Dating a divorced man basically means dating a man with emotional baggage.
And for single women who have been that way for a large amount of time, it can get really daunting trying to get back in the dating pool so dating divorced men doesn’t scare them much.
Although, when you’re on a first date after your most recent break-up and you learn that this is a divorced guy sitting in front of you, it does make you think.
How did it end with him and his ex-wife? Is he truly ready for a new relationship?
Do they have kids and is there alimony or child support involved? Was it his first marriage and how long did it last? Is a serious relationship what he needs right now?
There are billions of questions you can think of when you hear you’re involved with a divorced man.
Is dating a divorcee an immediate red flag? There’s no one answer to that question.
For a single person who has never been married, it may seem black and white, but for a divorced man, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Here, I’ll explain the ins and outs of dating a divorced man and help you see that it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s damaged or doomed.
A divorced guy could be your one true love, but you’ll have to dig deeper to understand how it all transpired not to make the same mistakes.
What To Expect When Dating A Divorced Man?
Divorce rates have been extremely high lately and there are various reasons for that.
People get married very young and promise to be there no matter what, not really knowing the depth of what they’re getting themselves into.
They don’t learn from their previous relationships (or previous marriage) and they just rush back into a new marriage instead of letting their life experience guide them safely and securely through life.
And sometimes, after having been alone for a long time, people resort to online dating on various dating sites (because, hey, there’s a first time for everything, right?) and, thinking they’ve finally found their match, they rush through the process out of fear of being alone.
They don’t listen to their family members who tell them to not repeat the same mistakes from their past relationships and they go ahead and say ”I do” without being ready, which often leads to divorcing that very same person within mere months.
If people could simply pay attention to the patterns they keep repeating, it would help them nurture and maintain a long-term relationship instead of making the same mistakes all over again.
And that leads me to my next point. If you’ve just been made aware that you’re in fact dating a divorced man, don’t be quick to judge.
He might be the nicest person you’ll ever meet who simply made a mistake when he was young and now lives with the consequences.
On the other hand, this might be a bit more than you can handle.
Some divorced men tend to remain affected by their divorce and oftentimes there’s a bitter ex-wife who won’t make it bearable for you, to put it nicely.
Social media will also be your worst enemy for a while because you’ll keep scrolling through his photos, seeing his previous life with his ex and their kids, and wonder if you’ll ever be able to get to that place and have it actually last.
Dating a divorced man carries a heavy load, which is something a strong woman can handle once she’s truly aware of everything that may entail.
Here are the major things you’ll encounter if you’re dating divorced guy and tips on how to handle it all:
1. Emotional Baggage
There’s no sugarcoating this. When you’re involved with a divorced man, there is definitely going to be some emotional baggage.
And if you’re adamant to continue with this relationship, you should learn how to handle his emotional weight in order to not put him under too much pressure.
Firstly, you should never make him feel guilty for being sensitive, careful, or easily taken aback.
Who knows what your divorced guy has been through and what the situation with his ex-wife is like.
Entering a new relationship after having had your marriage crash in front of your eyes is daunting enough as it is.
He definitely doesn’t need added pressure, it only adds to his anxiety.
Secondly, let him talk to a professional if he feels like that’s his best step forward and do not meddle in that part of his healing.
He’s entitled to his own way of coping with his break-up.
Encourage him to open up to you if he wants and if he’s not ready, there’s no shame in seeking professional help.
2. Meeting His Family Might be Daunting
Especially if you’re the first woman he’s brought home after his previous marriage.
Meeting your partner’s family is always challenging no matter what, but in this type of situation it can get even more complex for both of you.
It depends on whether his family liked his ex-wife or not. If she wasn’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, that’s a plus for you as the bar isn’t that high.
But if the family needed some time to process the divorce (as it affected them too) then they may not be open to meeting a new girlfriend quite yet.
If everyone’s still reeling from the divorce, you’re the last person anyone will be ready to meet, as unfair and unjust as that is.
Ask your boyfriend how his family is dealing with the divorce and what their relationship with his ex was like.
It’ll give you some feedback on what to expect and how long to wait before meeting the fam.
3. The Kids Are His Priority
When a divorced man is going through a tough break-up, his kids will always be his number one priority (as they should be).
This doesn’t mean that he loves you any less, all it means is that he’ll always have to consider the well-being of his children before anyone else’s.
