Common wisdom is that dating after divorce for a man is easier than for a woman. Women always marvel at this resilience and seemingly a man’s need to pair up. Many men also blame their desire to find a mate with the idea that they need to find a mate. I disagree. We’re all wired differently and understanding the differences and similarities between men and women helps us take a step back from the personal attacks about dating after divorce. There is some truth to why dating after divorce is easier for a man and here are 4 lessons for the rest of us to learn from him.
I’m around a lot of divorced men (and women) and sometimes common wisdom is more like common misunderstanding. To a certain extent, there’s some truth… men do find dating after a divorce easier than women by and large. But I’m sorry, that’s also not always the case.
Men, by and large, have this innate ability to compartmentalize their pain. They’re more able to shrug off a bad evening. And this ability to do so works for better and for worse. In the case of dating, it makes them more resilient and more courageous. They’re more willing to chalk up a bad date as simply a bad date while they look for another person to pair up with instead of taking it personally.
But often times guys also suffer feeling alone just like the rest of us. There’s no such thing as some blanket invulnerability men have. The men I work with feel the pain and the loss, but they don’t dwell there emotionally the way women do (way too often). They don’t take rejection quite as personally. They usually pick up their broken hearts and move on. Women, by and large, don’t.
Why dating after divorce is easier for a man? Here are 4 lessons to learn from him.
1. compartmentalize our pain:
Women bond with one another by sharing what’s going on in their lives. They connect by catching up with the stories of their lives: their kids, their spouses, what’s happening at work. And of course, the latest date. The date is where we like to focus our attention… kids are great but if you’re not a mom, it’s a lot easier to connect with your colleague or friend by talking about falling in and out of love.
We love to talk about falling in and out of love.
We spend hours talking about love and all its permutations. Which is why women have a more difficult time letting go of the latest heartbreak. We feel the rejection deeply and we keep it going by rehashing the same sob story.
It would be better for women to take this lesson from men and learn why dating after divorce requires some compartmentalizing of our pain. We all have to compartmentalize the pain of our divorce – leaving the war stories until trust is built. Why not compartmentalize the disappointment of a series of bad dates instead of catching everyone up at work about generalized ideas about the opposite sex?
2. shrug off a bad evening:
When a man has a bad date or is ghosted by a date he’s interested in, he might grumble about the cost of the evening. He may also have this momentary sense that there aren’t any good women out there. But by and large, the guys I get reports from, simply re-rack and get back out there. That Y chromosome changes everything.
When a woman has a bad date or if that man she’s interested in doesn’t ask her out again, she feels it deeply. Personally. Which stinks because we’re simply not responsible for how others react to us. The combination of chemistry, communication, and even just compatibility is real. Dr. Patricia Allen says all three must be present in order to have the potential of a good relationship.
Even for a man, dating after divorce for a man the face of disappointment and rejection, it’s not easy to remember the greater forces at play.
I had a date over two years ago with a man who never took me out again. With two small children, had we connected, I would be helping to raise his children. In the heat of the moment, I was all in with my fantasy. When he didn’t ask me out again, I took it personally forgetting about the fact that he and I are in two totally different places in our lives. Taking the rejection personally hardly helped my self-esteem. I felt embarrassed by my attraction and unwanted instead of shrugging it off and looking for a new guy.
3. resilience and courage:
There are a lot of people in this world. I used to say, out of billions of human beings, I really only need one man to show up and be in my life. Just one. As I’ve matured and fallen in and out of love with several men, my understanding of love has also grown. I’ve learned that we all have the potential to meet and love many people.
Which is why watching men date is inspiring. The guys I know fall in and out of love quickly and oftentimes, completely. They’re either in love or not. Which, if you’re the woman wanting love from a man who isn’t returning the sentiment, can be pretty tough. But watching men date and love has given me a front-row seat to how women need to move on.
Love will come and love will go.
We could do well to say a blessing or two, give them to a higher power and ask for help ourselves. Just the way friendships grow, change, go away, and fade. Life is a continuous cycle of new inspiration if we let it be. This is what I find inspiring about watching guys date after divorce. They are all in… seeking, searching, looking for love.
Dating after divorce is easier for a man because they often know everyone leaving a marriage is looking for love.
Why else leave? The concept that there is love available… one person, two, is a worthy thing to remember. It keeps us going. Seeking… searching for the next true love. Will they be your soulmate or my the one who wounds your heart? Only time will tell, but the courage to seek is the source for the quest. In many ways, the seeking and how you go about doing so becomes more important than getting that soulmate. And that’s where men excel.
Women searching, seeking with a dose of courage rather than being resigned and guarded, do best. It takes real energy and enthusiasm to make any relationship work. Dating has to be peppered with those ingredients right from the start. Without resilience and courage, the disappointments can rack up and leave the savviest of women staying home on a Friday night. If you’re looking for love, you can’t stay home.
4. stop dwelling:
After a divorce, you know all about disappointments! There hasn’t been a single person I’ve worked with who can’t run through a litany of stories describing and justifying why the opposite sex causes disappointments. However, the men I work with tend to brush those fears – they really are stories about being afraid of being hurt again – to the side.
In the marketplace, no one can go through their career without disappointment, rejection, loss, fear, and the need for resilience. Guys get this in spades. Women, as the culture reflects and people way smarter than I have written, often have a more difficult time with competition despite having excelled in all sorts of competitive arenas.
There’s no way any of us would be successful in the marketplace if we kept dwelling on disappointment or rejection.
As an actress, I have had thousands of auditions at this point but have only booked a few handfuls of roles. If I brought that disappointment or rejection into every audition, I couldn’t stay in the arena. But I don’t. I’ve learned not to take things so personally.
Which is why remembering why dating after divorce is easier for a man and learning these 4 lessons from him is so important. All of us have to move on. There are too many people on the planet to get caught up in the one who got away. Sure, it takes courage and a sense of resilience and sure, it’s not easy in the face of losing a marriage, but like a man, it’s time to get into the dating arena with enthusiasm and find new love.
As my coach, Mastin Kipp reminds us, “what misses us was never for us and what’s for us will never miss us.”
If you’re having trouble dating after divorce and would like an easier time, doingDivorce™ School is open for enrollment. Reach out and set up a complimentary call.
Laura Bonarrigo is a Certified Life Coach and a Certified Divorce Coach at laurabonarrigo.com. Laura’s a writer, public speaker and the founder of doingDivorce™ School an online coaching program for those ready to shed the pain of divorce. For empowering and practical ways to lose the identity of your past, visit www.doingDivorceSchool.com and laurabonarrigo.com.