Dating After Divorce: What Are We Looking For?

Dating After Divorce: What Are We Looking for
Dena Landon

By Dena Landon | Apr 21st, 2019

What are you looking for? It’s a question that men on dating apps typically ask sometime around the fourth or fifth question. My response is to roll my eyes at my phone. Why? Because my experience has been that, almost 100% of the time, they want a hook-up or friends with benefits situation. And, if they’d read my profile, I clearly state what I want at the top.

A relationship. To get married again. Maybe have another child. And, when I redirect them to what I’ve already clearly disclosed, the men unmatch. No loss, because I’m strong enough now to walk away from men who don’t meet my needs.

When the results of Worthy’s “Jumping in After Divorce” survey were analyzed they didn’t have a lot of surprises for me but it did confirm many of my impressions of post-divorce women on the dating scene. Turns out, despite the fact that it feels like all the men on apps only want sex, only 1.40% of us are looking for a hook-up when we date. And, while we may not necessarily want to get married again, we want relationships.

I’m not alone in desiring a life partner. Whether it’s a companion (18.21%), a long-term partner (36.30%), or a new husband (12.74%), when we put ourselves back out there we have an end goal in mind.

Though we may be scared, nervous, or feel inexperienced, I do think we’re wiser about dating, too. We know what we consider to be relationship material, and I’m betting a lot of us came to this realization after bad marriages.

Values are at the top, with over 98% of us calling it fairly to very important. To me, values has less to do with religion and more to do with worldview. Do you want to help the poor, or will you argue with me for 15 minutes about donating to the local food bank? It impacts how we raise our children, too. Is providing extracurricular activities like piano or swimming important, or does the other person seem to want to spend as little money on their child as possible?

We’ve probably all learned that marriage to someone who sees the world through a different lens simply doesn’t work. That arguments about money and parenting can tear a marriage apart, and that it’s exhausting to try to convince someone to consider your viewpoint.

And we have some strong moral values. Only 2.62% of us would even date a man who’s currently married, so that’s bad news for all the cheaters I’ve seen out there. Maybe we’ve been burned by a cheating ex-spouse and don’t want to cause someone else that pain. Or maybe we just prefer that he have a clean break with an ex. We’ll date men who are divorced (98.02%0 or have children (85.05%), but divorce has solidified our values and what we want in a partner.

Yes, we probably had to learn the hard way, but we’re stronger and wiser now.

Sexual compatibility clocks in at 60.67% calling it very important and 31.36% fairly important. That’s over 92% of us putting it at the top of our list. I know it’s near the top of my list. After six plus years of bad to awful sex, I’m never doing that again. I’ve also learned that sex is the glue that holds your relationship together and, if you don’t have that and you stop liking the other person, you’re really done. We may not want to hook up, but we do want good sex.

Above all else, reading through the survey responses, I’ve realized that many divorced women are clear and intentional about what they want and why they’re dating. It’s not so much that we’re determined to not repeat past mistakes as that we know how to build better, lasting relationships.

Personally, I think the men out there are damned lucky to have such a self-aware and smart group of divorced women to date.

Dena Landon

Dena Landon

Dena Landon's bylines have appeared in The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Salon and more. The proud mom of a boy, she specializes in parenting and divorce.


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