What It’s Really, Truly Like to Date After Getting Divorced in Your 20s

You know that very scary statistic about how half of all marriages end in divorce? Break our your celebratory champagne, because it’s not true anymore. Divorce rates have been on a pretty sharp decline since 2008, mostly because of the things Millennials are apparently very good at is staying together (take that, all of our parents).

Still, divorce isn’t totally extinct and it never will be. Which means that jumping back into the dating pool, post-marriage, is a reality for lots of women. That sounds scary and like probably the last thing you wanna do after going through the ~big D~, and so to ease some of your fears, three women who were married and divorced before turning 30 gave the full breakdown on dating after divorce.

How old were you when you got married, and how old are you now?

Natalie: Nineteen when I got married, 28 now.

Maxine: Nineteen when I got married, 25 now.

Krysta: Twenty-eight when I got married, 29 now.

Who did you marry?

Natalie: My high school sweetheart—we met through mutual friends and youth group and had known each other for years.

Maxine: I married someone I was in a long-distance relationship with, and we had known each other for almost a year when we got married. She was someone I dated in college while she was in the Marine Corps. We had an instant connection and I felt like a part of my soul knew her before.

Krysta: I married a guy I met living in Tampa back in 2014. He was a second-year medical student and I was working as a medical records clerk.

Why did you get married when you did?

Natalie: We were both Christians and grew up in the Midwest, so it was the “logical next step.”

“We were both Christians and grew up in the Midwest, so it was the ‘logical next step.'”

Maxine: I was very much head-over-heels in love with her. She was my best friend. I saw her as my soulmate, she was someone I wanted to start a family with, and someone who I saw being the mother of my future children.

Krysta: Honestly, it was more of a “next step” in life. As a 28-year-old woman, you really start thinking about your future. I knew I wanted a family and kids and being the wife of a doctor didn’t sound too bad (LOL). Compared to my dating record, I thought saying yes to a future physician was the best I could do.

How long were you married for, and when did you start the separation and divorce process?

Natalie: We were married for seven years and filed in January 2017. Due to California law, we were required to wait at least six months for it to finalize. In August, we were officially divorced.

Maxine: We started the separation process just before our third marriage anniversary. And two years after we separated, we were divorced.

Krysta: My ex-husband and I were together for two years before we got married, and were married for six months before things started falling apart, rapidly.

Why did you decide to get divorced?

Natalie: There was no pivotal moment. We cared about each other—and still do—and had a great friendship, but that’s all it was in the last couple of years. Getting married young meant we each had a lot of personal growing to do and we grew apart. I am driven, strong-willed, advancing quickly in my career, and put my job ahead of frivolous things. I don’t knock his path, it’s worked for him and he’s happy, but it’s not what I wanted in a relationship.

“Walking down the aisle, I felt like I was making the biggest mistake.”

Maxine: She wasn’t the person she was at the beginning of our relationship. And we were both in transitional phases, going through separate mental health challenges.

Krysta: There were a lot of signs before our wedding that I ignored. I felt as if I had to go through with the wedding—my parents paid all of this money to create me my perfect Pinterest board, fantasy wedding. RSVPs were already starting to come in and, In my mind, it was too late to go back. Walking down the aisle, I felt like I was making the biggest mistake. But I stayed optimistic and thought I could “fix him.” Then there was infidelity and issues with control. I had to decide if this was how I wanted the rest of my life to be.

How long after your divorce did you start going on dates?

Natalie: I can’t say I waited long. It was really fun to get back into the dating pool, given I hadn’t been on a first date since high school! I got on Bumble and had flirty conversations—very validating at that point in my life—and went on a few dates.

Maxine: I went on the first date two months after we said we were separating.

Krysta: I started dating immediately after I left the home we shared, and used dating as a distraction to get through the divorce.

How do you handle telling new partners about your previous marriage and divorce?

Natalie: I really hid it at first. When I was seeing people casually and knew nothing was going to come of it, I did all I could to avoid the topic. It worked, but I had to tell a few people and it was awkward, but no one got up and sprinted for the door. What I learned is that I had to be straightforward—not just that I was divorced, but still friends with my ex-husband. It’s nearly impossible to explain to someone that the person you were married to for seven years is strictly a friend, but our friendships means a lot to me and I’m not willing to give that up.

“I tell guys that if they’re looking for a relationship, I may not be their ideal girl.”

Maxine: Depends on the person and how serious I am about them. I told one woman upfront the first time we started texting, but she’d been married before, too. Unless I’m getting serious with someone or it comes up naturally, I never really bring it up.

Krysta: I like to be honest and upfront about that fact that I recently got divorced. My marriage changed the way I view men and their behavior. I missed all of the signs with my ex-husband, so now I pay very close attention to the smallest things. I tell guys that if they’re looking for a relationship, I may not be their ideal girl.

