I’m dating a divorced man and we’re approaching our six month anniversary.
I can fairly say that my feelings for him have now reached the point of being in love.
But this path has not been without its serious challenges.
Here’s how I navigated the ups and downs of dating a recently divorced man, and how you can, too.
15 things to consider when dating a recently divorced man
Dating a recently divorced man isn’t the same as dating just any old guy.
In some ways it’s better, in some ways it’s worse.
Let me explain what I mean…
1) He’s not as quick to jump in
Divorce is a damaging and difficult process. It hurts bad. Dating my guy has felt like an uphill climb in that sense.
What I mean is that his marriage has still left him reeling.
He’s not just like some guy who dated a couple times and is pretty chill.
He went through a divorce six months ago and the stresses of it in every way are still on him.
I’m talking about finances, custody issues, his wife’s angry phone calls, figuring out various aspects of his living situation.
Now none of this is my problem obviously, I’m the woman who’s dating him not his caretaker.
But as his girlfriend I do take an interest and concern in his well-being and want him to be happy and healthy.
I hope and believe that with time we will get more serious.
But I have applied no pressure and respect how his divorce has made him a bit tender about committing too seriously at the moment.
2) The sex is better
The sex is better, a lot better.
Compared to what, you might ask…
In my case I’d have to get out my pen and start a list and that list would start with my ex-boyfriend George and run all the way down to my first boyfriend Niels (yeah, I know, the name Niels, where’d it come from?…)
Anyway, maybe my current recently-divorced Dionysus is just a love god in bed, but I’m inclined to say that his eight years of marriage also have a say in it.
All that practice for one, but also given what he’s told me, all that repression.
His wife didn’t treat him so well in the bedroom and he wasn’t into cheating, so that left a lot of sexual tension that he never released.
He’s now releasing it into me…
All over me and…
You get the picture!
3) The communication is much improved
If there’s one thing that divorce does for a guy it gets his communication skills in ship shape.
When you have to argue just to keep the clothes on your back, you tend to get pretty darn good at it.
You also get very good at reaching compromises, seeing another’s point of view, and navigating relationship issues.
When you’ve already seen the worst that can happen, you get a lot of insights into how to prevent it from happening once again.
Still, nothing is perfect and dating a recently divorced man can bring up all sorts of issues that might not otherwise come up.
While this article explores the main factors to consider in dating a recently divorced guy, it can be helpful to speak to a relationship coach about your situation.
With a professional relationship coach, you can get advice specific to your life and your experiences…
Relationship Hero is a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations, like becoming serious with a man who’s recently separated from somebody else.
You’re meeting him at his most vulnerable moment and hoping for something serious, but how do you navigate the balance for proactively moving forward and still not pressuring him?
Relationship Hero has great answers that are specific to your situation. They’re a very popular resource for people facing this sort of challenge.
How do I know?
Well, I reached out to them a few months ago about my own relationship with my recently divorced boyfriend.
After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
4) His emotional issues are more pronounced
OK, about the biggest things to consider when dating a recently divorced man:
The emotional issues.
They’re big. Like, bigger than I was expecting.
He’s still plenty cut up about what went down with his ex. He studiously avoids getting into it with me, but it obviously bugs him a lot.
I believe him when he says he no longer has feeling for her, so it’s not that.
It’s partly the issue around his kids and custody (which I’ll get to) which has got him close to tears many days when I call him on the phone.
His emotions seem close to the surface in a way I’m not used to for men, and at first it really made me uncomfortable.
However, after seeing more about what he’s dealing with and understanding that he doesn’t want to put it on me at all, my respect for him has actually grown.
He’s going through so much. I’m not his therapist and I don’t wish to be.
But as his girlfriend I care deeply about his mental and emotional health.
So be prepared for him to be emotionally raw, is what I’m saying here.
5) The wounds are raw
The wounds from the divorce are still raw even though it’s six months ago.
I’ve never been through a divorce so I can’t judge.
I’ve been through bad breakups and I remember some weekends that were just me crying into a pile of sweaters. It’s hard to imagine them having been sadder than they were.
Just based on that I respect his pain and give him space for it.
