Home Featured The Best Man: The Divorcee or the Perpetually Single?

The Best Man: The Divorcee or the Perpetually Single?

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man surrounded by women2

In a recent email thread, Dr.J shared the following insight:

I also read an article the other day that said that post age 30 a man who has been divorced is more likely to remarry than someone who has never been married. It broke it down too. Basic takeaway was if you met someone who was 35 and they’d never been married, you’re likely to get suspicious  but if you meet a guy who has been divorced you know that he has the potential to marry and commit.

I’m not a woman, and I’ve never pretended to know how women think (I also have no idea). Instead, I took to Twitter to get women’s perspective on this issue. Honestly, there wasn’t a consensus so there isn’t much to share. However, I thought this was an excellent opportunity for the readers of SBM to share their thoughts on the topic. I’m interested in this for two reasons: 1) Men seem to operate under the assumption of whenever they want to find a wife, they can go out and find one, regardless of their current age or past marital status. I honestly don’t know how accurate this assumption is but it is a popular one. 2) Perhaps women could shed some light on whether this assumption is really true based on how they view men, you know, since men don’t read relationship advice.

See Also:  How One Man Became Jaded: Part 3

Here is the Tweet I sent out last week, and I have the same question for you today. If you’re interested in some of the responses I received on Twitter, you can click here.


Speak on it!

Comment(40)

  1. I always miss your healthy twitter discussions, I log on and see fuggery. As a 25 year old man who would hope to be married someday, if 10 years from now I’m telling someone NOW I’m ready to settle down, more people will be requested. Most people have been dating since their teens, if you find yourself in your 30s having never even been in a long term monogamous relationship you’re not as bout that life as you proclaim.

    1. "…if you find yourself in your 30s having never even been in a long term monogamous relationship you're not as bout that life as you proclaim."

      True, but the situation is "have ever been married" …not "have ever been in a long-term monogamous relationship" …and there's the rub. For some reason I believe some people associate 35 and never married the same as never had a signficant other.

  2. Umm it depends on the guy. Like what’s the background story behind why he’s 35 and has never been in a long term serious relationship? I know a lot of guys who said they spent 23-27 playing the field, and around like 28 started looking for something more serious (not necessarily getting married right away). I mean was he one of those guys who stayed with his high school gf until sophomore year in college, they broke up and he’s been single since then? At 35 are we even counting relationships that happened before you were old enough to buy a drink? At least with the divorce guy, if he is serious about settling down, he’s probably learned a lot from his last marriage.

    Side note: At least men get until the age of 35 until people judge them about being perpetually single. I remember reading something that said “if you meet a woman whose 25 and never been in any type of serious relationship (not so much marriage), that might be a red flag/ she may have some issues”.

    1. "Like what’s the background story behind why he’s 35 and has never been in a long term serious relationship?"

      See above reply to Tristan's comment. lol.

    2. That last paragraph= story of my life. Whenever people find out I've single all my twenty 24 (5 soon) everybody looks at me in confusion. Top two follow-up questions are "Are you waiting for marriage? If you are you're waiting too long." Or "Are you confused about whether you like men?" And don't let a man find out (especially older men) you get that you-ain't-gettin'-no younger speech. If I were a guy everyone would be encouraging me to take my time.

  3. This question depends on the age of the woman answering it.

    At 41, it really doesn’t matter anymore. As long as he has a good heart, career, etc, whether he has been married before is irrelevant. I have a different mindset than I did at 30. At 30 I didn’t want a man that had been married or had children, and neither did some men. Today, I know about 7 guys who are 40+ who have never been married with no children. But I know about 16 women who are 40+ who have never been married and have no children.

    As you get older your relationship priorities change and what becomes important in a relationship changes also.

    I don’t give a 35+ man the side-eye if he’s never been married and has all his ducks in a row (career, house, decent credit). That tells me he was focused.

    That just means now that he has all that ‘struggle life’ out of the way and can focus on me.

    1. cosign on this Javone. I don't think it matters much, unless a person specifically tells you "I'm not marrying because I've been there, done that, and don't want to do it again." Or unless a person tells you, "I've never been married because I don't ever want to get married."
      Other than that the age of a person and if they've ever been married before or not is not really all that relevant to if they will ever get married. When a person is ready and feels its the right time and they are with the right person, and if they want to get married, they'll get married.