What’s surprised you the most about dating now?

Natalie: How casual dating can be! Again, I dated back in high school as a Christian. Now, I’ve reentered the dating pool as an adult without religion telling me what I can and can’t do. It’s a whole new level of freedom and exploration, trial and error.

Maxine: Everyone communicates differently, and even if they’re older than you, that doesn’t mean they can communicate any better. I was also surprised at first with how many people were perfectly okay with knowing I’d been married—like it didn’t phase them at all, and here I thought it could potentially scare someone away.

Krysta: How accepting guys were when I was dating while separated. It didn’t seem to bother anyone that I was still married on paper.

How did going through a marriage and divorce change the way you think about dating?

Natalie: It really didn’t taint it. I knew why our marriage didn’t last.

I’m way more picky about who I date long-term.

Maxine: I take things much more slowly now. I get to know people better and go on a lot of dates before committing to exclusivity. I have time, and that’s what I keep reminding myself. I’m way more picky about who I date long-term.

Krysta: As of right now, dating is a game to me. I’m not at a place where I can trust another man with my heart. I hope one day I’ll be able to trust again, and maybe ever marry a second (and hopefully final) time.

What’s the hardest part about jumping back into the dating pool?

Natalie: The friendship I still have with my ex. It’s a hard relationship to explain, and while I understand how it can be exceptionally difficult to understand, I’ve been with someone for a year now who doesn’t judge what I have with my ex.

Maxine: Not seeing myself as being a problem, and not getting so caught up in dating that I don’t allow myself time to heal or be by myself.

Krysta: Realizing I still have a lot of things to work on as far as restoring myself first. And I know I’m not taking these dates seriously, but it hurts when you realize the guy is. Makes you feel like a crappy person, or like you’re wasting their time.

And what’s the best part?

Natalie: Meeting new people! It’s fun of getting out there, pushing yourself to new experiences, learning about peoples past and finding a friend, a fling or a lover.

“I was incredibly scared about not finding anyone that would treat me as well as my ex did.”

Maxine: Gaining more self-worth and not feeling like I have to constantly be on someone else’s schedule. I was incredibly scared about not finding anyone that would treat me as well as my ex did. But here I’m out dating and finding stunning women who are not only incredibly successful, but passionate and caring. I love meeting new people!

Krysta: My marriage took a serious hit on my self-esteem, so hearing men tell me things about myself I haven’t heard in a long time has helped me start to rebuild my confidence. It’s helping me to feel more like the woman I was before I said “I do.”

What’s your relationships status now?

Natalie: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over a year now; we just moved in together.

Maxine: Single and dating.

Krysta: Single and Fabulous!


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I’m a bartender, and these are the drinks that we secretly judge you for ordering

  • There are certain drinks bartenders like me will secretly judge you for ordering.
  • We’ll happily make you a mixed drink with top-shelf liquor, for example, but we’ll be rolling our eyes on the inside.
  • Here are 16 things you should think twice about before ordering at a bar.

Bars are filled with people trying to look cool.

Maybe you’re trying to impress your squad. Maybe you’re trying, and failing, to woo someone on a first date.

Or maybe you just want to appear cool in front of me, your bartender.

And why not? Bartenders are hip. We stand in front of people and do things most people probably can’t do.

So it’s no surprise that folks sometimes try to impress us — or at least not disappoint us — when it’s their big moment in front of us: ordering a drink.

No matter what kind of drink you order, we’ll happily make it with a smile. But that said, there are some types of drinks we’ll secretly judge you for requesting.

Here are 16 orders that bartenders are sure to secretly judge you for.

You order a filthy martini with a top-shelf spirit

With a few exceptions, such as when the cocktail is super spirit-forward, house cocktails are always made with the bottom shelf — or “well” — spirits. Because why waste a perfectly good top-shelf spirit?

If I gave you a blind tasting of two filthy martinis, one with Grey Goose and one with the well vodka, I highly doubt you’d be able to tell which was which. At least not in a meaningful way.

Some bartenders go so far as to judge any and all dirty-martini orders — especially when a blue-cheese-stuffed olive is requested.

Personally, I’m unbothered. That is, until, you besmirch a perfectly good top-shelf gin or vodka that can stand on its own.

Actually, requesting an uppermost echelon spirit in any mixed drink is kind of silly

Actually, requesting an uppermost echelon spirit in any mixed drink is kind of sillyGetty Images

The same principle applies with any mixed drink. Even if it’s a more refined cocktail, like an Old Fashioned.

I’ll do it. But it will hurt me inside to add even a dash of bitters and a bar spoon of sweetener to the $25 Nikka Coffey Whiskey Old Fashioned you just ordered.

