Sometimes things happen when you don’t plan for them. In dating, you may meet the seemingly perfect person when said person is in a not-so-perfect situation. Often, this not-so-perfect situation happens to be a recent breakup. And sometimes said breakup comes from a more extreme situation — a recent divorce.
When you ask the question, “Should I date recently divorced woman?” your friends and family may respond with an emphatic “NO WAY!”
You may view a recently divorced woman as a walking red flag. And in some respects, that can be a fair perception. Getting a divorce is basically like going through your worst breakup times a million. There is separation of property and, if the couple had children, custody agreements and potential disputes to be worked out.
This is not to say that being divorced should also be a dealbreaker. In America, more than 90% of people get married before the age of 50 and 40 to 50% of those marriages end in divorce.
Statistics like that show you that divorce is anything but taboo, and opportunities to date a recently divorced woman are anything but rare.
However, when someone has JUST gone from married to single status, there are several things to be wary of before dating.
If the thought of entering this type of relationship is already causing your pulse to pound, don’t worry! I’m here to help.
Below are some considerations and questions to ask yourself before deciding to date a recently divorced woman.
Should I Date a Recently Divorced Woman – How Soon is Too Soon?
SPOILER ALERT: If she’s technically still married, it’s too soon; if she’s not over it, it’s too soon.
When your lady in waiting says she is recently divorced, does she think divorce is synonymous with being separated? FYI, a separation is a step toward divorce — it is NOT a divorce.
Dating someone who is separated means you are dating someone who is technically still married. And dating someone who is technically still married means that it’s too soon.
Divorce is — most often — a heart-wrenching situation, even if it was amicable and had been a long time coming. If you’ve never gone through a divorce, think about a time when you and a long-term girlfriend decided to part ways. Even if the decision was mutual and the breakup was amicable, it’s likely you still experienced pain over the loss. This was a person whose life became interlaced with your own. Thus, the transition from partnership to independence can be jarring.
Separation is a necessary precursor to divorce, and mourning the loss of a marriage — regardless of how right it is for both parties to end the said marriage — is a natural part of the process. It can also be natural to want to rebound when your heart is broken. Conversely, certain people who had felt the end coming for months or even years before an official decision was made to divorce may falsely believe they can dive back into the dating world before papers have been filed.
If you date a woman who is still technically married, you are doing a disservice to yourself AND the soon-to-be ex-husband. Remember that there is a lot of logistics that go into completing a divorce — paperwork, separation of assets, etc.
Therefore, it is better for everyone and more respectful to wait until things are officially done and assets have been separated before dating.
Why did she get divorced? If it seems sketchy, it is sketchy. Trust your intuition.
An understandable — albeit, necessary — question you may have when deciding to date a recently divorced woman is, “What happened?”
This is a question that should be asked. Consider the following when venturing for an answer:
Is she being deliberately vague when the topic comes up? Or, does the answer to a yes or no question result in something completely devoid of “yes,” or “no,” but rather, an onslaught of circle talking that leaves you with more questions than answers.
Sometimes there are obvious tells that will instantly let you know a recently divorced woman is lying, such as:
- Eyes darting around
- Overly animated laughter
- Incessantly avoiding the subject
However, sometimes things are more subtle — to the point that you start to question yourself and wonder if you’re overanalyzing. There is a sense of dread churning in the pit of your stomach, but you think maybe you should just write it off as paranoia and push through. You don’t want to be judgmental or — even worse — let a good thing slip away.
But when your gut is setting off sirens for a five-alarm fire, it may be best to listen to your instincts.
According to a study published in Psychological Science, intuition is a real and measurable thing (that’s right, you’re NOT just being paranoid). Using the intuition in your subconscious can be a powerful tool when your conscious mind doesn’t yet have all the facts.
In other words, if everything about the situation is making you eye up the Exit door, discreetly make your escape.
Has the Divorce Process Been Ugly? If it’s Messy — Run!
I don’t care how great the recently divorced woman seems — you don’t want to get involved in her drama tornado.
Do your conversations seem to be largely about how AWFUL her ex is? Even though the divorce is finalized, is the ex still in her life for reasons either in or beyond her control? And does she absolutely HATE that she has to continue to deal with that toolbox?
If things are messy, you don’t want to get involved. Certain circumstances force exes to remain in each other’s lives (either for the short- or long-term), but you want to date someone who has found common ground and a way to coexist with their ex. Another point to remember is that she chose him. If she’s talking smack about the man she previously committed to spending an entire lifetime with, then just how solid are her decision making skills? Look for women who have amicably decided to split, not women who incessantly talk smack about their exes. Smack talkers reveal more about themselves than they do about others.
Watch Out for Stalkers
We’ve talked about steering clear of women who get mixed up in some seriously bad juju or become drama-seeking when it comes to divorce — but what if the instability falls solely on the ex?
Sometimes divorce comes as the result of the darkest of situations, and women may flee for their own protection.
Stalker/psycho exes who are NOT over their ex aren’t just going to be wreaking havoc on your potential girlfriend’s day to day — you are at risk of becoming a prime target for the ex’s outrage.
No woman is worth getting killed over. There’s a lot of danger involved in dating a recently divorced or separated woman. You could end up getting mixed up in their emotional whirlwind and if there’s a lot of bad juju, it can be safer to just let her go.
Don’t be a hero. There are professional resources to help people in these situations.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 1-800-787-3224) or visit thehotline.org/help for more information.
History Tends to Repeat Itself
Consider this before moving forward with a decision to date a recently divorced woman.
We are creatures of habit. Even when it seems counterintuitive to repeat a habit, sometimes making the same wrong decision can feel much more comfortable than making a change.
If a divorce happened due to infidelity on the woman’s part, you run the risk of being cheated on. This is not to say that all people who have cheated in the past are textbook cheaters, but a pattern is something to be wary of.
If she got jealous and possessive to the point that her now ex felt suffocated, you run the risk of being suffocated.
Collect the right information and keep your wits about you.
Where Do the Recently Divorced Woman and Her Ex Stand?
Was the divorce amicable? If so, proceed; if not, consider that a bad sign.
Divorce isn’t always synonymous with drama. A marriage that didn’t last is not necessarily a failure. People grow and change. Sometimes relationships — even marriages — can be fulfilling and beneficial for a limited period of time.
When circumstances lead both people to decide that the relationship is not serving them in a healthy way any longer, it is entirely possible to move on amicably, life lessons under their belt that will positively fuel their next relationship.
Who Initiated the Divorce?
When it comes to dating a recently divorced woman, knowing who initiated the divorce can be integral to understanding whether or not you should proceed with the relationship. If the man initiated the divorce, the chances are much higher that this is a rebound. And rebounding can be a common coping mechanism.
Now, given that actually finalizing a divorce takes plenty of time, it is certainly possible that the woman you meet is over the divorce even if she was not the one to pull the trigger.
The choice to date a recently divorced woman is just one of many anomalies you may face in the dating world. It’s a tricky road to navigate no matter who you are — and I know this from experience. If you need personal support on the subject of dating a recently divorced woman, or you’re in need of a new dating strategy to find the right relationship – go ahead and book a one-on-one Skype session on my calendar today!