In writing an internet personals ad: "Single" or "Divorced"?

I recently put a profile on, and I faced a small dilemma. I am 30 years old and divorced. Like most sites, match requires you to put your marital status in your profile. If I was older, I don’t think I would have hesitated to list “divorced,” but I wasn’t so certain in my case.

I suppose I have three questions. Firstly, if you are divorced, is it stretching the truth to list your marital status as “single” when “divorced” is also an option? When I fill out forms for employment benefits and the like, I usually mark “single,” but in a personals ad it would seem like a dodge. Secondly, is it too much information to tell a potential date about your past relationships by saying you’re divorced? I’ve met women through other sites where marital status wasn’t part of the profile, and I wasn’t keen to bring it up right away.

Lastly, are many (never-married) women my age turned off by the idea of dating a divorced man? Most of my female friends don’t think so, but I’ve encountered women my age who really did think it was a turn-off, almost a deal-breaker. Is that view widespread?

In the interests of disclosure, here’s my profile. Feel free to comment on it, especially on the written sections, as I know I’m not good at writing about myself. Please, no pity posts though, as I get enough comments like that from well-meaning but misguided friends.

  1. If “single” is commonly understood to mean “never been married” then it is deceitful for you to list yourself as such.

  2. It’s not too much information. Saying “my first wife was a psycho hose beast who slept with my brother, father, and best friend…at the same time” is too much information. Mentioning that you’re divorced is like mentioning that you’re a professional or what you look like.

3)Some are, and some aren’t. The ones who are turned off enough to not respond to your ad will be just as turned off if you tell them after a couple of dates. You have no future with those women, so you might as well save everybody some time and bother by screening them out right away.

Single means “never been married.” You got married at one point in your life, thus you gave up the “single” title. Now you’re not married, that means you’re divorced. And yes, you should put that in your profile, not that you’re single: although had you been married and had an annullment, I think it wouldn’t be lying to call yourself single.

And yeah, what CatLady said. Your next woman isn’t going to care if you’re divorced. She’s probably divorced herself. Any woman who doesn’t want to date a divorced man is just going to waste your time and her own time as well so you may as well be up front about it. :slight_smile:

I’m 33 and telling women I’m a divorced man seems to help me.

I’m not sure why really.
I’ve learned not to try and understand the logic of women. Its like trying to put the square peg in the round hole… It just ain’t gonna happen. :wink:

Be honest. If a woman finds out that you bent the truth about being divorced, she will inevitably wonder if you lied about something else in your profile. Not a good way to start off a relationship.

I don’t know too many women who would be turned off by a divorced man, except if his ex was still hanging around as a jealous psycho. But that’s a possibility whether they are divorced or not.

I am 50 and divorced. I feel that “too old to be a serial killer” is about as good as I can do.

Yup, one more vote for “divorced,” as the correct, honest, answer.

Couldn’t make the link work – what’s your username there? I love reading Doper ads. (I’m “phillyreader” if you want parity here.)

I think saying “single” would be dishonest. “Single” means “never married.” Stating that you are divorced may work in your favor, though: many women, by your age, have been through at least one relationship with a commitmentphobe. At least the fact that you’ve been married before says that you were willing to commit to someone.

I have to disagree!!!

Honestly, there really are only two designations. You’ll either married or single. That’s it!

You certainly wouldn’t want to hide your past from a potential mate but, if you’ll filling out a form, I say, you’re either married or single.

Hypo situation:

A man and a women get married, they’re both 20. He joints the military and unfortunately gets killed in action.

Flash forward 20 years later. The women is in a bar and she meets a man. The man asks if she’s married or single. Does she say “I’m a widow” or “I’m single”?

Her designation is Single in my opinion. Just as someone who has divorced their marriage.

Just my two cents.

Omnipresent, the difference here is that on, there are several choices for marital status. “Divorced” is one of them. Some people might call it a minor technicality, but it might be important to others.

Yes, I’m saying, ignore all the choices.

Look, if you’re looking “on-line” for a potential mate, is it going to make THAT much difference if the person has been married before or not?

Of MORE importance, at least it seems to me is, does the person have children?

Do they ask THAT question?

Yes, actually, it does. There is a significant difference between someone who has never married (such as myself), and someone who’s divorced. I have dated both never-marrieds and divorcees, so I don’t discriminate on that basis, but it actually says a lot about willingness to commit, etc. Of course, there are other factors as well – someone whose divorce is quite recent is probably not looking to settle down, for instance – but it’s a meaningful fact.

So I’ve got to respectfully disagree – since it is a significant fact to some people, it deserves an honest answer.

To answer your question: yes, most sites ask whether you have kids, whether they’re with you part or full time, and whether you want more kids. Again, honest answers to all of these are appropriate.

