Dating after divorce: Will “man sharing” become the new norm?

As Sex and the City so eloquently taught us, the dating scene is rough. This is especially true for middle-aged and older recent divorcees who have been in long term marriages (over 10 years) and come out of it freshly single and looking for meaningful relationships. They are finding a real dearth of eligible men and very fierce competition. What to do about it? I haven’t the foggiest.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are some bachelors out there who are catches for newly minted and single divorcees, but by and large it is definitely slim pickins by all accounts. And so when a new divorcee goes fishing, I think she has to remember to cast her net as far as possible. She can’t be too “restrictive.” She can’t hold out for Mr. Perfect if she can’t stand to be alone – and some women can’t be alone. It’s just not in their DNA.
I was talking to another friend whom I will call Kathy this weekend and she said some controversial things that got us into a heated discussion. She said that men, as a species (we routinely refer to men as “the species”, sorry!), are a more expensive commodity than women. She said women are a dime a dozen but that men are more valuable a commodity, a bigger prize to GET and that a woman has to learn to take what she can get. She went further and said that when a couple gets a divorce, “it is a wife that loses a husband”; the husband does not lose a wife because he can go right out there and find a dozen women in less than a month – no matter what he looks like or how much of a heel the wife may think he is. But the wife may never find another husband, or ever go out on a date again if she is too picky or if she doesn’t take what she can get. She said that women are going to have to learn to happily “man share.” And she told me that in the Bible, man sharing was a way of life – and thus should be no big deal.
It was depressing actually, for me to have this conversation with this person because on some level, I agreed with her but on others I was insulted for my entire gender. And she’s married! You know? She would absolutely kill her husband if he ever made her to “share” him. But she really feels that we are entering an era whereby women are going to seriously have to consider “MAN-SHARING” or go manless. No, I’m very serious. She is really bearish on the man/woman situation and she says it is a dire situation for most women and that the pool of newly divorced women only compounds the already serious shortage of eligible men to go around. And she really is convinced that more and more women are going to start to “man share” if they don’t want to be alone. And then, she made the argument that marriage as we know it is actually going to become extinct and that polygamy and other such arrangements are going to be  de rigeur. And that women are going to have to put up or shut up about their men having multiple partners and possibly multiple wives the way they do in some Muslim countries. I was slightly sick by this conversation to tell you the truth. But I wonder if there is any truth to what she said?
But, so, what is the takeaway for you and your post-divorce dating quests?  I dunno. I am not an advocate of man sharing obviously and polygamy is out of the question. Just from a health perspective that is slightly nauseating. But it is definitely slim pickins out there in the dating scene. And I can’t help wondering is Kathy right? Are we heading to a world where women approach dating and marriage polygamously? And accept man sharing as the new norm? Is this where we are heading? Have we come to this? And if so what are women going to do? I say when it comes to that, chose to be alone. Be independent. It really isn’t such a bad choice. For one thing, you have great freedom to go and do whatever you want, whenever you want without restrictions, headaches and problems. But are women strong enough to do that? To live independently and alone without a man to share their life? And then, on top of it all, to be celibate and practice a lifestyle befitting a member of the Hindu sect called the Daughters of Brahma, whose members are meant to be celibate eternally?
Originally published 2/2/09