An Open Letter To The Woman I Want

Photo: Unsplash: Lesly Juarez
An Open Letter To The Woman I Want: What Men Want In Love When Dating After Divorce

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 man wishes the next woman he falls in love with could hear from his inner-most self.


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Although I couldn’t articulate this when we sat face to face, but this is what I was trying to say:

I know you have been hurt. We are dating in our 30s. It is pretty much impossible to be in the situation we are without experiencing the painful side of relationships. I understand the need to protect yourself, to put walls up and be sure you don’t end up hurt. I get it, I have my own. Just wait, you will see.

Don’t over analyze my story. It is complicated, it’s raw… but it is real. Maybe it is too honest for you? Maybe there are too many red flags? They definitely exist.

I can’t defend every choice I’ve made, and I won’t even try. I simply do what seems like the right thing to do at the time.

You weren’t here.

But life changed when you showed up.


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I didn’t realize what could exist. I didn’t really believe in it. So don’t judge me. Don’t look at those choices as defining moments of how I handle situations that come up in dating.

A lot has happened since I got divorced. A lot that maybe shouldn’t have, and a lot more that taught me what to look for, what to wait for and how to see it. I needed most of it.

To see this.

If you want to hold how I’ve handled being single against me, that’s obviously your choice. But when you showed up things were different. None of that stuff mattered. Since I realized the potential with us, life has been different.

You are incredible. Gorgeous, smart, engaging, fun and kind. I want to be around you. I want you in my life.

I haven’t met someone that has made me feel that way.

My thumb has always been on the eject button, but it isn’t with you.

I do understand your concerns. I’m asking you give it a chance. Dating involves the risk to get hurt.  I’ve never taken that risk. Right now I feel like I can’t do my normal with you. 

I want to take the risk.


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Patrick Sallee is the Chief Executive Officer of Vibrant Health — Wyandotte Neighborhood Clinics, the father of twin girls, Avery and Makenna, and recently became the husband of his beautiful wife, Chesney.

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