Dating a divorced man? Before you get too far in the relationship, there are things you must know.
Divorced dating is challenging, there's no doubt about that. But if you have the right information, you can date a guy after divorce and make it work.
What are the dos and don'ts for dating after divorce?
Dating today is definitely different than it used to be. There are so many more challenges. And the one thing you don't want to be is his next divorce.
You may be wondering:
Is he ready for another relationship?
Why did he get divorced before?
Is he damaged goods?
How do I know if he will make a commitment again?
And if you take into consideration that divorce rates are only climbing, and only one out of two marriages stays together, you need to be very sure you know what you're getting into when you date a divorced guy.
As matter of fact it doesn't matter if this guy was married or just in a long-term relationship. These tips apply to any relationship where you want to be smart and make it work.
Let's just jump right in with -
Tip #1: Know how deep the pool is…!
Would you ever jump into a swimming pool without knowing how deep the water is?
Then you definitely would never jump into a relationship where you didn't know what was going on with him and why it ended.
You owe it to yourself to find out what his history is. If you don't know what you're getting into, you are very likely to step on a landmine at some point.
Every man has history. And the more you know about it, the better off you are.
Think about it:
Would you buy a car without at least finding out what the reviews said?
Would you buy a house without having an inspector check it out?
Of course not.
Knowing everything you can about him is absolutely essential if you want to make the relationship work.
One thing you should not do is try to learn everything about him on the first couple dates. Take your time and collect your data.
On date number one and date number two, you should focus on listening in between the lines with him. Don't let your fantasies start to pull you into dreaming about your wedding dress quite yet.
That might sound a little bit funny, but you'd be surprised how many women make a decision about a man based on initial chemistry. (And men do the exact same thing…)
As the relationship progresses, you should know about why he got divorced. You should also ask him one very important question:
"What do you think the biggest thing that caused your marriage to fail was?"
And then listen very carefully to what he says next. Take mental note of where he places the blame.
If he blames both him and her, that's an excellent sign. It means he knows he had a part in it.
Red flag: if he says that it was all her fault, that's a man you should probably run away from.
Don't forget to share a little bit of your history too. If you were married before, let him know about your relationship. And especially let him know what you learned from it.
And let him know what your standards are now.
Tip #2: Divorced Dating - Be a smart turtle…
A smart turtle knows that slow and steady wins the race.
Keep in mind the man who has come out of a divorce takes much longer to get over the loss of his marriage. Divorce hits a man much harder than it does a woman.
I know this may feel oddly contrary, but it's true. Men do not have the same emotional resiliency to bounce back that women do.
Give him the space and time to heal from divorce...
Men who get divorced are depressed more often, and very often commit suicide much more frequently as well. It's not a pretty picture, but it's true.
"Men were more vulnerable to the adverse effects of divorce, including larger health declines and lower subjective well-being after separation, higher risk of adopting bad health habits, elevated mortality, disproportionate declines in satisfaction with family life, higher dissatisfaction with custodial arrangements, and greater feelings of loneliness and social isolation..." - SOURCE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5992251/
Now that you understand this, you may also understand why men are very cautious after a divorce or separation. In order for him to think about a new relationship, he has to feel safe in your relationship.
Which means you need to go the extra mile to make him feel safe with you. You're going to have to take a lot of extra time with this guy.
He's going to be gun shy about jumping right into a commitment for sure. Which means you need to also be patient and understand that it may take him quite a while before he's ready for something long term.
In fact, it's most likely that he just wants to have fun. (You should be playing Cyndi Lauper right about now...)
If you expect anything different than this, think back and see if you can remember a time when he said he was ready for a relationship and a big commitment. I'm betting he never did.
Tip #3: Watch out for EX talk…
One of the signs you have to watch out for is how much this guy talks about his ex-wife - or his ex- girlfriend.
Some people just talk about their ex a little too much after the breakup. This usually means that there is a lot of baggage for their old flame.
If this guy is talking about his ex a lot, and it doesn't matter whether it's positive or negative, then this is a warning sign to you. He probably needs more time to heal.
You should especially pay attention to the emotions that come up for him when he does talk about his ex. If there's a lot of anger, or if he seems to go off into his own headspace as he talks, let this guy go and let him put some other woman through hell. You don't deserve it!
Tip #4: Dating a Divorced Man - Time Limits…
If he's been divorced for less than six months, don't go near him. Unless their marriage was breaking down for the last few years, there's no way this guy is ready to date again. And he definitely doesn't want to jump into another commitment - even if he says he does.
And even then, he probably still needs time alone to get over being alone. There's no substitute for taking time to yourself to get over a relationship that went bad.
Know when to walk away...
The same is true for you: You generally need about one month alone for every year you are in a long-term relationship. And if you are married, you probably should double that.
Most people are simply too raw and not ready right out of a failed marriage. No matter how much you want it to happen, more than likely you will end up getting crushed. Heartbroken.
You may think "But it's different for us!" - And I know it is not.
Trust me when I tell you that the headspace he is in is a place you do not want to be. Also, it will probably take him twice as long as it would take a woman to get over the same situation.
So now you can see that a guy who is been married for, say, 10 years probably needs the better part of a year or more just to get his feet back on the ground. He's not going to be ready for you. No matter how much loving and nurturing you give him.
As the saying goes, three women can't make a baby in three months. Some things must take their time.