I would want you to be honest about the divorced thing. I have an ad on and I am weird about the dishonesty thing. I think with online dating you need to be extremely honest.

I am 31 years old and it doesn’t matter to me one bit if a guy has been married. ** I do believe that if you have to be honest about having children.** I personally would not like to date a man who had small children living with him (the guy who I am getting to know has two teenagers that live away from home and that is ok with me). But my best friend is seeing a man who has a small boy who lives with him. He even goes on their dates (and sometimes chooses the movie) and she is fine with that.

So marked divorce, it really doesn’t matter. :slight_smile:

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it? Is single so understood?

Personally I would say single = “not dating anyone” though the dictionary describes it as ‘unmarried’. Given that ‘divorced’ is one of the options, I would say that’s probably the one you’re meant to pick. Though not necessarily - it’s possible some people prefer being ‘divorced’ to ‘single’ and thus are given the choice.

What matters is how most people interpret it: in this thread that’s apparently as ‘never been married’ which is a shock to me, but then I’m not a 30-year-old woman :slight_smile:

If you’re looking for a compromise could you list yourself as single, but mention the divorce in the description? That way you’re not automatically filtered out, nor lying.

Aside: though I’m so not your target audience, I thought your ad was quite well written. Just thought I’d mention that.

You self identify as divorced. You acknowledge that ‘divorced’ is a legitimate description of someone’s social status, differing from ‘single’ or ‘unmarried’. Divorced is a predefined selection in Match.

Go with divorced.

Note… the word divorced starts to look stranger and stranger the more I read it.

Another vote for saying you’re divorced if you’re divorced.

  1. Yes, some women unfortunately regard divorced men as damaged goods. It’s too bad they would dismiss people out of hand like that, without knowing the circumstances, but it’s their right. Anyway, you wouldn’t want to date these women anyway.

  2. If you say you’re single, and a woman you really like later finds out you’re divorced, she’s going to think you’re not very honest and hold it against you.
    For these and other reasons, divorced people often end up with other divorced people.

– been there

To some people, yes. Yes, it will. Everyone has their own standards for who they will and won’t date, and some people are very leery of dating someone who’s been divorced, just like some people are leery of dating people who used to be fat, or those who used to smoke, or recovering alcoholics. That’s their right; it’s their life and their potential relationship, after all, and they have to make their own decisions based on their own priorities. The fact that someone is looking online does NOT mean that they’re so desperate they should abandon their standards.

I was divorced 9 years ago. I am now single, not in a constant state of being divorced. And “single” does not mean “never been married”. “Never been married”
means “never been married.” I do have a profile on and I did check the Divorced box just to be clear and not waste anybody’s time.

I find this thread fascinating, actually. I work in a medical billing office and I enter in hundreds of patients daily. It is my unscientific observation that women appear to write “divorced” more often than do men; men are more likely to write only “single” or “married.”

Of course, the hospital isn’t a dating service, so that changes things a bit.

As far as a dating service goes, definitely put “divorced” if that is the truth. Doesn’t have some kind of disclaimer saying it is not intended for setting up assignations between cheating married subscribers? I mean, jeez, what’s the point of calling yourself “single” if everybody on the freakin’ board is supposed to be single? Yeah, real good descriptor, there. Very evocative.

Thanks for the input, all. I should clarify that I did put “divorced” in my profile, and my only real hesistation was to put something more…well, I don’t know. As I say, I’ve run into women my age who thought it was a real turn-off. I don’t know.

I think the real question is, should it even be an issue in a personal ad? One of the other sites I’ve used didn’t post marital status in the profile–you entered it in when you joined, but it didn’t appear as part of your public profile. That, I think, is preferable. On that site, if someone didn’t want to date a divorced person, I just wouldn’t appear in their search–fine by me. But on the other hand it doesn’t become a talking point so early on. I’m comfortable if someone asks me about my marriage in most settings, but I wouldn’t be on a first date. FWIW, most of my friends here thought I should go as “single.” Their logic was that not everyone equated “single” and “never been married.” It’s obvious from the responses here that, while some people do, not many do.

Fish– has three main choices for relationship status: “single,” “in a relationship,” and “married.” Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true. Perhaps advises against married persons looking for dates on the site, but they don’t actively prevent them from doing so, like eHarmony does. The other choices, in a drop-down menu, are deemed “optional,” and “no answer” is one of the options. Another is “so long ago, it doesn’t count anymore.” I suppose I potentially could have chosen one of those two as well.

twickster, I am “The_Third_Man123.” I’m not sure why the link didn’t work…perhaps you were logged in to your account at the time?

Shade: thank you for the approval of my profile. As I say, it’s for practice more than anything.