If you’re able to deal with that, you can continue dating this guy.
But if the thought of playing second fiddle to his kids seems unbearable then you’re not really ready to date him at all.
His responsibility is first and foremost to his children.
They’re not to blame for what’s going on around them and you can only imagine how difficult it is to grasp the whole divorce thing for them.
Especially if they’re very young.
Their whole world is falling apart and now they’ll have to spend time separately between Mom and Dad. Be mindful of that at all times.
This isn’t easy on the kids, ever. Be supportive and let your man decide when the right time to meet the kids is.
These are delicate matters that require careful consideration.
4. Remnants Of His Ex-Wife
If your divorced man still lives in the family home they all once happily shared, chances are you’ll encounter plenty of remnants of his marriage, his ex-wife, and some happy memories that will play with his head every now and again.
Don’t take this personally. Healing is a long process and when there are happy memories all around him and children they share, it’s only natural to feel out of place and jaded from time to time.
His life as he knew it is over and being reminded of it sucks.
Give him time to process. Don’t be mad at him if he has a hard time remembering the things you like from the things his ex-wife used to like.
It’s challenging making it all work because he spent a huge chunk of time with that woman.
It takes time to recover and successfully move on from what they had.
Usually, when you think you’ve finally moved on and there’s nothing that can weigh you down, that’s when the memories of a once happy marriage sneak into your mind and mess with your head. Being a divorcee is tough – don’t make it worse.
5. Your Family Members Will Have Questions
It’s only natural to worry about those you love and that is exactly what’s going to happen here.
Your family won’t know what happened in his marriage and what caused it all to deteriorate to the point of divorce.
Was it neglect? Was it emotional abuse? It’s perfectly expected for them to have questions.
Take it as a sign of love from them. They only want what’s best for you.
Dating a divorced man gets a lot of people to think about his previous marriage and the causes of its downfall.
If your divorced guy is truly a nice, decent guy, I’m sure your family will warm up to him eventually and see what you see.
Don’t try to rush the process though. Everyone needs to take their time in getting to know and like him.
6. Inevitable Comparisons
Sometimes, it’s simply impossible for people to find an adequate way to support this new relationship of yours without unintentionally hurting your feelings with their remarks (which is what tends to happen).
So you’ll hear plenty of comparisons, be that from your friends and family to his children and all the way to his loved ones.
To be frank, it’ll SUCK. You won’t be able to take all the comparisons, even if they’re just joking.
The last thing you need is to be a replacement for a wife who didn’t do the trick and try to excel where she didn’t. NOPE.
You are your own woman and this relationship is independent of anything his marriage resembled.
Don’t allow people to diminish your role or make you feel like a notch under his belt. If this is a serious relationship, stand your ground, make it all about the two of you and hush the outside critics.
7. Be Ready To Take It Slow
Don’t be surprised if your divorced guy is keen on taking it slow. It’s perfectly understandable, isn’t it?
His previous relationship burned him and it has left a lasting impact on his life.
Now, he’s adamant not to repeat that mistake no matter what.
This doesn’t mean that he’s not into you. It also doesn’t mean he’s not ready for a long-term relationship. Quite the contrary!
It means he’s taking this very seriously by being mature enough to realize that taking it slow is the best way for you guys to last!
It’s vital that you’re on the same page. Let his first marriage be a warning sign of what awaits if you don’t take precautionary steps. If he wanted to rush into things again, he’d do it in a heartbeat.
But no. He wants you last, which is why he’s taking his time to establish a strong bond that will be able to stand the test of time.
8. Social Media Won’t Be A Good Idea
Who hasn’t looked up their partner’s ex a billion times on social media? It almost goes without saying that you’ll have to see what she was all about and try to figure out what her feed can tell you about her, right? God knows I’ve done it a million times.
But the thing is, this is not the best idea. This is not just any girl. This is his ex-wife.
Their marriage meant something and by looking at her photos, tweets, and Facebook posts, you’ll start feeling unworthy or like a cheap replacement.
It won’t feel nice seeing her at all, let alone if she looks hot!
So my advice is, try to avoid stalking her on socials, no matter what.
There’s nothing to gain and plenty to lose!
She’s in his past and you’re his future. Isn’t that enough?
Past relationships are just that – the past.