Tip #5: The raw and the ugly…
You may find yourself in the variety of situations with a divorced guy. You want to watch out for the red flags as you date him:
RED FLAG CHECK: Cheating
Be sure to find out if there was cheating in the previous relationship. And especially who did it.
Red flags to look out for...
I hope I don't have to explain why you need to know if he cheated on her.
Newsflash: You are interviewing for her old job!
And if she cheated on him, you need to be especially careful because now he's going to have a lot of trust issues. And that also means jealousy issues.
RED FLAG CHECK: The King Of His World
The truth is that the first year after any divorce for a guy is filled with self-exploration. He's going to be wanting to do all the things he couldn't do when he was in his marriage.
And you can double down on that if she was a nag or a nasty woman. (We know those are out there, don't we?)
Keep in mind that he will need to go out and have some fun before he's ready for making you a priority.
RED FLAG CHECK: Watch out for the rebound
Men who get out of the divorce are usually not looking to jump right into having sex with just one person again. Especially if they associated their last marriage with oppression instead of monogamy.
Men's emotions often get tied up in their physical relationships in a weird way. He may think he's in love with you, but what he really needs is validation.
That means he may only be boinking you. No matter what he says to the contrary.
Rebounds are painful if you don't see it coming. Or if you thought things were different than they actually are.
Don't get blindsided. Watch his behavior to see how healthy he looks. Because what you think is a relationship could just be sex to him.
Tip #6: Dating a Divorced Man - And now the positive…
I would be just as negligent if I didn't tell you that there are a ton of positive reasons to date a divorced man.
Here are just a few:
If he is looking to get into a new relationship, chances are he probably learned quite a bit in his marriage. He learned the importance of communication. He learned the importance of connection.
Build healthy lasting connection and intimacy...
And if he's willing to start again and do this again, that means his heart is in it. This guy obviously must want a lasting relationship.
He did it once, he'll do it again
The fact is that if he made a commitment like this before, chances are he knows and understands what it means to commit. And that means he's a committer, not a runner.
When a guy wants a long-term relationship (and MOST men do!) then he's going to eventually want to settle down again. It's best for you if you're there when he finally decides to commit.
It's a fact of life
According to the National Survey for Family Growth (NSFG), the chances that a first marriage transitions from separation to divorce is 53% within one year for women ages 15-44. The chance separation leads to divorce is 86% within five years.
The good side of this statistic is that only 10% of second marriages will go from separation to divorce.
Yes - there is hope if we can just learn from our mistakes.
By the way, if you want to hold out for a guy who has never been married before just so you can be his one and only, you're dreaming. You may be holding out for the rest of your life given that - as you get older - most guys are likely to have that kind of background. You know, previously married with kids.
Oh wait! I still need to tell you about the kids…
Tip #7: Are You Ready To Be Mom…? Again?
It is very likely that a guy who is divorced is also going to have children from the previous woman. So make sure that you are ready to be an instant mom.
I hope that scared you enough to help you put on the brakes.
Pro or Con? Divorced with kids...
Yes, the fact is that even if you have had your own children, this guy may have had his own. Which means you now have two different sets of kids to deal with.
Which for some people can be both good and bad.
Now of course this doesn't mean that you might not want to have more children if you're young enough. If you're older, you may decide that you are finished with the baby-making.
But the reality is that you may inherit more kids. So you want to consider this before dating a divorced man who might have more family for you.
If he is a little bit older, he may have teenagers. ( I'm waiting a second to let that really soak in for effect...)
So you do have to deal with the possibility that you might be the evil stepmother. And you may have a few hurdles in front of you if you'd like to connect with his kids.
Any way you look at it, this can be a challenge that you have to be aware of.
If I've made it sound like dating a divorce guy is very risky, that's because it absolutely is. And it's just as deadly dating a divorced woman.
In our rush to feel attractive and desirable again, inevitably we race into a new relationship way too fast. Most guys who are right out of a marriage, right out of a divorce, need time to sow their wild oats.
No matter what he says to the contrary, you have to believe that he is not ready for a long-term relationship quite yet.
And you must treat him that way. You can continue to date, and after a while he will come around.
But he's not ready to marry you no matter what you might think.
In order for him to marry you - or even to commit to a relationship with you - he needs one more thing:
BONUS Tip For Dating A Divorcé: Do What SHE Couldn't Do!
What most women never realize is how to connect with a man in a meaningful way. This usually leads to the relationship slowly disintegrating over time. Both sexually and emotionally as well.
Be the woman he feels safe with...
In fact it's very likely that the reason that this man got divorced was because his wife couldn't really make a connection with him. She may have even blamed that on him, too.
The most important skill for a woman is understanding how to make a connection with a man.
Men are notoriously difficult to read. You may also find a real challenge in reaching his emotions. Not because they don't exist, but because most men don't broadcast them.
If you're used to communicating with other women more than men, this can be a challenge for you.
The good news is that this skill is easy to acquire. There are secret "hacks" that make him reach out to you and talk to you about his feelings.
You simply have to know how to read his signals. If you've ever talked with a man and wondered what he was thinking, you know what I mean.
You may have even asked him what he was thinking - which is usually a mistake. And I'll bet you didn't really find out what you were hoping to discover...
The fact is that men do give off very clear signals as to how he's thinking and feeling about you. And if you don't know how to read his signals, he will feel disconnected from you.
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