Dating a Divorced Man? Here are 10 Things You Should Know
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If you’re in your 40s or older, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to end up dating a divorced man at some point.
This is definitely a horse of a different color from the single young guys you may have dated in the past. So, I wanted to provide you with a video and article to help you navigate the world of getting to know a man who has experience in a long-term relationship…but who also may have his own baggage.
Given that I am a man…but not divorced…I wanted to find you the best expert on dating a divorced man I could find.
It turns out, I didn’t have to look far. My mother, Ann LoDolce, is a divorce attorney, so I tapped her infinite wisdom to help you!
If you’re divorced yourself, you’ll definitely appreciate the fact that things are different than they were when you were single. You may be a part-time parent, have an ex that you still argue with, or even still be reeling from the expense and emotional trauma caused by the divorce itself.
But regardless, you’re looking for love and you absolutely deserve it.
The same goes for dating a divorced guy: he may have a few things that make his life…well…less simple than you’d like, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a great candidate for the role of Mr. Right.
Here are some things you should be aware of if you’re going out with men who are divorced.
1. He Might Be Dishonest About the Reason for the Divorce
On your second or third date with a new guy who’s been divorced, you naturally might ask him what happened in his marriage.
One of three things will happen:
He’ll be totally honest about the reason (“We argued all the time. It was a toxic environment.”)
He’ll be a little squirrelly or vague about it (“It just wasn’t meant to be.”)
Or he’ll fib about it.
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I know. That’s not what you want to hear. But my mom, who’s helped countless people navigate the tricky world of divorce, says that it’s a very unpleasant topic for most people, and you’ll often find in dating a divorced man, that he may not want to talk about it at all.
“But you need to know something about how it happened,” Ann says.
You don’t need to grill the guy on your first date, but if it seems to develop into a relationship, you deserve to know about his past experience for one reason: history repeats itself.
If he cheated on his wife or had anger issues, you need to be very concerned about how that might impact your relationship with him. While I don’t like to generalize with the whole “once a cheater, always a cheater” saying, you have to take the possibility into consideration. Was it a one-time thing during a stressful period in his relationship, or was he a serial cheater?
If his ex-wife cheated on or hurt him, that may make it hard for him to open up to you and trust you fully. Can you handle his suspicion and jealousy?
2. His Ex Will Be Part of His Life
Ann says this is especially true if children are involved. If you’re dating a divorced man with kids, you’re dating the whole package…including, to some degree, the ex-spouse. If you end up living with him, you’ll likely be sharing custody of those kids and will have to co-parent with both your boyfriend and his kids’ mother.
You may even have to meet the ex at some point, which, while no fun, can help to establish a relationship with her and her children. This can make the transition to this new family dynamic a little easier.
Try not to be jealous of their relationship. He’s moved on from her and is with you. He will need to talk to her if they’re sharing custody of the kids, and that may take some getting used to. Allow time to adjust to this.
And if she’s overstepping, talk to him about establishing boundaries. Maybe she texts from the car when she arrives to pick up the kids rather than walking into the home you share.
3. He May Not Want to Get Married Again
When you’re dating a divorced man, even if he’s head over heels in love with you after a few months, you have to be aware that he may never want to get remarried.
If the divorce was messy, that may have traumatized him to the point of believing he never wants to go through it again. Of course, you’re thinking if you did get married, you wouldn’t get divorced, but he’s playing it safe and protecting his heart by shutting out the possibility of marrying again.
There are a few paths you can take here. If you’re okay being in a long-term relationship without being married, great.
But if you dream of marrying a guy like this, you can either be patient and hope that he eventually heals from his divorce trauma and decides you’re the wife he always wanted…or if you think he’ll never change his mind, you can let go and move on.
4. He Could Be Jaded About Relationships Altogether
“Sometimes the divorce makes it very difficult to trust, and the person might be seeing only the worst in everybody around him for quite a while,” Ann says.
This can be tricky. Sometimes we bring our past relationships into our new relationships. It’s baggage. You might have some of your own, I’m guessing.
Be aware that you may have your work cut out for you. If he’s genuinely worth it, start building trust from the start. Work to show him that you’re not his ex. That you’re someone entirely different and worthy of his trust and love.
He needs to—and will—be open to a new relationship, but it may take time, so have patience.
5. He Could Be a Great Match!
Ann says that just because a man is divorced doesn’t mean he’s flawed or damaged. Sometimes relationships end, even after marriage vows and decades. If he learned about himself and about relationships in the process, then he could be great relationship material for you.
As you get more dating experience under your belt, you’ll meet men who have never been married or who haven’t even been in a serious relationship longer than a few months. Conversely, dating a divorced man lets you know that at least he understands how marriages and relationships work, and more than likely he’s had to compromise, communicate, and work at a relationship.
All good things for you, Sexy Confident lady!
6. If the Divorce is Fresh, He May Not Be Ready to Date
If that’s the case, you’re wondering, why is he dating?