In this respect, you want to avoid becoming his wound-dresser. I almost fell into the pattern myself, so I totally know how it works.
You show concern: normal, healthy…
You offer a listening ear: normal, healthy (within reason)…
You try to make him feel better: getting a bit more into the codependent zone.
You see where I’m going with this?
You can easily stumble into feeling like you’re responsible for his comeback and making him feel OK.
That’s a battle you can’t win. And even if you do, you’ll no longer be his genuine romantic partner, you’ll be his sidekick codependent enabler.
6) He’s hesitant to open up
When I say that the most important things to consider when dating a recently divorced man is how emotionally raw he is, there’s a common misunderstanding I get…
“Wow, he must talk at your 24/7 about his issues and stress.”
Well, actually, no…
He rarely opens up at all. He’s super vulnerable and weepy quite a bit, but he doesn’t verbalize it very much at all.
I’ve only pried out the details out of him basically by default…
But the point is that he’s far from eager to talk about the mess his life is in and he was even ashamed at first to admit to me that he’d had a recent divorce.
He wanted to keep it fully separate from our relationship and the love we had for each other.
I can now see why, but I can also see how the intermixing of these stories was completely inevitable, particularly if the two of us are going to get more serious going forward.
That’s something I’m hoping for and which he at least seems open to.
7) The ex wife still causes drama
If you’re wondering about things to consider when dating a recently divorced man, don’t forget the ex wife.
She’ll be there making her presence known in one way or another, she sure is for me and my man.
Night and day it’s texts, new stresses, legal papers, financial documents that must be signed stat and so forth.
The ex wife even showed up at my door one day demanding to know where he was and shouting expletives at me about being a “slut” and a “b*tch.”
The nerve of that woman had me ready to slam the door in her face.
I calmly told her to please leave my property and said I would file a restraining order on her if she came back.
I did not swear at her because I detest getting down on that level.
If you roll with the pigs you’re going to get muddy, as they say.
Be prepared for ex wife drama. It might not show up as bad as it did for me, but it will probably show up in some way, shape or form.
8) Kids…Yes, there are kids
Like I got into earlier, there are kids in this relationship. His two kids from his marriage.
This is one of the top things to consider when dating a recently divorced man: his family is always going to be a priority for him.
The fact he’s done with his ex does not mean that he’ll be able to leave his kids as an afterthought and it’s vital that you respect his need to be put his kids first.
Just in the same way you’d hope and expect a guy to do for you if you were a recently divorced women with kids.
My man loves his babies so much – his two daughters – and he dotes on them and FaceTimes them constantly.
They know who I am and like me too, but we’re going slow on easing me into having any real role in their lives, after all I’m a new woman in their lives and it’s a lot.
The important thing is to respect the dad-child relationship, and to understand it’s always going to come first no matter how much he loves you.
9) He’s pointed me in the right direction
Another of the things to consider when dating a recently divorced man is that the insecurities and challenges he brings up can actually be a good thing.
I know that from a young age I hoped for love and partnership to just sort of … happen.
But it didn’t.
There were false starts and some grand enchantments, but they quickly fell through and left me cold and empty.
Finally meeting this guy has seemed like a lifesaver, but it’s also left me with various insecurities coming back up about who I am and what I want in life…
Have you ever asked yourself why love is so hard?
Why can’t it be how you imagined growing up? Or at least make some sense…
When you’re dealing with falling in love with someone you didn’t expect it’s easy to become frustrated and even feel helpless. You may even be tempted to throw in the towel and just try to hang on for dear life and hope things finally work out this time…
I want to suggest doing something different.
It’s something I learned from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me that the way to find love and intimacy is not what we have been culturally conditioned to believe.
In fact, many of us self-sabotage and trick ourselves for years, getting in the way of meeting a partner who can truly fulfill us.
As Rudá explains in this mind blowing free video, many of us chase love in a toxic way that ends up stabbing us in the back.
We get stuck in awful relationships or empty encounters, never really finding what we’re looking for and continuing to feel horrible about things like not being sure if we’ve finally met the one or are just wasting our time once again.
We fall in love with an ideal version of someone instead of the real person.
We try to “fix” our partners and end up destroying relationships.
We try to find someone who “completes” us, only to fall apart with them next to us and feel twice as bad.
