Is it a good idea to date a divorced woman?
In some ways you are correct to ask yourself this question because research shows that divorce rates actually increase from about 50% to 60% in second marriages and it keeps increasing with every failed marriage.
In my experience, there are 2 types of men who ask what it is like to date a divorced woman:
- Those who want to know whether there are any problems or setbacks with someone who has emotional baggage. Most men are this type.
- Those who think that it will be easier to seduce and bed a divorced woman.
If you are the second type of man I am talking about, then please question whether hurting someone further is what you want.
If you want to know what to expect from dating a divorced woman, then the most useful things to work out are whether she is over her ex and whether she is ready for a new relationship.
What about dating a woman who is going through a divorce?
Generally, dating someone while they are still divorcing is not recommended. This is because they need space to grieve the end of the marriage and to learn from the experience. Dating someone too soon can mean that they just transfer their affections onto you and don’t see you for what you really are.
Also, you don’t want them to like you for their ability to comfort you. There is more to you than being a shoulder to cry on!
The ink being dry on the decree absolute and all the money being transferred into the bank does not necessarily mean that it is the right time to date a divorced woman either. For her to show that she is really over it, you need to listen to how she talks about her ex. If the only way she can refer to him in terms of expletives than there is still a lot of anger to let go of. Ditto if she blames him entirely for the failure of the marriage. It takes two!
Another sign that she is not yet over her ex is if she keeps talking about him. She needs to be able to have her ex sufficiently out of her thoughts to be able to make room for someone new. You don’t want to be sharing the date with her ex.
Children are also a complication. If the woman is ready to date but her children are not ready for you, this will lead to huge tension as your partner is constantly torn between the two or more people she loves. We have some advice here for being a step-parent but it will also be important to give the children space too.
So what are the signs that it is OK to date a woman after her divorce?
One of the basic signs is that everything is settled after the divorce and that she is happy with her single life. The woman you are interested feels secure because she has accepted her financial settlement and has a stable and functioning child care arrangement in place with her ex. She will probably be working or at least have a day filled with purpose. She will also have friends and an active social life which means she is not desperate to settle with the first man that comes along.
If a woman is ready to date after a divorce, you will want to hear that she can reflect on the good as well as the bad parts of her relationship. There are reasons that she fell in love with her ex after all and she needs to be able to find some of those in you. Hopefully, you will also be sufficiently from the ex different in the areas she did not like. For example, you may be a better communicator, you might enjoy doing sports more, be less needy of affection or work less hard. She will also have a sense of how she will want to manage conflict differently with you.
In some ways, these questions could and should be put to any woman and any man. So are you ready to date? What have you learnt about yourself?
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.