We judge when large groups all order the same thing

We judge when large groups all order the same thingShutterstock

Don’t be square. Live a little. Just because you’re wearing matching bachelor or bachelorette tees doesn’t mean your drink orders have to correspond too.

You ask for your martini shaken

You ask for your martini shakenUnited Artists

Please. Unless it’s a Vesper, calm down, James Bond.

Hint: There’s a reason martinis are stirred. And it has nothing to do with how manly you are, and everything to do with the type of ingredients involved.

Our decision to stir instead of shake is pretty cemented, and it’s based on how the ingredients dilute, interact, and ultimately appear in the glass.

You order an LIT when you’re somewhere fancy

Assess your environment. Look around.

Say, for example, there aren’t peanut shells on the floor, the lighting is decent, and your bartender is wearing a tie, vest, or blouse: Don’t order a Long Island Iced Tea. Or a Blue Motorcycle, an Irish Trash Can, or a Slippery Nipple.

These are cocktails designed basically to get you as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. And they taste … unremarkable.

Let a bartender at a refined joint get you drunk in at least a memorably tasty way.

But by all means, when you find yourself at a dive, go ahead and revel in the blasphemy of combining multiple spirits in one glass.

And when you’re at a dive bar, you order something obnoxiously high end

Don’t ask the bartender what smoked salts the bar has available for a bespoke margarita when you’re at a dive bar.

On second thought, never ask us about our smoked salts (yes, people actually request this). It’s an inquiry that somehow manages to make you sound both silly and pretentious.

You order a rum and Diet Coke

You’re drinking cane-based booze. You might as well pile it on.

You order your drink in ‘fingers’

You order your drink in 'fingers'Getty Images

It’s a joke among our crowd that the under-21s order in “fingers” to try to seem more sophisticated — and less underage.

That’s when customers use the width of their fingers to indicate how much liquor they want.

Basically, if you order your drink like this, I will ask to see your ID. Seriously.

You order a complex drink whose substitutions make it a basic drink

You order a complex drink whose substitutions make it a basic drinkGetty Images

When people try to mask their more basic, but desired, drink choice with substitutions, it’s their insecurity that I judge, not their desire to have a vodka soda.

So please. Just ask for a vodka soda. Don’t ask for a gimlet, sub-gin-for-vodka, sub-lime-and-sweetener-for-soda.

You arbitrarily add egg white to your drink

You arbitrarily add egg white to your drinkGetty Images

Whiskey sour. Amaretto sour. Ramos gin fizz. These are the drinks it is appropriate to request egg white with, if it’s not already assumed.

A gin and tonic is not.

You ask me to make ‘whatever you want’

You ask me to make 'whatever you want'Reuters/Bernadett Szabo

Bartenders hate this. Don’t do it. Be decisive.

Or at least be decisive when I ask a follow-up question.

“Refreshing or spirit-forward?” “Up or on the rocks?” “Bitter or smoky?”

When people insist on sticking with the “whatever you want” script when pressed to answer questions to find a perfect drink, you’re hurting me when you should be helping me help you.

Also, here’s a trade secret from me to you: We have a favorite drink to make. It’s called a neat pour of anything.

You order a well-known brand, but dismiss my suggestions for a better, lesser-known one

You order a well-known brand, but dismiss my suggestions for a better, lesser-known oneCraig Barritt/Getty Images for Johnny Walker

Part of our job is to know what’s well marketed versus what’s good.

So I’ll always throw side-eye to someone who dismisses a suggested spirit that would have probably both saved them money and enhanced their drink.

You order ice in your wine

You order ice in your wineDavid Paul Morris/Getty Images

I say this as a person who does this occasionally. But only on $3-wine night. And with a healthy dose of shame.

You order ‘Tito’s with vodka’

You order 'Tito's with vodka'Colin Young-Wolff

It never fails to amuse me when this happens. And for some reason, this slip of the tongue only happens with Tito’s.

You request an obscure garnish

You request an obscure garnishGetty Images

Some people have weird neuroses about drink garnishes, while others treat the bartender like a Subway-sandwich artist at the garnish station.

I fondly recall when a guest asked for “a single blueberry” in his drink, which for some reason, we had on hand.

Another common eye-roll is asking for multiple Luxardo cherries. Fun fact: Those babies cost $0.33 a pop.

You request a menu drink, but ask to substitute vodka

You request a menu drink, but ask to substitute vodkaMatt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Grey Goose

Don’t do this. Don’t make me explain the vast taste difference between scotch and vodka and why that substitution won’t fly.

Then again, it’s fine. You do you. Live your best life. Order whatever you want.

Just know, we are judging you.



Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Facebook: phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly       Twitter: @phicklephilly

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