  4. 1) That "old men" tweet broke my heart. **grabs cane**

    2) That "Men seem to operate under the assumption of whenever they want to find a wife, they can go out and find one, regardless of their current age or past marital status" line is the truest truth ever truthed. Men aren't pressed to the chagrin of women everywhere. However, since women operate the same way concerning s*x, I feel somewhat vindicated.
    HOWEVER, there are fewer things odder to look at than a man whose er.."clock" has begun to tick. Y'all ever went on a date where the guy gives YOU a timeline, NO plan? "Yeah, I wanna be married by next year/I wanna have a kid in the next eight months" O_o
    My recent post Naya Rivera is Engaged!

    1. My personal opinion on said male scenarios is you have to look at what the outlook has done for either man. I've dated divorcees who have reached their complete romantic end point, I have dated "older" single men that are set in their ways and have reached their compromising end point. I have also dated optimistic, open-hearted men on both ends. So it's really a case by case basis for me. I care more about the mindset than the history, ESPECIALLY if it seems you have yet to learn from it (for example, if all your relationships' demise were the women's fault).
      My recent post Naya Rivera is Engaged!

    2. "Y'all ever went on a date where the guy gives YOU a timeline, NO plan? "Yeah, I wanna be married by next year"

      yeah girl! it's a scary thing lol

  5. It’s true that if you’re a post 30 y/o man, you will lose out on some women for not having a marriage resume. (I know I have.) I find this just as odd as the “no credit is bad credit” rule. And don’t give that “at least he tried” speech. Celebrating the “good ‘ol college try” is actually just a celebration of failure.
    “Magazine philosophy” paints the post 30 y/o unmarried man with a broad stroke.
    1.Cheater
    2.Commitment phobic (whatever that means)
    3.Gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that)
    4.Not grown up

    Smilez_920 points out that this stigma applies to women as well. I didn’t know that. If I get married at 42, I’d want her to be just as much of a novice as I am…but that’s just me

    1. The (admittedly flawed) logic behind it is since "statistically" more women are walking around looking for relationships on surface the only reason you haven't been married is because you don't want to, for whatever reason…the reasoning behind it is what they find suspect. "At least he tried" is an indicator that at least he "wanted " it…which they have no guarantee on with a man who apparently hasn't for over three decades. There's a lot wrong with this, but bigger assumptions have been made for smaller things (like, celibacy=reformed h*e, but another day, lol).
      My recent post Naya Rivera is Engaged!

      1. "At least he tried" is an indicator that at least he "wanted” it…which they have no guarantee on with a man who apparently hasn't for over three decades.

        Well written. I just wished that there was a point system for those that were (are) aware enough to avoid marriage when they know they’d suck at it……I woulda been laughably horrible at marriage in my 20s. I was self aware enough to know that.

        "…but bigger assumptions have been made for smaller things (like, celibacy=reformed h*e”

        Touché.

      2. I agree Amaris. People make some wild and crazy assumptions that are usually waaaaay off base.
        What needs to be focuses on is not so much whether a person was married or not, but the reasons why they never married or were married and what happened during the divorce if they are divorced. Thats the important need to know info.
        Just because a person was married doesn't mean they will make a great potential spouse.
        In that situation practice does not make perfect. If a person got married too young and for the wrong reasons and didn't learn anything from the previous marriage then that won't necessarily guarantee they will do better the 2nd time around.

  6. *places my vote in the "Never been married and 35" ballot box*

    Personally, I don't want divorce to even be an option on the table when I get married. I would date a divorcee, but if we're talking about preferences, I'd prefer the unmarried man.

  7. I've never dated a divorced guy, so I can't be sure. I've spent time with a separated guy, and he was a bit jaded. He had given up on love. But the same could be said for the 35 y.o.'s I was dating a few years ago. They'd "been hurt" and now were "really careful with their hearts". Really careful with their hearts, but throwing caution to the wind with OTHER body parts.

    ANYWAY…

    35 and never married is a red flag. Did you ask a woman to marry you and she said no? Were you with a woman for 6 years that didn't believe in marriage but you wanted it, so you finally had to let go? Had a sick relative with absolutely no way to be in a relationship? If you can't answer "yes" to any of those questions, I'm curious as to what your reasons might be for why in possibly 20+ years of dating experience, you haven't found a SINGLE person you could consider sharing your life with.

