I don’t swipe right on people who’ve never been married

Today's podcast episode is about sex.

Dear Meredith,

So this one may hit a bit close to home for you, but I find myself wondering whether or not people who are middle-aged and have never been married are worth dating. After 20-plus years of marriage and a painful divorce, I am actively dating. I'm on both Match and Bumble, and initially I found myself swiping left on anyone who listed themselves as never married. My concerns were the following: 1) their life experience would be very different than mine 2) they might be very set in their ways 3) they might be afraid of commitment and 4) something must be wrong with them if they haven't managed to get married yet.

Yes, I know how awful that last one sounds and I'm sorry. Rationally, I know that they are a lot of folks out there who are probably wonderful, but simply have not found the right person and refused to settle. But on some level, I'm apparently biased against them. Is there research on this subject? How likely is someone who has never been married by their 40s or 50s to be a good partner vs. someone who is widowed or divorced? How likely is it for them to ever get married?

I'm not sure if I want to get married again, but I definitely wouldn't rule it out. By the way, one guy I went out with listed himself as "divorced" on his profile even though he'd never been married because a friend advised him to. She told him it would increase his odds and give someone a chance to get to know him first. I was irritated when I found out, but understood and forgave him. By the way, it turns out that he is very set in his ways! I can see why he\'s never been married. That said, we did become friends. Your thoughts?

– Divorced

Yes, this does hit close to home. Like, right inside of my glorious spinster house.

My instinct, when I read your letter, was to get very defensive about your concerns. I mean, who's to say that divorced people aren't set in their ways? Who's to say they're better at being in a relationship than your average unmarried person? When I read this letter I thought, "She doesn't know me!"

But then I realized that you're looking for a certain kind of partner. You assume these single people like life as is, and have a ton of boundaries. That could be true. I love my boundaries.

The thing is, though, every unmarried person is different, and I can't tell you what they want. If a person's profile looks interesting in all other ways, you should swipe right. For context, I went to a close friend's wedding over the weekend. He's in his 40s and it's his first marriage. I've always known he would get married once he found a good forever match. Because of school, life, etc., it took him a while to meet that person. But as soon as he did, he was ready for everything.

I mean, I get what you're saying. When I think about divorced people I know who've coupled up with someone new, sometimes it does seem like they already know a shorthand for how to be serious. Many of them are used to checking in with someone, sharing responsibilities, and making sacrifices for a significant other. But the unmarried people are capable. They might have those skills from dealing with friends, family, and non-spouses.

Don't write anyone off. If you like a profile, do yourself a favor and give it a chance.

– Meredith

Readers? Divorced people, can you talk about your experience dating people who've never been married?