, the divorced guy proved he had the ability and the willingness to commit to complete and utter monogamy (Then again, he could have been a huge cheater in the marriage.) Plus, maybe he never wants to commit again. But, I hate to say this. The guy who never made that commitment in the first place doesn't really get it (the commitment, I mean.) Not that that's a bad thing, it's just a fact. He's just never been there. He's never experienced it. And that's something to think about.
Both divorced guys and guys who have never been married can be amazing guys. They can also both be jerks. In other words, I'm not saying one is better than the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to both guys.
But the bottom line is, I shouldn't be defining who someone is based on whether or not they have ever worn a wedding ring. Everyone has a different story, and a reason why they ended up divorced or never married. Maybe it's choice, maybe it's bad luck (or good luck) and maybe it shouldn't even be factored into the relationship. In other words, maybe it doesn't even matter.
What does matter? The individual person. Maybe divorced or never been married should be treated like a category, a checkbox, just like age group, gender, race or religion.
I wish they had a checkbox for the things that really mean the most, like, "Are you going to love me unconditionally?" "Will you be here for me if I really need you?" and "Will you always cause my heart to beat fast when you walk into a room?" That's more important than his past marital status, don't you think?
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of her new divorce novel with the same name, as well as her other divorce novel. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter and columnist for Sun-Times Media. She lives in Chicago with her two kids. Oh, and she's divorced!