Karen could not have been more excited. After a heartbreaking divorce, several months of quarantining and isolation, and countless duds and nightmares she met on Bumble, the 42 year-old single mom of two teenagers finally came across a man to whom she felt a connection.
Karen and Dave met on Bumble and had a really nice phone conversation. Describing it as “easy, nicely flowing and enjoyable,” she said she loved how Dave paid attention to things she was saying, and that he seemed to really care about her. Karen felt respected, heard, validated, and at the same time, sexy and pretty. Finally, a nice, normal guy. At the end of the conversation, the two decided to meet that weekend.
Hanging up the phone, Karen felt overjoyed and energized, with a renewed sense of hope. There were good guys out there! She rushed to her closet to start the search for what to wear to their date, wanting to look stunning for what might actually turn into a healthy relationship.
Happily shifting hangers to the right, weeding out all the dresses and tops that just weren’t good enough for her potential Mr. Right, Karen heard her phone ding, indicating she had a text. Was it him?! Of course, it was! How thoughtful. This sweetie was sending her a cute message about how much he was looking forward to meeting her.
She raced to her phone and hit the message, and that’s when time stood still for a moment and Karen’s jaw hit the ground. She was in disbelief. It couldn’t be happening. There was no way. But sadly, in the world of dating after divorce, there was a way. Promising Dave had just sent her a dick pic. Karen’s heart sank, as she stood there realizing she had to add Dave to the group of horny, dysfunctional, damaged, screwed up divorced men.
Karen is not alone. I’ve been Karen and I know countless other divorced women who have had similar encounters. My question is, why? I’m not saying divorced women are perfect either, but what has happened to the mindset of some divorced men, who think we would remotely be interested in seeing a photo of his naked package before we’ve even gone out on one date or ever, for that matter?
Listen, I get it. Everyone wants and needs sex. It’s human nature to crave intimacy, human touch, affection, and of course, love—whether it’s real or an illusion. But come on guys, I don’t know one woman–even those of us who haven’t gotten naked with a guy since 2009, who feels desperate enough to respond favorably to a dick pic this early on in a relationship.
So, what was this guy thinking? Here are some possibilities. Maybe Dave got carried away in his excitement and thought Karen would appreciate seeing what she could have. Perhaps Dave is bitter or angry with women in general and is subconsciously trying to get back at those who hurt him. Or, maybe Dave’s delusional and thinks his body looks as desirable as it did in college, and that Karen would suggest they get together right now.
The most likely scenario in my opinion is that Dave feels like so many other men and women who spend their nights browsing dating apps: burned out, tired of rejection, sick of the games, fed up with the online dating profile lying that goes on, and exhausted from being hurt to the point of not even caring anymore.
As much as I feel for Dave and all divorced people who want to find love again, newsflash for divorced guys: dick pics just aren’t cool, unless someone asks you for one.
So what do divorced women want when it comes to the men we date? Here are 11 things, none of which involve an iPhone and/or the removal of your pants.
- Listen to us. A woman can tell if you are listening or if you are just pretending to listen. Listen not just to our words, but take note of our actions. What are we saying and doing that is showing you what we want or need? If you listen, you will be more equipped to giving us what we want and need and then guess what? We will give you what you need, if you know what I mean.
- Understand us. A divorced woman is cut from a different cloth than a woman who has never been married. Divorced women carry pain, insecurity, fear of intimacy and many other pieces of baggage with us. Try not to judge, but instead to understand where we are coming from, which will help make our actions more explicable. When you understand us, we appreciate it so much.
- Respect us. There is a correlation between respect and sex. Here it is. When a woman feels respected by her partner, when she feels like he is proud of her or respects her as a mother or respects her wishes, she is more likely to be happier in the relationship, more attracted to the guy, and has more of a desire to jump in bed with him.
- Make us laugh. I bet if someone did a study on laughter and sex, it would reveal that men who are funny have a better chance of having sex with their date than men who are really good looking or smart or wealthy. Women love funny guys. It feels good to laugh, it relaxes us, it takes away stress. All these things lead to a woman’s desire to have sex. Men might think getting a woman drunk is a great way to get them into bed, but laughing is like getting drunk.
- Slow down. It isn’t easy to find love, so I understand that once you do, it’s easy to rush into things. No more loneliness and feeling secure are two awesome things! But moving too fast can spoil a good relationship and putting pressure on someone to commit too fast can be a turnoff. Three words: Let. It. Breathe. Remember that we are divorced and that means that many of us are independent and comfortable being single. The progression of a relationship should be authentic, not forced.
- Be authentic. Speaking of authenticity, the best relationships are those where both partners are being themselves, and not trying to be someone they are not. Keep it real, my friends. It’s OK to be vulnerable and take the risk of your new partner not accepting you for who you are.
- Be kind to us. Several years ago, I was dating a man who on a few different occasions was mean to me. He would just turn really cold and condescending. It was awful and truly bad for my self-esteem since I stayed in the relationship longer than I should have. On the flipside, kindness is sexy, and women respond physically from just being treated in a kind, respectful way.
- Be kind to our children. If you are dating a divorced woman, you are dating her children, too. The kids come in the package, so you either want none of us or all of us. The good news is, the relationships you develop with our kids can be meaningful, since you aren’t trying to be their father, just another good role model in their lives. Lastly, being kind to our children is a huge turn-on for women.
- Touch us. My heart still stops to this day when my boyfriend holds my hand. Women want to be adored. We like affection. Don’t expect to not look at us, compliment us, hold the door for us, or kiss us tenderly and then have sex. It won’t happen.
- Be honest with us. If you’re all in, tell us and if this doesn’t feel right to you, tell us. Dating after divorce means no messing around. Truth and being upfront are crucial when it comes to a relationship working.
- Be loyal to us. Ah, Loyalty. Perhaps the most important trait a divorced woman craves in her next relationship. Loyalty is everything. It isn’t easy to stick by someone during the rough times, but loyalty is a choice. If you are committed, we will know it, and we will definitely show it.
I’m not going to criticize men or women who enjoy sending naked pics. If that turns a couple on then by all means, who am I to judge? Who I will judge is Dave. While he could be the nicest guy on earth who is just a little mixed up or a tad presumptuous, Dave hurt Karen, probably much more than he realized.
The thing about divorced women is, when it comes to relationships, we’re very complicated yet we’re pretty simple, too. How many times do you hear women say, “I just want to meet a nice, normal guy?” That’s really all we want, which is why showing us your heart is a lot more effective than showing us a photo of your penis.