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Parallax - Advice            April 17, 2000



   She's only 26, dating and... divorced

Dear Conversely, Ask us a Question!

I have been divorced for two years now, and I think I'm ready to find someone else. My ex cheated on me, that was the main reason we broke up. I've met many interesting men since I left him, but until now I was very standoffish with them. Now that I'm beginning to open up and meet new ones, I have this fear of telling them I'm divorced. I'm only 26 and I think they'd never suspect it if I don't mention it. But I know I should. I just don't want to scare them off. I don't want them to think something is wrong with me. How long should I wait? I'm also afraid they'll find out from someone else who does know, and maybe then they'll be offended I didn't mention it at first. Am I overreacting, or am I right to be careful?

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Her view:

Dear Divorced,

Careful is good, but omitting information like a divorce is lying beyond a point and few people (at least that I know) like liars. I think you should get it out in the open - these days it's no biggie anyway. You'll feel a huge sense of relief to be done with the secrecy. Sure, you were married - but you make it sound like you abused animals in your spare time... Just admit you made a mistake and are moving on. I think the guys with half a brain won't be scared off. They'll ask to hear the story around what happened and then decide what they think. Of course, there will be those who can't get over it - but they're not for you, now or later.

I know many people who divorced young. They are open with the topic and have had good experiences. Present yourself honestly and explain what happened. Don't leave guys feeling like there is some gaping enigma - that would probably spook them the most. And be confident - very - you've done nothing wrong here. This is, as they say, just life.

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His view:

Dear Divorced,

If you don't overreact, you do over-worry. For every guy out there who'll prove himself a pretentious bigot for turning down all divorcees with his pure-silver finger, there's another one willing to hear you out because he has a secret too (maybe his own divorce...?).

The fact that there was a divorce should be less important than the causes of it. A guy endowed with a normal brain will be asking himself: Why did it happen? Is she telling the whole truth? Can she really sustain a long-term relationship? If he likes the answers, and he likes you, it will take something more insidious to scare him away.

Also, I wouldn't suggest you choose full disclosure up front. Tell them when you are ready, be it first or fourth date. If they find out from someone else, but they haven't met you yet, or barely know you, I see limited grounds for a serious complaint. Then again, if they find out as they're preparing to go down on one knee...

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