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9 Ways my divorce made me better at relationships

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Divorce doesn't mean a woman is bad at love, it means she's better

Although I dislike most of the assumptions people make about divorced women, the one I find most egregious is the belief that we are somehow broken at relationships. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's how my divorce has shaped my beliefs and behaviors, and made me exponentially better at relationships than I was before my marriage imploded.

1. I know I don't need a man

I went into my marriage with the belief that I needed my ex. No, I didn't need him. I haven't needed a man in a long time, because I'm a complete person on my own. That's called healthy.

2. I know the baggage I bring

And no, I don't think the divorce itself is my baggage. Even though I never deserved the abuse that happened to me in my marriage, I'm very aware of my attitudes and behaviors that can contribute to a cycle of abuse. Awareness, as always, is the key to not repeating the same mistakes again.

3. I believe what I see

Red flags? You'd better believe I'm watching for them and believe them the first time. Relationships aren't just dates and roses, and I know that red flags grow exponentially when I pretend they don't exist.

4. I am far more patient

Sure, I'm like a hawk about red flags. Annoying habits, however, are not deal-breakers. It takes the crumbling of a marriage to realize that a dude leaving the toilet seat up is NBD.

More: Divorce just got a little easier, thanks to Facebook

5. I won't settle

Um, no. I didn't fight this hard for mediocrity.

6. I value myself more highly

Y'all, divorced women aren't to be pitied. We're bad-ass. I look back over my journey with awe, and I want a man who can do the same with his own life. Two people who value themselves highly make for a great partnership.

7. I think outside the box

There was a time when I needed tall, dark and handsome. Now I just need honest and kind. As a result, the men I choose to date can fit outside my box, which leads to interesting people and experiences.

8. I'm acquainted with risk-taking

Daring to find love is scary, particularly after a divorce. But it's not so damn scary as staying in a terrifying marriage, or even escaping it. The incremental risks of growing into a healthy relationship are now well worth it, in my book.

More: Divorced people open up about the moment they knew their marriage was over

9. I love good men, and know how to spot them

No, divorce hasn't ruined me for men. It's ruined me for douche-baggery. After emerging from my divorce, I have so much more love and respect for good men and the behaviors that make them who they are. Baseline love and respect — rather than the fear and annoyance that is so common in dating spheres — is a great starting point for a healthy relationship.

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