On this blog, I have an entire category of articles entitled “Dating and Divorce.” These articles span various topics related to dating after a divorce, but most are devoted to a specialty area of mine: dating separated and divorced men. Many of the articles in that folder represent my most frequented and most commented articles. I published Dating the Divorced Man in 2007 and it’s now it its 2nd edition. Clearly, this is a topic many people can relate to.
Most of the comments from these article are stories from women who have suffered difficulties dating a separated or divorced man. The women share their stories, advise and support one another, and I chime in when I can and when I feel it’s appropriate.
However, on rare occasion I get a comment not from a woman dating one of these men, but from a “first wife,” the woman a divorced man was once married to (or, in some cases, still in the process of divorcing). And while the articles aren’t written for the first wife, I like these comments because they provide another point of view. For example:
- The ex will share how hard it is for their ex-husbands to have moved on so quickly with someone else.
- She will share her frustration at another woman vying for her man during separation when, in her mind, the family is still working through things and not yet ready to put the kibosh on the marriage yet.
- They will warn single women to avoid separated men, knowing that some of these men haven’t cut the cord to them or the marriage yet and still show signs of attachment.
Unfortunately, some of these comments never make it out of moderation because these wives/ex-wives go a few steps further, into Jerry Springer territory. These comments are so laden with insults that they’d be funny if they weren’t so revealing. Others aren’t delete-worthy, but they’re filled with blame and vitriol toward the new woman, who they perceive as the real problem.
To some of these women, the new woman is to blame for the breakup of the family. And if not, she’s the thing that’s preventing the family from healing and restoring its unity. These kinds of first wives never hold the man responsible, seeing him as “confused” and “vulnerable.” The new woman is the evil beast who took advantage of his vulnerability during a tough time, and cruelly stole him away from his home. And, not surprisingly, these women never take any of the responsibility themselves.
If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this kind of first wife, it isn’t pretty. I would know. For example, I once dated a divorced man who’d been married for 20 years. His wife had cheated on him multiple times. Finally, he left. Later, she found out he’d met someone, began showing up at his house when I was there, even referring to me as a “slut” (to him, not to my face). This woman was stuck facing the results of her mistakes, and I was a convenient scapegoat.
And that’s the real issue, isn’t it?
These women are in pain, more pain than they know what to do with. They feel scared and powerless. And people feel powerless, they lash out at anyone they perceive as threatening to them. They’re desperate to keep their marriages and families together, and believe that the Whores/Bimbos/Bitches/Sluts their ex-husbands date are the one thing in the way of their dreams. This is completely delusional thinking, of course. They don’t want to acknowledge that their husbands pursued these new women out of their own free will and continue pursuing them for a reason. Why? Because to acknowledge that would mean having to let go of a dream. And that’s a painful, painful thing to do. Moreover, they aren’t yet ready to take responsibility for their own role in the marriage’s demise… another difficult thing to do. So they blame.
Not all first wives are like this, of course. But too many of them are. Often, when people divorce, they think that getting away from one another will solve the problem. But the problem is still there, at least until they come to terms with what went wrong and the role they played in the marriage’s demise.
As a single woman, you want to date men who’ve undergone this process. Otherwise, you can become the scapegoat for the unresolved issues.