Dating Amelia: Is My Busted Engagement A Problem For You?

I never thought I would be in the position of dating with a broken engagement under my belt. I hope to never have another. As I’ve started dating again, I’ve had to think about how honest I want to be about my prior relationship history. So, how honest do I want to be? Totally.

At first, I thought that I had been engaged might work in my favor. Men are inclined to assume a woman is more interested in something serious than they are, that women want more from men than they’re ready to give. After all, women are always a little further ahead on the marriage path, aren’t they? But I was engaged and dumped. I’m newly single. Therefore, I must project a “just looking to have fun and meet new people” vibe, right?

Apparently not.Last night, I was at dinner with a male friend who told me that the fact that I had been engaged may work against me. “You were going to get married; therefore, you’re ready for marriage. But a guy you’re going out with may not be,” he told me. Because I was happy to marry a boyfriend of five years, I’m ready to find his replacement … now? If I was a guy, I would run from me, too.

Except that’s not where I am. Sure, I’m not looking for random sex with strange men I meet at bars, but I’m enjoying being single again — having my own place, not having to check in with anyone about the evening’s plans, etc. And I’m well aware that I have some trust issues to work through and a few self-esteem hurdles to tackle. Ultimately, I would like serious monogamy again — not necessarily marriage — and definitely kids. But a woman with a maniacally ticking biological clock I am not.

A few people have advised, “Don’t tell them that you were engaged! Or at least wait until you’re getting serious!” Really? I don’t advertise that I was engaged on a blingy, “Almost a Bride!” T-shirt, but if someone asks me about my last relationship or if I believe in marriage, I’ll be honest. I know talking about exes early on is one of those dating don’ts that’s drilled into women by magazines like Cosmopolitan, but dudes are asking. So I tell them because I’m not in the habit of lying or hiding things I’m not ashamed about.

I suspect the fact that I was engaged will freak out and scare off potential “suitors” who are too immature for me anyway. Not immature because they’re not ready to get married right now, but immature because they would be uneasy about a woman who almost made a legal commitment to someone else. Probably, I shouldn’t be dating them anyway. Making out with them — well, that’s another thing entirely.