I know it can be brutal “out there” in post-divorce dating land. I get it. And we have all spent a lot of time thinking, talking and writing about the considerable downsides.
But somebody said something to me recently that stuck: It’s not scientific, not official, not guaranteed and, in fact, there are statistics that make a lie out of it. But there is truth IN it and it’s that truth that I’m thinking about today.
My source is in his 80s, an educator for more than 60 years, a brutal skeptic and about as pragmatic and unsentimental as a human being can get. But he knows lots and lots of people and, for whatever odd reason, people tell him a lot about themselves. They confess their truths to him.
What he said was this: The happiest couples he knows, like, actually happy together, are those in second marriages who really took the time to choose carefully the second time around; who used their first marriage as a wake-up call, a teaching moment (or decade or two).
I started asking around, asking women in second-time-around relationships what made them better, or at least smarter. It’s unscientific, merely anecdotal information. But it makes sense. And it offers a lot of hope.
Everyone I talked to said something to the effect of: All bets are off. In a new relationship after a tough marriage, you get to rewrite all the rules. If you were passive or felt pushed around in your first marriage, you can start off, right from the beginning, in a new role. You can make the plans, get your voice heard, assert whatever it is you couldn’t in your first marriage.
Women who married in their 20s, 30s, 40s, have lots of new priorities, wants, skills, passions, goals and traits. So much has changed. If you and your first partner couldn’t or didn’t grow and change in compatible ways, finding someone new can be liberating from all those parts of yourself you have moved away from, grown out of or simply chose to release.