Rudá’s teachings showed me a whole new perspective.
While watching, I felt like someone understood my struggles to find and nurture love for the first time – and finally offered an actual, practical solution to confusion and challenges in love.
If you’re done with unsatisfying dating, empty hookups, frustrating relationships and having your hopes dashed over and over, then this is a message you need to hear.
I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
10) Getting serious might take more time
Getting serious with a recently divorced guy can take more time than you might be used to with another guy.
This is one of the important things to consider when dating a recently divorced man:
Are you willing to put in the time it takes for if and when this thing takes flight?
Because I know that in the half year I’ve been dating we’ve still barely had talks about the future.
We love each other’s company and we know that we’re exclusive, but the idea of making plans long-term is out of the question.
It’s now a little over a year since he divorced, and he’s not even close to ready.
Nor am I, to be honest.
Getting serious is going to take more time, which can be frustrating for some women or may even feel like a player’s trick.
Granted, there can be men who play the field in this way and use divorce as a way to get with as many women as they can in the aftermath.
But if you’ve got a good guy on your hands who’s a straight shooter there’s no reason to believe he’s doing this.
Just be respectful and considerate about the longer time he’s going to need. It might be a matter of a few more months, or it could be a matter of a few more years.
11) Is he seeing other women
I am confident that the recently divorced guy I’m dating is not seeing other women.
Apart from a slight porn habit I’ve noticed on his phone he’s actually pretty clean.
Is it creepy that I check that?
If you’re getting involved with a guy you can be forgiven for wanting to check up on him a bit, if you ask me.
Keep in mind that some guys will use a divorce as a rebound and go wild time, taking out all their sexual energy on random women and getting all of womankind back for the pain their wife has inflicted on them.
It’s sad but it happens all the time.
Look out for the classic signs of cheating and his behavior around you and other women.
If he is two-timing you, you’ll want to know as soon as possible so you don’t fall in love and get heartbroken from the betrayal.
12) Is he ready to take the relationship public
Every person moves at different speeds in relationships.
One of the important things to consider when dating a recently divorced man is whether he’s comfortable making this public yet.
There may be reasons surrounding his separation and friends and family that make him want to play it low-key for now.
Warning signs should come up if he wants it to remain fully secret, but you may be in a position where it’s reasonable to honor his request to keep things a bit under the radar for now.
Are you cool with that?
13) What’s your status
In my case I’ve had a few bad breakups but never been divorced.
My status before meeting my guy is that I was single for three years. Yes, three whole big years.
Apart from a couple of drunken disasters, those were years of self-discovery when I really clarified on what I’m looking for and why.
I’m glad for those years and the friends I made in them, the books I read and the knowledge I gained about life and my place in it.
They prepared me to be ready for this moment romantically and also see it for the potential it has.
What’s your status? What does this relationship with a recently divorced guy mean for you and how does it relate to your past relationships?
14) Are you a rebound
Earlier I talked about rebounds: they happen. Especially after divorces and breakups they happen a lot.
Rebounds might sound like a joke or a basketball play but they hurt a lot and they can really screw you over.
Please be careful of your heart if you have the impression this guy is treating you more as a rebound.
Common signs of this include:
- Very inconsistent communication
- Hitting you up mainly for booty calls
- Using jealousy to pressure you into sex
15) What do you want out of this
As much as you want to consider the various things about your guy’s perspective, don’t forget what you want out of this, too.
Do you want something serious or more of a fun time?
Are you looking for marriage or cool with keeping it fairly uncommitted?
Is this relationship something you’d want to open or is monogamy the only way for you?
Think about all this and be true to your intentions.
If you want more than he’s willing to give it won’t help to lie to yourself, because eventually it’s all going to come to a head one way or another.
Back in black
Black’s always been my favorite color. I’ve always associated it with elegance, class and kind of timeless beauty.
Black could be in any time, any age.
It also compliments my complexion well.
Finally I feel ready to wear black again, yet it’s not for any sad occasion or fashion show.
It’s for a classy dinner out with my boyfriend.
The life we’re building together is really working for me, and it seems the gods of love have finally blessed my life.
I’m back in black, and he’s right by my side.