And by digging up old memories and making yourself feel like shit will do you zero good.
5 Red Flags When Dating A Divorced Man
Now that we’ve covered the main things you can expect when dating a divorced man, I’m going to point out the main red flags that may bestow you in order to give you the full truth and not sugarcoat anything.
I’m sure you’re a strong, capable woman who can handle a lot, but before starting a serious relationship with a divorced guy, beware of these red flags:
See also: 8 Simple Signs Of True Love From A Woman
1. Is he looking for a short, meaningless fling?
See, after ending something as serious as marriage, people tend to turn into real thrill-seekers.
Some people get into adventurous hobbies like skydiving, paddle-boarding, or rock climbing and some turn to meaningless flings in order to take the edge off.
You can’t really blame a person for not being into a serious relationship right after their marriage crashed and burned.
My point is, be sure that he’s on the same page as you. The last thing you need is realizing too late that he was merely looking for a good time and that getting serious is the last thing on his mind.
Be in it for the same reasons or break up. That way, you’ll spare your feelings and not get heartbroken over a divorcee who never took you seriously in the first place.
2. Is he codependent?
Marriage is made of two partners who put in the same amount of effort into their relationship and never take each other for granted.
They both give 100% at all times and they aim to find a middle ground.
But what if your divorced man was unable to make his part of the vow work and that’s why it all ended?
Are you sure that he’s not looking for somebody to do work around the house, cook him meals, and help take care of his kids?
There’s nothing wrong with sharing responsibilities, but check that he’s not with you particularly to serve that purpose.
You want to avoid being a maid to a divorced guy who couldn’t pick up a broom or wash the dishes to save his life.
Relationships are 50/50. If he doesn’t get that, you need to find someone who does.
3. Has he lost faith in marriage altogether?
Yes, the crash of a marital union can take you for a spin and make you lose all faith you once had in it.
But that shouldn’t be a reason to never want to get married again. Just because it didn’t work the first time, it doesn’t mean that it won’t work with the right person!
Make sure that your man hasn’t written off all possibilities of ever getting married again.
If marriage is something you look forward to in the future, you can’t be with someone who’s on a totally different page.
Try to talk some sense into him. Let him know that you’re not trying to pressure him into anything but you need to know that there’s a chance to say ”I do” at some point in the future when it feels right. You deserve your happily-ever-after.
4. Is he a secret woman-hater?
Divorced men are likely to become women-haters after experiencing a bitter, acrimonious divorce with their ex-wife.
And if said wife made sure to get every last penny from him, be sure that it’s going to leave a horrible taste in his mouth.
Divorced guys don’t even realize that they feel this way until something triggers them and they just go bananas all of a sudden.
Are you sure that your guy isn’t one of those women-haters?
Are you certain that he won’t start resenting you for every little thing and not have any faith in you?
If his life experience has taught him that women can’t be trusted, it’s going to be difficult to undo the damage that has been done.
Be careful and always have your best interest at heart.
5. Can he take responsibility for his actions?
There’s nothing more infuriating in a relationship than a man who can’t own up to his shit!
As if the woman is the only culpable partner for all of the damage that has plagued the marriage and caused it to burn out.
Make sure your man can take responsibility for his share of the blame because it takes two to tango! He can’t get out of it by blaming it all on her.
That shows a lack of respect and a severe inability to be a mature adult who can admit when he’s at fault.
It takes a real man to be able to say that he was part of the problem of his failed marriage.
Can you say that for your guy? Is he hiding from the truth or can he openly admit that he’s not fault-free and learn from his mistakes?
Dating a divorced man comes with a lot of heavy baggage and it takes a strong, open-minded and capable woman to be able to handle all that with dignity and grace.
The most important bits to remember are to let him heal at his own pace and don’t rush him into anything.
Make sure your relationship is based on the same values and that you’re not just a replacement or a live-in maid.
You deserve to have a mature guy who can treat you the way you deserve. Just because he’s divorced and hurt, doesn’t mean he gets to take you for granted.
And lastly, make sure to take the red flags into account before taking your relationship to the next level.
Is he ready for a serious relationship? Is he capable of taking responsibility? Does he respect women?
Those are all the questions you need to sort out before your divorced man gets a chance to break your heart.
Take baby steps and always protect your heart. You both deserve to find your one true love, so good luck discovering if you’ve already found it with each other!