When shopping for your next vehicle, you tend to decide upfront whether you’re looking for something brand new, and shiny with all the coolest new features – or if you’re in the market for something a little more broken in, with some mileage on it. If you’re opting for the latter, it’s always nice when you can get some reassurance of vehicle history and whether or not you can expect longevity, and an overall positive return on the investment.

In this sense, car buying is not entirely unlike dating after a divorce.

Oh, come on now…ladies and gentlemen, hear me out (and don’t even try to pretend like you don’t see the parallels). This isn’t about ownership, it’s about transparency. In fact, just as Certified Pre-Owned programs provide many of the assurances mentioned above, wouldn’t it be nice if post-divorce relationships did the same? Wouldn’t it be nice to know history upfront? Wouldn’t it be nice to get some assurance? Wouldn’t it be nice if I don’t go to hell for writing this?

 

CPO 101

If you mistook that header for the name of a second-tier Star Wars droid, just leave now. For the rest of you, let’s take a moment to familiarize anyone who may not be well-versed with Certified Pre-Owned programs.

A CPO program is a means of differentiating previously-owned vehicles. It simply means that vehicles that meet certain criteria (set by the manufacturer) will retain higher value, and be eligible for several benefits of inclusion. If there were a CPO program for post-divorce dating, you’d be able to weed out all the train wrecks, the mama’s boys, the layby’s, squatters, moochers, and everything in-between. Imagine the assurance of not having to put up with ghosting, zombie-ing, slow-fade, bread-crumbing, benching, and catch-and-release. Doesn’t seem so crazy now…does it?

While all CPO programs are different, many of the broad strokes are the same. For this exercise, I’m going to base my comparisons on the criteria one program in particular. Why? Because “science,” that’s why! (Note: I am not a scientist.)

 

Time Restrictions

First, to qualify as Certified Pre-Owned, a vehicle must have been produced within the last five model years.

Now, if you think this is going to be some forced equivalency to age, you’re wrong. Whether you’re a man or woman, as long as you’re both consenting adults in the eyes of the law, I encourage you to date whoever you feel a connection with. (See? I’m all about ‘the love,’ people).

But the timetable of post-divorce dating can be tricky. Date too soon after a relationship and it falls into casual rebound territory (with little or no time for healing the damage). Wait too long to date, and you can become jaded by experience or even independence. Whether ‘too accessible’ or ‘not accessible enough,’ it’s about timing. So if there were to be any expectation of assurance in a post-divorce relationship, it might be appropriate to establish a “window.”

 

Mileage Restrictions

Another criteria that must be met by CPO Vehicles is that they must been driven 75,000 miles or less.

Okay. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Once again, I feel compelled to clarify my position. There is nothing wrong with a healthy, sexual appetite (no man or woman will be slut-shamed on my watch) and in no way, am I equating vehicle mileage to overall sexual history. We’ll save that for the CarFAX (insert winky-emoji here). I’m talking about emotional well-being. Let’s equate a potential new relationship to…buying a car previously owned by a rental company.

No matter how good the price is in the spring, you’d want to know how much of a beating a rental car took during pothole season, before you buy it. The nights are cold during cuffing season and, since long-term damage can go largely unseen, it’d be nice to know how hard things have been driven…psychologically, of course.

 

172-Point Inspection

Ladies, you’ve met a great guy. Gentlemen, a lovely woman has your attention. You now know they’re in a healthy point of their post-divorce journey, so what’s next? Ah yes, the dreaded “Red Flags” in any relationship.

Let’s equate these to dysfunction in major operating systems. With a little attention, you can buff out a small nick; but the car won’t get you very far if the transmission is shot. People in relationships aren’t any different (especially if they’re stuck in reverse, or neutral).

Wouldn’t it be nice, if that person who has caught your attention had undergone a rigorous inspection, with any major issues repaired or refurbished, prior to that first date? Remove a commitment issue here…alcohol dependency there…oh look, the “Gaslight” just came on. Better take care of that!

 

Extended Warranty

How about a Limited Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty for 12-Month / 12,000-Mile (whichever comes first)? Hell, I’d even take a 3-Month / 12-Dinner Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty if there was a $0 Deductible! Sure, the rigorous inspection should have eliminated most of the Red Flags but…if she’s mean to restaurant waitstaff, you might as well be dating Satan.

 

Vehicle Exchange

Let’s be honest. The first date is a test drive. The second date is a conscious decision to drive it off the lot. But then what? Whether we’re talking about a vehicle, or a person, maybe you start to figure out that you haven’t found the right fit.

Many CPO programs offer a penalty-free exchange. Some might argue that you can do the same with dating (although the person calling it off may not be the one paying the penalty). What if you could circle back to whatever bar or restaurant you first met, shake hands, part ways and immediately start scanning the room for the replacement? Everybody wins.

 

In Conclusion

There are a lot of great people out there, just as there are a lot of great vehicles to choose from. All I’m saying is that, Certified Pre-Owned programs make it much easier to buy a used car with confidence.

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