The older you get, the more likely it is that you’ll end up dating a divorcée. While this may seem like an odd thing to consider or proof of yet another failed marriage, it’s important to focus on the positive aspects of the situation.
For instance, dating a guy who’s been previously married proves that he has the ability and willingness to commit to one person. More so, it’s also a sign that he knows what he wants in a relationship.
But before you jump the gun and swoop up your newly divorced man, here are some things you should think about before dating someone who’s still handling their split:
#1. You’ll have to time it right.
When it comes to dating someone who’s going through a divorce, timing is everything. In fact, you may even be surprised of how much of a difference even a few months can make.
Getting involved with a guy who’s in the early stages of divorce is a lot tougher than getting involved with someone who is nearly finished with the process. Since he will experience a ton of emotions while dealing with the divorce, it’ll be harder for him to start a new, healthy relationship with you.
As much as he may think he’s ready to move on, chances are the separation is going to be tougher than he imagined. Simply put, if the timing is off, the relationship isn’t going to work.
#2. You’ll need to be secure enough to hear ALL about the ex (good AND bad).
No one enjoys hearing their partner talk about their ex, but if your guy is going through a divorce, then chances are you’re going to hear about them. A lot.
As much as it can be an overwhelming or awkward experience, try putting yourself in his shoes. If you were going through a life-altering event, you’d probably want to talk about it with him as well.
In this case, the best thing you can do is listen to what he shares with you and then move on. Don’t over-analyze what he tells you, or get stressed when he seems focused on his ex. It might seem like she is always at the forefront of his mind, but try to look at the bigger picture and consider the situation at hand. Also, try to avoid overindulging in conversations about his ex or the divorce; you don’t want your man to mistake you for a therapist.
#3. You’ll have to avoid bringing up questions about his ex.
It’s natural to be curious about your partner’s past, but now is no time to go digging for details. Avoid asking questions about his ex or stalking the two of them on social media. He will tell you what he wants you to know about him/her, and may leave out particular details until he’s feeling more comfortable discussing them.
Remember, your man is trying to move ON from this person, so constantly reminding him of his ex isn’t a good idea. Maybe, in the future, you can get him to hash out the details, but for now, leave it be.
#4. You’ll have to resist rushing things along.
At this point in his life, it may be tough for him to fully open up to you — and that’s something you just have to accept right now. Your man is on an emotional roller coaster and his guard is probably way up. It’s important to respect his feelings and be understanding when he’s distant.
Be willing to move at a slower pace with him, even encourage it. You don’t want him rushing something with you to make up for what he’s just lost. Instead, take your time, test the waters. If it’s going to work between you, build a solid foundation before getting too deep.
#5. You’ll probably feel out of place with his friends and family.
The thing with dating someone who’s going through divorce is that you’re the new one in the picture, so there may be consequences for it. Considering the fact that he was previously married, his friends and family all know his ex. If those people liked him/her, then you may feel unwelcome or unaccepted.
Don’t get offended. As much as you may feel like all these new people are judging you, chances are they’re just being protective over their loved one. They know what he’s been through, and they don’t want to see him hurt again.
Give it time. If you stick around long enough, they will warm up to you.
#6. You’ll probably have to meet his ex.
If he and his ex have children, pets, or other shared responsibilities together, chances are you’ll cross paths with the ex at some point. This will, without a doubt, be a REALLY awkward experience, but when it happens, it’s important to be friendly and polite.
Depending on how and why the marriage ended, you may find that his ex is still very bitter about the situation. If that’s the case, this person probably won’t be a huge fan of you. Even if the ex is rude or belittling to you, be civil and pleasant. You may want to stoop to the same level, but being the bigger person will make the situation easier on the guy you like, and he’ll appreciate you for it.
On the other hand, if his ex is absolutely wonderful, don’t become best friends, either. That’s just going to make things uncomfortable for all of you.
#7. You’ll have to ask him to be COMPLETELY honest with you.
Chances are, he isn’t going to openly tell you when he randomly misses his ex, or that the divorce is hurting him. Be a good partner and encourage him to be completely honest with you. Let him know that he can share his feelings, free of judgment.
Giving your partner the opportunity to express himself will do wonders for your relationship. As I mentioned before, it’s important to avoid the therapist role, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t tell you when he’s having a hard day. Being a compassionate confidant won’t go unnoticed.
#8. You’ll have to step aside once in a while and let him handle things on his own.
When dating a guy who’s going through a divorce, the most important thing to do is keep your eyes open and your expectations in check. There’s a lot going on in his life right now, so expect him to be busy with court dates, lawyer meetings and other responsibilities he may have from his previous marriage.
Make yourself aware of the facts of the relationship. For example, if he has kids, know his schedule for seeing them. If you go into your relationship hoping for spontaneous weekend rendezvous but his Saturdays are filled with running kids from soccer to piano, then you’re going to be disappointed.
Remember, as tough as it can be to date someone going through a divorce, your partner may also be having a hard time adjusting. Do your best to be kind and considerate.