    More often than not, it's just that you were having fun, and your idea of fun didn't include a wife, kids, etc. Or it's because you were so ambitious you "didn't have time" for a family. My idea of fun and/or success has never negated a family, so I doubt we'd be on the same page, even if you were ready to settle down. But that's just me. I like to share values, and what would it look like if one parent is saying, "Love is for later", and the other is saying, "Love and family can enrich your life."

  8. I don't think I attract the type of women that would even care why I am still single. If your criteria is that fickle, then I'm clearly not the one for you.

  9. Hmmmm…. I don't know just because you've never been married doesn't mean that you wouldn't be successful in making a healthy relationship work. What if the divorced dude is all toxic and cray cray? Anyone can "get married." It really isn't that hard. And I would venture that it's a lot of single people on here who could be married at this moment, but you may have caught a case if you were sooo you're not. Being a good partner is a totally different story. Sometimes guys are solid, decent dudes who marriage minded, but they still single until someone worth it comes along. I've seen it happen and work out.
    My recent post A Good Man is Hard to Find?

  10. I don't think prior relationships are a testament to your ability to commit or be in a marriage. I can understand if someone who has been in committed relationships hesitating to jump into one with a novice because there's a lot of learning there but as a novice to many things…I say give it a chance. It's getting to be like applying for jobs and trying to find that elusive "experience" an employer wants to have. The only way to get experience is in application and that can be difficult cuz you don't know what experience is good experience and how much is too much.

  11. Women HATE it when they are being asked "Why are you single?/ What? You never been married :O?"… These questions are like ARRRRF, what do you want me to answer "I'm ugly"? "my sister slept with my bf"? (because people who ask expect a dramatic answer -_-'!)
    Most of the time the answer is supa dupa simple, it's just life!
    Well it's the same for men… Life happens… Things happened.
    S/O to the 35 years old who have never married :D!!!

  12. I would much rather date the 35 year old never-been-married-before man rather than the 30 year old divorcee. First off, 30 years old is still kind of young for a man to get married especially for his 2nd marriage. __And I would much rather be someone with a clean record, than someone with 1 strike against them. Statistically speaking, second marriages have a higher rate of divorce than 2nd marriages so why would I want to be anybody's 2nd choice? __Yes, a marriage shows he's willing to commit but a divorce shows he doesn't know how to make it work

    1. "Yes, a marriage shows he's willing to commit but a divorce shows he doesn't know how to make it work "

      High Five!

        1. You’re correct, but here at SBM, we like to paint with broad strokes. “A marriage shows he's willing to commit”, is the textbook reply to the choice of preferring a pre-married man over the novice. So the equally broad stroke in the other direction is, “a divorce shows he doesn't know how to make it work”. Neither is true… and that’s what makes it cool.

  13. I live in Africa so I speak for the society I know. I have to say that for the most part, a man can not be 35 and above, made (or at least financially well off), not married, never married and be perfect. There has to be something- a serious character flaw, baggage especially a family that is difficult to get along with, or some spiritual problem of sorts.
    I'll understand if the man has suffered a serious heartbreak that left him clutching his heart at the alter, but if this was not the case, I will not date nor advice any of my friends to date such a man unless of course, my friend is also in his age bracket.
    there may be exceptions, but this is my opinion in general.

  14. i'm not going to lie. A man, person that's over 35 never married and no kids, will definitely cause me to raise an eyebrow. My reasoning is why havent you committed? Or at least made the mistake of committing early? Is there a defect? Or are you a committment phobe? Not saying that I would not date him, because he could be the holy f**king grail of men, but I will be asking questions until I am satisfied. If I was 35 and never married, no kids, I would definitely understand his view of myself. Men who are divorced are not necessarily opposed to getting married again, however, if they have matured in the right way, that failure causes them to be more cautious, and understand their faults of what caused their prior marriage to go wrong. We all have ghosts that haunt us. It's unfair to avoid other because we are afraid.
    My recent post Who do I have to be, to gain reciprocity?:The problem with takers

    1. “My reasoning is why havent you committed? Or at least made the mistake of committing early?”
      Are we talking about marriage or commitment?

