Opposites Attract!

Dating after divorce? Here, stories of how seeing someone different from your ex can be so sweet.

By Chelsea Kaplan

hen you look back on why things ended with your ex, there’s usually a clear reason—or multiple reasons. When looking for a new love, why not avoid repeating past mistakes by seeking out someone who has the opposite attributes as your former spouse? Check out these stories of divorced singles who sought out someone completely different from their ex and reaped the romantic benefits.

I wanna hold your hand
“My ex never wanted to have any kind of public display of affection—I mean, even holding hands embarrassed
“After my high-maintenance wife, I’m with a woman who loves to camp out.”
him. If I’d kiss him on the cheek when I met him at a restaurant, he’d tell me he’d prefer that I didn’t do that. He was really uptight about it, but I thought I could live with it. We broke up because I felt he was not affectionate enough, and I was feeling undesirable and bad about myself. So now that I’m dating again, it is a blast and a half to be going out with guys who want to throw their arms around my shoulder as we walk down the street or give me a little kiss across the table when we’re out to dinner.”
—Amelia, 32, Portland, ME

Hey, big spender
“My ex was so damn cheap it used to drive me crazy! He would count pennies over nearly everything, and it was really annoying. I made sure when I started dating again that I did not go out with another cheapskate, and it was such a breath of fresh air. The guy I am now dating isn’t afraid to splurge or treat me to a nice dinner, trip to the theater or even a weekend getaway, and I am loving it!”
—Jill, 40, Denver, CO

Smooth move
“I hated my ex-husband’s beard and mustache, but he refused to shave it every time I’d ask if he’d consider doing so. The guy I’m now dating is clean-shaven and I absolutely love kissing him; it’s like a whole new experience.”
—Pat, 38, Atlanta, GA

The great outdoors
“My ex-wife was extremely high-maintenance — the hair, the nails, the clothes — you name it. It was always
“It’s really refreshing to be dating someone who isn’t a workaholic!”
shop, shop, shop and primp, primp, primp. I love to camp and hike and go mountain-climbing, but of course she was never into any of that. After the divorce, I met my current girlfriend, Susan, through a friend, and she couldn’t be more unlike my ex-wife. We go camping together and do all sorts of outdoor activities; it’s so nice to be able to have someone I love to share my interests with—it makes life that much better.”
—David, 36, Lake Forest, IL

No more whine with dinner
“I’m a really adventurous eater; I’ve never met an ethnic food I didn’t like. My ex, however, was a totally boring meat-and-potatoes only eater—his idea of eating ethnic food was having spaghetti or lasagna. Even though our marriage ended over more substantial reasons, we always got in arguments over what we were going to do for meals. I later married a man who loves trying all types of food as much as I do, and it is so much fun. I never realized how much I missed eating adventurously until I began doing it again with my second husband.”
—Deanna, 44, Salt Lake City, UT

Grow up already
“My ex and I began dating when we were in college, and despite marrying when we were both 30, he was still in full-on party mode. I, on the other hand, was ready to settle down and concentrate on work and starting a family. We didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of our priorities, and as a result, we got divorced. After the divorce, I wouldn’t go out with someone unless I knew his priorities were in line with mine—especially when it came to the bar and club scene. Right now I’m dating someone who is so much more mature than my ex—he’s a true grown-up, and I finally feel like he’s my equal and not that I have to nag him like he’s my son!”
—DeAndra, 33, McLean, VA

Time is on my side
“My ex, Amy, was married to her work a bit more than she was married to me. She was always on her BlackBerry, and stayed at the office until 10 p.m. nearly every night. I barely saw her, and it just wasn’t the type of marriage I ever wanted. After we split, I began dating someone with a much better life-work balance. It’s refreshing to actually be able to spend time with the person you love—not to mention that when you do, she’s totally ‘there.’”
—Jordan, 35, New York, NY

Chelsea Kaplan is deputy editor at Her blog, “I’m Somebody’s Mother?” can be found at
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