Dating is a nerve-racking experience for anyone — and when you’re a newly divorced guy, you have even more to worry about. (“Will my date think I have a ton of baggage?” “Did I really just get Tinder-matched with my ex’s sister?”)
The experience is not for the faint of heart. Below, divorced men share the things that freaked them out most about dating after the big D.
1. Do I seem totally desperate?
“I worried about seeming desperate and damaged, even though I was a little of both. Thank God for my family and my therapist! And my cat. (I also worried about being a crazy cat dude, but my cat’s awesome.) — Antonio Sacre, author of My Name Is Cool
2. What will my kids think of this person? (Actually, maybe I shouldn’t let my kids meet this person.)
“I spent a lot of time anxiously wondering whether my daughter and the women in my life would get along — or else plotting to keep them from ever meeting.” — Jeffrey Zeth
3. I feel like I’m cheating on my wife — err, ex-wife.
“At least when I was a teenager I had an excuse for being nervous. This time, I also felt like I was cheating on my wife. Yes, she was no longer my spouse, but I hadn’t been out with any other woman in a long time.” — Elliott Katz, author of Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man
4. Am I really ready?
“Hands down, the number one thing I was nervous about was whether I was really ready to date. I certainly felt ready: Ready to have sex. Ready to have some sort of a relationship. But what kind of relationship? I simply wasn’t sure if I should even be dating.” — Chris Burcher
5. How are my kids going to respond to me dating?
“Look, divorce is traumatic enough for kids. When you start dating, you don’t want them to feel disappointed when daddy ditches them some nights to ‘go meet a friend.’ That’s why I put off dating for at least two years to avoid stressing my kids out.” — Craig Tomashoff
6. What if there’s a name slip-up?
“I worried about calling my date by my ex-wife’s name. Whoops.” — Antonio Sacre
7. Will she look anything like her profile picture?
“You never know. I met women who used 10-year-old photos (‘because my stylist says I don’t look a day over 30…even though I’m 40’) and a woman who had used an intensely airbrushed head-on shot.” — Darren Marshall
8. Oh, great, now I’m going to have to get in shape.
“One of the greatest things about getting married is you can stop working hard to constantly impress potential mates. Eat the fettuccine Alfredo. Skip the kickboxing class. I panicked about having to get back on the market again because it meant vanity and I had to get reacquainted. And that meant a lot of hard work that I wasn’t ready to take on.” — Craig Tomashoff
9. What kind of weirdos am I going to meet on Tinder, Plentyof Fish, etc.?
“I was nervous about who I’d meet online. I had my kids every Thursday through Sunday so it didn’t take long to realize it was going to be a challenge to meet people. To be honest, I always thought online dating was for desperate individuals so I didn’t know what to expect.” — Kevin Cotter, author of 101 Uses for My Ex-Wife’s Wedding Dress
10. The state of their manscaping.
“Some single buddies of mine explained to me how much they groomed themselves. Having been married for almost 12 years I had never groomed anything below my neck. By age 36, hair was definitely showing up in places it didn’t belong so I had work to do.” — Kevin Cotter
11. Is she going to drill me on why I’m divorced?
“It’s not a conversation to have on the first few few dates but the subject will eventually come up the more serious things get. The truth is always complicated; I was always torn between making sure she understood the whole story and giving her TMI.” — Jeffrey Zeth
12. Enough about me. What if she has baggage of her own?
“I had one date who turned up in a wedding ring. She had apparently yet to tell her husband the news that they were separated and that she was on Match.com…” — Darren Marshall
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