Is Mr Divorced the new Mr Right?
While some women may consider it a liability, being a divorced man is a big plus for others. So what is the undeniable appeal or trouble with dating a man who has been married before?
Until about two decades ago, marriage was sacred and revered while divorce was stigmatised and frowned upon.
Any man involved in the process was regarded as a failure who could not manage or maintain a relationship.
But today, divorced men can be comforted by the fact that many women find their mileage to be a virtue, and studies suggest that guys who’ve been through the matrimony ringer bring many positive traits to the table.
The familiar old statistic that 50 per cent of marriages will end in divorce makes the odds huge that you will encounter a divorced man at least once in your dating life.
Merciline Koki, 34, who has been married to a divorced man for three years says she did not push away the divorced man when she was still on the dating scene.
“If you play your cards right, you might come upon a maturely divorced man who has learned from his failed marriage and plans to use it for a better future, like I did. There are several ways that these divorced diamonds in the rough can make for great partners,” she chuckles.
Koki says her husband had learned from his mistakes and she is enjoying the fruits.
Marriage counsellor and promoter of peace in marriage, Syviha Mhengya concurs saying one of the pros of dating a divorced man is rewarding in a way. “Out of experience, divorcees are more informed to make better choices and understand how to run relationships better than bachelors,” she says.
She points out that a marriage teaches you what you want and need in a partner. Often, the qualities a person thinks they need before marriage is quite different after the split.
“A divorced man likely has a clear picture of what works for them, and what doesn’t. His awareness of this may save you some future heartbreak, as he could be choosing you for a good reason,” he said.
Not a lap of luxury
However, this doesn’t mean there exists no cons. While Mhengya agrees that the divorced can be great potential partners, the debate that the divorced man has more potential than the single man isn’t a switch-on, switch-off kind of scenario.
Varying from man to man, some of them may come carrying baggage from the previous marriage. Baggage doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but it can be if the man is not able to deal with it.
“For example, if he has an ex-wife who is still angry about the divorce and who is calling every day and harassing him or his new girlfriend. That’s bad news,” she notes. His children may still be grieving the divorce and resenting the new partner.
To which sociologist Jackline Wamunyu agrees. “There are serious downsides of dating a divorcee. These men have been involved in the divorce process and we all know how messy divorces can get.
"He probably has lost lots of money, even assets and the experience has turned him into a bitter person,” she warns.
Martin Mwega who divorced six years ago and vowed to stay single denies that he is a commitment freak. “I have no issues whatsoever with committing, but I promised that I would never take that path again. Divorce bore too much on me,” he says. So far, he has made good on that promise.
The aversion to marry again is not the only issue the divorced man has. Along with that, if he had children from his previous marriage, he wouldn’t want to have more with you.
“I’m generally conscious when advising women what kind of a man they should date. But women should be cautious when dating a divorcee. They should be clear about their expectations within the first few dates to avoid wasting their time on men who don’t seem to share their goals,” she cautions.
But then again, Wamunyu says putting all divorced men under one umbrella shouldn’t be criteria enough to judge a potential partner.
“Divorce doesn’t have to cast a dark shadow on a potential partner, unless they’re still bitter or are using you for a rebound. There are some who actually want settle down. Women should judge a man as an individual, divorced or not,” she says.