Maybe his friends are pushing him to “get back out there.” Maybe he wants to find his confidence again. Maybe he’s just looking for sex. But if he’s not ready for a relationship, you’ll never convince him otherwise.
So…how do you know if it’s too soon?
Ask him when he got divorced. If it was within the last couple of years, just tread lightly. Pay attention to whether he talks about his ex often (either wistfully or angrily; either could indicate he still has unresolved issues.).
If he’s only separated and not fully divorced, try to keep things light. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a man who isn’t 100% available.
7. If He Has Kids, They Take Priority
If you have kids yourself, you totally get this. If not, you may feel like you’re vying for his attention when he’s focused elsewhere.
You won’t win that competition. He rightfully should be focused on his children, especially if they’re still healing and getting used to the post-divorce situation.
Wait as long as possible to meet his kids. Like, until you’ve exchanged the “L” word. Not only do you not want to enter these kids’ lives if there’s a good chance you’ll also be exiting soon, but you also don’t want to get attached to them and then have things not work out.
8. He May Be a Serial Monogamist
This isn’t flattering, I know, but some men are serial monogamists, moving from one long-term relationship to another. He may miss the stability and comfort of being married and may be looking for a relationship just to catch that vibe again.
It can be hard to spot a guy like this because you want a relationship too, and here’s a guy who seems keen to settle down with you. But if you don’t feel a 100% connection or things just seem off, despite him wanting to dedicate more and more time to you, realize that he may just want his next relationship, regardless of whether you’re the right fit or not.
9. He May Just Be Looking for a Warm Body
The converse is true, too. He may be on the opposite end of the spectrum, looking for nothing more than casual sex. After all, he was in a relationship for years or even decades. Now he’s ready to play!
If you’re aligned with this, then good luck to you. But if you’re hoping that your weekly hookups turn into a relationship, I’m going to say that you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. Find a man (divorced or otherwise) who is ready to commit to you.
10. He’s (Probably) a Responsible Human Being
If you’ve dated men who live in bachelor pads that look like they probably did 20 years ago…
…men who can’t cook anything other than ramen…
…and men who run at the first sign of emotional intimacy…
…you’ll be delighted at what you get when dating a divorced man. He knows how to set up autopay for his bills. He can make a mean chicken cordon bleu. He’s on track to retire early. He can even French braid his daughter’s hair.
This guy may restore your faith in men simply because he is one. He’s not a manchild or Peter Pan. He takes responsibility for his actions. He knows how to communicate in a relationship, open the door for his lady, and admit when he’s wrong.
Whether you’re divorced yourself or have just kissed a lot of the wrong frogs over the past few decades, remember what you’re looking for as you’re dating a divorced man.
“Be sensitive to your own needs, as well as his needs. It’s very, very important to keep in mind that you count as well as his needs,” Ann wisely says.
He may take more patience and effort than you expect, so make sure he’s truly worth it. Because trust me: you definitely are worth patiently waiting for the right guy for you!
Talk to me in the comments below: are you dating a divorced man? What issues or concerns have come up for you? What benefits have you seen?
ok Adam,here it goes’s.im still married.but cannot get out if it.im married to an (OLD MAN).but the kicker is my ex husbands lives with us.NO KICKY stuff.both are disable.i’ve been in a relationship for 5yrs.with a man.he had been married for a few years i’ve ask him some about it he says she ran around on him with his best friend.then lived with another women for 12yrs.i ask what happened,he said he come home from work and she was crazy screaming cusing and he never really new what happened.i told him women don’t just do that without a reason.of course… Read more »
Do what is the bottom line here?
Are there any guys out there that do want to get married? And how do you find that type of guy? Please advice how to weed out these emotional unavailable guys and weed in the ones that are ready without having to waste a lot of time
He seems ready for the relationship, he talks about getting married and having kids together, but he argues all the time. About little things. I try to have fun little conversations with him but they spin off into arguements. I asked him about his dreams and and he said a big truck, a boat, and a family. I delved into the question of is the truck bigger or is the boat bigger and he got angry and arguementative. I don’t know what I did wrong to cause this. He says I am one tracked minded. That the world is just… Read more »
I hope you got away from that man. He definitely was not ready – and may never be. Why invite that negativity into your life with open arms?
Well. Composed! My initial take before I read thought was…why isn’t there one about a
Woman who is divorced..( as in Moi) but this covered s many facets.. I was impressed.
I must admit in my 60s Online dating for the first time,,,my preference for appreciative dates is a widower.nd. I refuse to consider or even “ converse “ with when approached an man who in his 60s has never been married…
Find your female separated at birth to write OUR list of ten… a mixture of Mimi Tanner and Susan Bratton would be my casting choice!
I’m dating a married men. The only challenge I have is that is the hatred he has for his wife. He hasn’t forgiven her. They are not in talking terms. I have spoken to him and asked him to forgive her without her apology. He just doesn’t want any peace with her. Other than that everything is well.
