An Open Letter To The Man I Want

Photo: Unsplash: Priscilla Du Preez
An Open Letter To The Man I Want: What Women Want In Love When Dating After Divorce

It starts with you hearing this.

When you first start dating after divorce, you find yourself in one of the most complicated, exciting, terrifying and exhilarating times of your life. And for almost everyone at this stage, understanding what men want and what women want in love can feel even more complicated than it did back in high school.

While it may be obvious that dating after you have been married and divorced is just not the same as it was in the years B.C.E. (Before Children & Ex). What is extremely confusing about that difference is how it could be possible to feel so much more confident and so much more insecure at the same time. Not only does it feel more complicated to to open your heart to and fall in love with someone new, it can feel equally as hard to be heard.

Here is a glimpse into what one woman wishes the next man she falls in love with could hear from her inner-most self.


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Before we go any further there are a few things I need you to know about me. I’m worried that you won’t want to hear any of it, but I really do need you to.

I get that women seem irrational and slightly off-kilter and you are probably watching me somewhat closely at first to make sure I am not a fruitcake. The truth is, sometimes I am. I was probably a lot more “sane” and rational in my 20’s, but that doesn’t mean I was actually better. I am at my best and I do believe I am only getting better.

I have been to hell and back and, yes, sometimes I act out like an abused puppy grown into full-blown bitch. I promise you I am not trying to excuse that. Being mean is never OK, and I apologize in advance and will apologize again when it happens.

Sometimes I will apologize even when I was justified, and I need to trust you not to take advantage of that.


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At heart, though, I am still the sweet girl looking for a man who will keep me safe.

I don’t need you to take care of me, provide for me, fight my battles for me — any of that. But I do want you to want to do those things, while respecting me enough to know I can do them for myself. Honestly, I would prefer we each do them for each other.

I know who I am now, and I don’t need anyone to validate that for me. But I am also scared that who I am and the challenges I do face will send you running for the hills. My life is not easy and my situation gets complicated. It can be A LOT. Of everything.

As cliched as it sounds though, I am not my situation. Everyone has their own. Please don’t judge mine. Please learn about it. Ask me questions and let me answer before you come to conclusions. Let me be sweet to you and have fun with you. Let me cry freely and break down in your arms when I need to, trusting me enough to know that I’ve got this. I have plenty of crumpled on the floor moments, but I will get up and re-adjust my armor with or without you.

I would just much prefer you let me know I am safe enough to take it all off when you’re around.


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Senior Editor and happily-former divorce coach/mediator Arianna Jeret is a recognized expert on love and relationships (except when it comes to her own life, of course) who has been featured in Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, Yahoo Style, Fox News, Bustle, Parents and more. Join her Sundays at 10:15 PM EST when she answers questions on Facebook Live on YourTango. For more, follow her on Twitter (@ariannajeret) and Instagram (@ariannajer).

This article was originally published at Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.