Divorced men may be comforted by the fact that many women find their mileage to be a virtue, and studies (not just one’s conducted by divorced, male scientists) suggest that guys who’ve been through the matrimony ringer bring many positive traits to the table. And it makes sense. Women, who generally mature faster than men, aren’t typically looking for guys who will make rookie mistakes. A legally-binding union, regardless of how it works out, counts as “experience”.
After all, the “gently used” section often yields the most value. Here’s why women are shopping for divorced men:
Divorced dudes have done the commitment thing (at least once)
Marriages that end in divorce last about eight years on average, according to several decades of U.S. Census data. That a man can keep a relationship going for eight years shows at least some commitment, and studies suggest commitment is hard to come by. While divorce may signal to some that when the going gets tough, you get going—many savvy women know that anyone whose willing to stick around for nearly a decade is worth a second glance.
Divorced men are experienced communicators
Men who have ended a marriage may be better at communicating, findings from the National Institutes of Health suggest. The study followed 373 couples from 1986 to 2002. Keeping with the national statistics your best man emphasized at his train-wreck of a wedding toast, 46 percent of couples in the sample divorced. Later, the vast majority of these divorced men and women went on to form subsequent long-term relationships or remarry. The study found that this cohort of divorced and now remarried individuals were more likely than any other group to share their feelings, and less likely to speaking in absolutes (“you’re always late” or “you never make the bed”).
And they deal better with conflict
In the same NIH study, the strongest relationships second time around were among those who understood that conflict was normal, but had learned that there were other options besides fighting dirty. They were less likely to make personal attacks or storm out of the room, and more likely to utilize healthy coping skills like deep breathing. For some women, this kind of emotional intelligence can lead to a decidedly different kind of deep breathing.
Divorced guys are more likely to be jacked (but not too jacked)
When men get married, their BMIs go up. But when they get divorced their BMIs go down, a study of nearly 9,000 men suggests. Researchers suspect that this is because divorced men have more incentive to stay in shape and find new mates, whereas married men have more incentive to…eat. In comparison to non-divorced single men, additional research found that, over the course of two weeks, single men worked out 8 hours and 3 minutes on average, compared to divorced or separated men who exercised 6 hours and 10 minutes. So divorced men are fit, but also not spending the entire day at the gym when they should be busy wooing you. And if that means they have a little bit extra around the waist, that’s hardly a bad thing—a number of studies explain that women are more likely to jump a man’s bones if there’s some meat on them.
Divorced men are probably more mature
Since 2012, the highest divorce rates have been among the 25 to 29 and 30 to 34 age groups, which suggests that, if you’ve had one, you’re probably past your quarter-life crisis and (hopefully) now a stable adult. Chicks dig that, studies say, partially because such men have more financial resources and are less likely to drastically change their lives.
They’re more likely to be DILFs
Divorced men are more likely to have children already—living, breathing proof of their virility. All humans (not just women) are biologically drawn to fertile partners (call it an evolutionary relic). Meanwhile, at least one study has shown that women are attracted to men with higher testosterone in the short-term, and men with an affinity for children in the long-term. Fatherhood decreases testosterone while divorces help it rebound, which means the scientific sex appeal of DILFs may well come down to them being the best of both worlds, hormonally speaking.
They don’t believe in “the one”
One of the most popular courses at Northwestern University is Marriage 101. The main objective of the class is to teach young people that the idea of finding a soul mate is flawed. “The foundation of our course is based on correcting a misconception: that to make a marriage work, you have to find the right person,” Alexandra Solomon professor at Northwestern University’s Family Institute, told The Atlantic. “The fact is, you have to be the right person.”
Men who didn’t go to Northwestern often have to learn this the hard way—through trial and error (or, rather, marriage and divorce). The second time around, men tend to get the hang of it. They stop looking for a flawless “Ms. Right” and instead invest their time in women who make them happy and with whom they share common interests.
So you’re not a divorcee—as much as you are an experiential learner. Men, let wisdom be your wingman.