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Dating After Divorce: For Love or Money?

By Divorced Moms.

Did marriage teach you a few things about money? If you’re now divorced, do you only date men with bank?

As for me, I grew up hearing the same advice as most young women at the time: “It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one.” And like some of my friends, I disregarded it.

Those were different days for women, transitional days, really – as some of us looked at our mid-century mothers and were adamant about living our lives another way.

We were convinced that we could have it all, do it all, become it all – if we were “good enough,” and if we really tried.

The added pressure of parenthood post divorce.(Source: iStock.)

Motherhood? All Bets Off?

Most of us learned differently as soon as we became mothers. Not only is this a matter of how much help we received from the other parent (or possibly extended family), but it's an issue of our own conflicts - the pull to be there for our kids, versus responsibilities at work.

And if we divorce?

Then all bets are really off.

If you leave the workforce to raise your children and the ex doesn't pony up, you may be looking at gruelling years of struggle. Even if you stay in the employment ranks, you're likely to earn less than if you didn't compromise your career as a result of being a parent.

Naturally, there are many responsible, loving, and honourable men who share parenting with the mothers of their children, and do the right thing when it comes to fulfilling their financial obligations.

But in nearly all the cases of divorced mothers I personally know - not a representative sample, I grant you - financial woes have been part of life after divorce, especially if they don't remarry... rich.

And this brings me back to the adage I was raised with, that it's as easy to fall for a wealthy man as a poor one.

Divorced with children? You are not alone. Listen to the story of Dr Ginni Mansberg here. Post continues after audio.

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Do You Consider a Man's Ability to Provide?

Money? I didn't give it much thought when I married.

He had a good job; I had a good job. He was educated; I was educated. He was frugal; I wasn't a spendthrift. That's as far as my thinking went.

I won't say that I didn't date some well-off men before I became a Missus. I did, in part because I attended a well-respected college with many elite schools and graduates in the area. Yet I tended not to date men "of privilege." I was interested in enjoying my romantic partners for their smarts, humor, and yes, sexual attraction. I also admire those with the determination and grit to build something on their own - from the bottom up.

At 30, I still didn't consider a man's ability to provide. I was making my own living and assumed I always would. That was before two kids and a hubby who traveled, leaving me to learn the hard way about the joys of motherhood as well as the sacrifices - to my savings, and to my career options.

I also recall the period before marriage when friends would comment on my engagement ring. There was no rock, no hefty price tag. Instead, it was a modest and comfortable band that suited me, and didn't strain my fiancé's wallet. I was miffed at remarks that he could have afforded more and I should have insisted.

Sarah Jessica Parker in HBO's Divorce. (Source: HBO.)

Single Mothers Dating After Divorce (For Money)

Sad to say, after divorce I understood the drawbacks to a ring with virtually no resale value. As skirmishes over money persisted, as debt continued to pile up, as creditors were knocking on my door... I was kicking myself that unlike my friends, I couldn't turn a diamond into a month's mortgage - or more.

I began to understand those divorced women I once dismissed - the ones who plainly stated the importance of money in any future dating or mating arrangement.

These same women carefully targeted those who could provide - well - and never gave anyone else a second thought.

Had they said "no" to further struggle, because they understood more about the practicalities of marriage and the possibility of divorce?

Had they said "yes" to the importance of money, in part because they knew the cost of raising children?

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Was their search for men with bucks the result of being short-changed by their exes?

Were they more able to pursue the "rich guy" route because beauty and youth allowed them assets to bring to the secondary dating market?

What were they willing to sacrifice for bucks?

finance
Think smart, spend wisely. (Source: iStock.)

Financial Strain Yields Practical Solutions

Financial strain after divorce is not solely a woman's problem. When one household splits into two, assets will be drained or depleted, and at least for a time, this may affect both parties. And we all know the toll that legal bills can take, not to mention the whims of a difficult economy.

But the reality is that women are paid less than men (on average), women are more often the primary caregivers to children, women are more often the primary caregivers to aging elders.

There is a practical element to a single mother pairing up with a man who can provide; that doesn't necessarily require "rich," but it does require an ability to get by - together.

As I look at my dating choices both before and after marriage, I see that I rejected the typical rich guy frequently, as our values were generally askew. Moreover, I still refuse to judge anyone by what is or isn't found in their bank account.

Money is no more the measure of a man than it is the measure of a woman. Consequently, for me, I don't find it easier "to fall for a rich guy than a poor one." And contradictory though it sounds, that's a damn shame, because there are times in life when the bottom line is pragmatism.

Just as I know that money can't buy you love, which is another adage I was raised with, money can buy food, healthcare, education, and a modicum of peace of mind. On the other hand, years of financial worry will wear us to a thread, and that will surely threaten even the best of our relationships.

This post originally appeared on Divorced Moms and was republished here with permission.

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