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.
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.
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.