There might actually be a significant downside to dating a divorced man, according to Frances: They often don’t want to remarry. “They have been in situations in which they have lost a lot of their net worth and are reticent to put themselves in that situation again.”Take actor George Clooney. He’s often labeled as a never-to-be-tamed bachelor, but he’s actually one of these supposedly desirable divorcés. (He was married to actress Talia Balsam — who now plays Mona Sterling on “Mad Men” — from 1989 to 1993. Balsam is now married to actor John Slattery.)Clooney, while clearly capable of commitment, has in fact vowed to never marry again — and, so far, he’s made good on that promise.Along with a potential aversion to marry again, there are other drawbacks to dating a divorced man that women should consider.
“Men with children from a first marriage usually don’t want more children,” Frances says. They can feel really guilty for putting their children through a divorce and “they don’t want their children from their first families to feel unwanted.” She advises women who want marriage and children to be clear about their romantic goals within the first one or two dates to avoid investing their time — and their hearts — in men who don’t share their goals.According to Frances, pitting two types of men against each other based on their life experiences isn’t necessarily all that helpful to women, either. “All of this information has to be read with a grain of salt,” she says. “There are some universal principles that most people kind of fall into and there are always aberrations and there are always people who are in the fringe who don’t behave according to type.”Instead, women need to look at each potential partner on an individual basis, Batshaw says. “Whether he is single or divorced is only one of many criteria that ultimately should be used to determine whether he has the right character traits for a future husband.”
Allison Pescosolido, M.A., and Andra Brosh, PhD, founders of Divorce Detox, a resource for post-divorce recovery and counseling said via e-mail: “An ideal partner, single or divorced, is a mature adult that has taken the time to become a complete, well-rounded individual,” they say. “Divorced men have the benefit of gaining relationship experience that can help them in the future. Single men who have overcome hardships are preferable to single men with little life experience.”Ultimately, Frances believes that, while potential partners can be categorized in many ways, from her experience there are really only two kinds of men in the world: “those who get pleasure and self-esteem from making women happy and those who get pleasure and self-esteem from making themselves happy.”Women who find the former, she says, will be happy for life — no matter what the guy’s previous life experience was.