      “Is there a defect?”
      Well damn. Granted, I tend to find marriage un-necessary (not that I wouldn’t do it) I just care more about the commitment & don’t need that validated by marriage. My condom game is on point so there are no lil HFGs running around. However, in my dating world these are in fact “defects”. The logic that I find twisted is that I somehow have to have made these mistakes to be considered date-able. In the not so distant past, you were a pariah for being un-wed w/ a kid. Now it’s a (black) dating requirement. SMH. What’s next hypertension?

      “If I was 35 and never married, no kids, I would definitely understand his view of myself.”
      That sucks. I suggest the middle finger to the man that frowns upon that.

      1. "Are we talking about marriage or commitment?"
        I used them interchangably in this scenario. Apologies around. LOL

        "Well damn. Granted, I tend to find marriage un-necessary (not that I wouldn’t do it) I just care more about the commitment…."
        Not saying that you would be undate-able, but in my opinion I see marriage as my end game and I respect the union, religiously and politically. Honestly, that would stick out to me if we dated because that is something big! I want you to marry me because that is what you value and you feel that way about me.
        My recent post Who do I have to be, to gain reciprocity?:The problem with takers

        1. Not because you got tired of running and waved the white flag so I can "capture" you. Marriage holds a very important meaning in my life, and if he didn't see it as such that could cause a lot of problems. He may not be quick to move towards marriage and I don't want to be a 5, 10, 20 year old girlfriend. A defect to me is that he always runs when a relationship gets to deep. His relationships only last for a year and he's been in a ton of them. Not saying that someone in that age is undateable, but it would send up a flag for me to investigate. ____"That sucks. I suggest the middle finger to the man that frowns upon that."__And the guy above is free to do the same to me. However, he might think that the reason why i'm single is because I talk too much (which I do). I can't be mad at him if he feels that way, which is why you keep going until you find what works for you.

        2. It goes more like this. If I love a woman and marriage is of value to her, I’ll do it. I mean, why not? However, I don’t care about it, don’t think that it’s a “must” in life, don’t think that it changes anything about our relationship and because she loves me as well, she gets to know that.
          It’s because I love HER and care little about marriage that I could easily marry to make her happy. And, what better gesture is there than to do something that I deem un-necessary for the one that I love? What I’ve taken from your comment is that I need to hide what I think in the backyard. (no sarcasm)

          “I want you to marry me because that is what you value…”
          Shouldn’t the primary requirement be that I value YOU? Why does it have to be you AND a legal/ religious institution? This is where I think people miss the boat. Ultimately, when you peel all that socio-politico-religious stuff away…what’s left is all that was there in the first place… two people who committed to each other. If I can peel it all back and still have love, then mathematically it was un-necessary.

        3. "Why does it have to be you AND a legal/ religious institution?"
          Well it it comes down is to your beliefs regarding the situation. Our core beliefs is what allows us to live, breathe, think and ultimately make our decisions. All are flawed and not one is better than the other. I am so glad that one would value me but so are my beliefs. Love is an amazing thing. I think it's the strongest thing in the world, next to super glue, however it takes more than just that to maintain a relationship.
          My recent post Who do I have to be, to gain reciprocity?:The problem with takers

        4. To me, I believe a lot of your beliefs, morals, and the huge important points should be in alignment. If you dont see the point in marriage, I won't knock it. That is your belief, but if your girl is a person who is big into the core meaning of marriage and everything that it signifies, then that may make things a bit difficult down the road. However, if she wants to be married, but isn't in that big of a rush, that that would be something that would be more beneficial in the long run yourself.
          My recent post Who do I have to be, to gain reciprocity?:The problem with takers

        5. I would never say hide your beliefs or thoughts. A relationship and later marriage should be welcoming to all thoughts without fail, why else would you commit to forever with one person to not share that? Being in alignment is critical. I would think that apart of failing in love with someone is because of their personality, philosophies, and sure their physcial beauty.
          My recent post Who do I have to be, to gain reciprocity?:The problem with takers

  15. 35 in my book is not old, it's always been my favorite age on a man, they're young enough to still wanna do things, but old enough to finally have some sense in their heads. whether they've married or not is a non-issue for me *shrugs*

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