My 2 year “relationship” with a 3 time divorced man is tumultuous at best. We are up and down and all over the place but when it’s good, it’s good. It has taken lots of patience and perseverance and I can’t say it’s even been worth it. He’s got all the qualities I love but has a fear of intimacy and commitment because of the 3 failed marriages which mostly lasted 2-3 years each. When we hit 2 years, he began to change fighting the “relationship” . I use quotations because he doesn’t want a relationship, never did. I myself… Read more »
I have been dating a separated man, for 6 years. He doesn’t want to break up but he only sees me when it is suited for him. He will call once a week if I’m lucky, message a copy and paste “good morning, have a good day” He is secretive about his life and when I ask he gets all defensive about his privacy, his life etc. His ex wife is about 6years older than him, he says he is traumatised, he has been to psychologist and he claims that he gets anxious and has panic attacks when put in… Read more »
I understand fully what you going thru my dear.
More time being together is important . And getting to know his children is very important too.
Psychotherapy I recommend.
Smile,,laugh,,be talkitve and keep yourself busy.
I am separated too.
I met a guy on a dating website. Divorced 15 years with a 17 year old daughter. Have texted all day every day. He initiated most times. We occasionally talk on the phone too but texting is more convenient for me. He has been very attentive, caring, shared things, asks for advice on his health, his daughter, etc. He randomly sends me pictures of where he is at the moment. We went out once had a great time. Made out but nothing further. We went on separate vacations and texted the entire time. We got together again when I got… Read more »
I’m seeing a man in the process of getting a divorce. It is over between them and he was very honest with me about why they are getting divorced. We met a few months after their initial separation and at first it was just fun between us but it flourished into something else. Neither of us expected it and we weren’t trying to make something of it but it just happened and we both recognized it. He actually brought up the fact that our interactions have been becoming more serious and that our relationship is becoming serious. He admitted to… Read more »
I’m in the same boat. Met a guy in the middle of his divorce and things just clicked. We both talk about our meeting being something the write in books. But month later, as his divorce came to an end, he became more depressed and distant. Now we are almost 6 months in (2 months post final divorce), and he tells me he loves me but he’s still struggling with the emotions of his divorce, which I can understand. He wasn’t the one who initiated the divorce. Today he told me he needs time to be a better man and… Read more »
My situation is trickier, he & I have known each other for 29 years..(when we were 19/20, we ran in same crowd)…he & I didn’t get along @ first but became close fwb for a while. Then the 9 of us…went our separate ways…& lives. I haven’t seen him in 13 years. He sent me a friend request on fb out of the blue last week. When it popped up, it made me realize that I had missed the comfortable camaraderie, great conversations and fun/laughs we had. I’m Aquarius, he’s Cancer/Leo Cusp (both being head strong) we’ve had our clashes… Read more »
Hmmm. Met my partner and got together nearly 4 years ago; he’d been separated from his wife for a year and a bit, but not long enough to get divorced. She left him for another guy and get cried and talked to me about it. I listened and validated his feelings. They got divorced and he and I bought a house together (along with my young daughter from a previous relationship). We now have another child together and our relationship us amazing! We’re definitely soul mates and have both thought that from the beginning. I want to get married, and… Read more »
My new boyfriend loves me so incredibly much, he’s smitten, he thinks I hung the moon, I love his 3 pre-teen daughters, and we are eventually going to marry and live together. But I have a couple of issues: He and his daughters are MESSY AF. I almost had a thrombo when I first entered their house, and now, 6 months later, although he has improved considerably, the girls still leave dishes lie about, piles of belongings at the foot of the stairs, and their bedrooms, their bathroom, the second floor landing, and the garage entry look like Haitian storm… Read more »
Sounds like this guy found a good housekeeper and child-care person, with benefits. I would’ve run for the hills if I were you. You are in for years of mistreatment from all three of them.
I’m dating a divorced man for 2years now and I’ve asked him if what’s his plan for the next year and he answered “I don’t know” and he’s not ready to settle down yet because of what happened to his marriage 4 years ago.
I love him and his a good man that’s why I want to marry him in the future but I don’t know how long I’m going to wait. Please advise me on this matter. Thank you!
I’m guessing your boyfriend has children and doesn’t want more (with you). That is the direct question I would ask – not whether marriage is in the near future. If you don’t want children, great, no problem. But if you do, two years is a long time to waste not knowing your future with this man. Ask yourself how long you are willing to wait, and then move on. You may be wasting precious time when other men are finding their future wives – only for you to be left with this man who does not even know what he… Read more »
Great read!! Thank you! Tons of insight. I have been here & it is very challenging. Waiting & hoping someone will eventually reach my current reality I feel is too HUGE a risk!! My age may be part of it. 61 NOT PERFECT, NOT expecting perfect! Just honesty, effort, integrity and the desire.to share, build, grow. Thank you for ALL your incredible work, research, videos & programs. : )