Dating and relationships are already filled with potential fears and unanswered questions.
Will you and your partner communicate well? Do you both know each other well enough to increase the commitment level?
But, for divorced students, the questions become even more difficult.
“Dating is difficult regardless, even if you’ve never been married before, and then, once you have been married, it’s all that difficulty of dating from when you were single plus 30 other things,” said Benjamin Rollins, a BYU-Idaho alumnus and divorcee.
The stigma on BYU-I’s campus about dating divorcees doesn’t making dating any easier.
Emily Whittle, an unmarried student and a junior studying elementary education, said some people view divorcees as “used baggage.”
When people choose not to date divorcees just because they’re divorced, they contribute to the idea that divorcees have something wrong with them.
It’s important to learn about each individual’s circumstances before making sweeping judgments.
Sarah Schwarze, a divorcee and senior studying English, said she does feel like there is a stigma against divorced people.
Schwarze said that, before her divorce, she felt negatively biased toward divorcees.
“When I saw divorce happen, I used to think, ‘Well, clearly they didn’t try hard enough,’’ Schwarze said. “I’ve since come to understand that both spouses have agency.”
Schwarze said divorce isn’t always a failure, and it is important to talk to the person and learn their story before judging.
Rollins said that even though divorce is an intimate and personal topic, divorcees can create stigma in their own minds by worrying about what people will think. He said establishing trust with the person you’re interested in is a deciding factor for when to discuss divorce.
“Dating after divorce is much like dating beforehand,” Rollins said. “In many ways, you know a little better what you want, what you need, and I think, likewise, you’re thinking a little more long-term than most people do.”
Rollins said the dates do not change, but the factors you have to deal with do. He said not to worry about past relationships influencing future ones.
A divorce should not dash any hope of having a healthy, successful relationship in the future. Many divorcees go on and have positive, happy partnerships.
“I’ve only had one serious relationship since then, and it’s been very positive, so far, and I think, in many ways, it’s helped make me a better boyfriend,” Rollins said. “Likewise, my past experience, it’s helped me focus on things that I know I’d want or need in a relationship, but also how I could be a better partner to somebody and how I can support them better.”
It is important for divorcees to make sure they’re growing and that they are constructive people going into new relationships, according to the article, “Remarriage and Combined Families” on the LDS Living website.
Rollins said not to worry about the influence of the past on a new relationship and to take time to heal and rediscover yourself after divorce before dating again.
It is important for everybody, single and divorced, to feel comfortable with themselves before they begin dating.
“My advice for divorcees is to take your time before dating,” Schwarze said. “Be comfortable with who you are, and make sure you’re back on your feet. It’s okay to procrastinate dating, but include God when you start. I didn’t do a good job at that, and I really wish I had; however, if you’re keeping the commandments and doing what you’re supposed to be doing, God will bless you, and you’ll find yourself where you need to be.”