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By Jackie Pilossoph, Divorced Girl Smiling Editor-in-Chief

This post is about dating after divorce as it relates to a recent Facebook message someone posted that read: “If you could write a note to your younger self, what would you say in two words?”

Some of the responses I saw included, “Be patient,” “Grow up,” “Forgive quickly,” “Trust self,” “Be happy,” “Trust God,” “I’m enough,” “Take chances,” and a really depressing one: “stay single,” which could have been written by a really, really happy single person who has never been married, or more likely, an unhappily married or divorced person.

My two words: “trust” and “loyalty.” In response to the Facebook post, those don’t really make sense. Am I telling my younger self to trust people? Am I telling me to be loyal? Although good advice, that’s not what I mean.

When I say “trust” and “loyalty,” I’m saying that these two things are the two most important qualities you should look for in Mr. Right.

Looking back (to when I was young and stupid,) I would date guys and my criteria for dating them would be:

  • Am I attracted to him? Would he be a good kisser?
  • Is he funny? Does he make me laugh?
  • Is he interesting/smart? Can he talk about what’s going on in the world?
  • Does he want to get married and have a family?
  • Would my family and friends like him?
  • Is he ambitious? Self-motivated?
  • Do I enjoy hanging out with him?

While those are all important things to look at in someone you are dating, I feel like I never put enough emphasis on trust and loyalty.

Can I trust him, I mean REALLY trust him? Do I trust he will never cheat on me? Do I trust him to comingle my finances with him? Do I trust him with my children/future children? Do I trust his judgment, his loyalty, his friendship, his love for me? In other words, do I trust him so much that I could fall backwards into his arms with my eyes closed and think nothing of it?

Will he be loyal to me? Will he stay with me forever, no matter what? If I get cancer, will he take care of me? If I go broke, will he support me? Will he be loyal to the relationship? If we fight, will he fight for the relationship to work? Is he really really here for me, both for the good times and the bad times? If I become extremely successful in my career and get promoted five times or start making hundreds of thousands of dollars, will he be happy for me or will he become jealous? If I get Alzheimer’s, will he take care of our children? Will he come visit me?

These things should have been at the top of my list when I was younger, but sadly enough, the “what if’s” didn’t enter my mind as much as they should have.

As I’ve gotten older, and through dating after divorce, I’ve really learned the important qualities versus things that don’t matter so much.

I’m not saying that physical attraction doesn’t matter. It matters a lot. So do all the other things I listed above (1-7) But, trust and loyalty are at the top of my list when it comes to what I want in Mr. Right. Those are the two things that make marriages last. And the last thing any divorced person wants is to end up divorced again.

Trust and loyalty. I can’t tell my younger self, so I’m telling YOU. Hold these two words close to your heart and don’t settle for anyone who doesn’t meet these expectations to the fullest.  These are the gifts you deserve in your next relationship. They are the things that will bring you true happiness and that will make Mr. Right the ultimate Mr. Right.

 

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Author: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling offers advice, inspiration and hugs. If you want a Cinderella story, be your own fairy godmother. You're the only one who can pick out that perfect glass slipper!

35 Responses to “Dating After Divorce: The Two Most Important Words when it comes to Mr. Right”

  1. Mary

    After two marriages with men I thought I could trust and would be loyal, this is a hard one. I wouldn’t go into a marriage with someone I couldn’t trust or that I didn’t think would be loyal. Sometimes people are good at hiding who they really are and once married they change. I was blindsided my second marriage. I don’t know if I can ever trust.

    Reply
  2. LifewithKoby

    I totally agree with your post Jackie! Trust and loyalty for all the reasons you mentioned are number one for me as well. I also can agree with Mary’s comment. I was in a 33 year marriage and I would never have believed he would of been unfaithful to me. We had gone thru a lot of “stuff” ( who doesn’t in a long marriage) but loyalty I never questioned!
    I do believe people can totally put on their “best” before the marriage and then once your married then”real” person is revealed. I have only been divorced a few months but it has been 1.5 years process. I am not ready for a new relationship and I don’t feel I will ever trust someone one ever again! I never want to go thru another divorce!!

    Reply
  3. Steve

    For me, my criteria in looking for someone to settle down with are trust and loyalty. These two qualities are the most important in a relationship. You must look for a person whom you can trust. You must be loyal to each other to make your relationship work.

    Reply
  4. Jill Rogat

    Your criteria was much like mine used to be – and I chose my first husband that way, which did not work out. I looked for loyalty and trust in my second husband and our marriage is wonderful. Those are definitely the two most important qualities – along with the ability to communicate openly and clearly.

    Reply
  5. Shannon

    Thank you for the thoughtful post. I wouldn’t be able to choose two words. I would have to add patience. I am lucky enough to be dating a very wonderful man, but it is going to take time for me to fully trust in a relationship again. Fortunately, I have been very up front and honest about how I feel about trust and the fact that I don’t want to marry again. I add patience because he understands and agrees. I think his patience and willingness to talk and understand mean more to me than anything else at this point. We just take it one day at a time.

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  6. Brad

    My wife told me the beginning of May she wanted to separate. The divorce was final June 1st. Yesterday would have been our 12th anniversary. She said there was no body else, she just needed some time to think on her own. Turns out there was a guy 12 years younger than her. At first I was absolutely heart broken. I kept working out even though I was barely eating (lost 25 pounds so far in the last 5 week). I really contemplated our relationship and the problems we had and realize it was probably for the best for both of us. I do wish she would have read this article before choosing her path because I think these are two qualities I have and she will find a hard time replacing.

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