The older we get, the more inevitable it's going to be we date people who already have a marriage behind their belt. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it proves they were — and therefore likely still are — able to really commit to someone. Still, there are some things to be wary of, and just like everything else in life, timing is everything; it can play a larger factor when dating someone going through a divorce; even a couple of months can make all the difference in the world.
If you take only one thing away from this story, let it be this: If the timing is off, don't try to force it. No matter how great the guy or gal is. If the timing isn't right, it just won't work. In any relationship, you can't force someone to be ready for something when they're not, as frustrating as that is. I've been there. I'm sure a lot of us have. And before you ask yourself, how will I know if he or she is ready? Trust me, you'll know.
Now of course, not everyone going through a divorce is a lost cause — Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger even calls divorced men the best kept secret. But even they have some traits you should go ahead and just expect. The trick with some of these are the levels. There's a difference between being hurt and not ready to move on.
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Here are the 10 things you need to know.
1. He/She May Talk About Their Ex
Think of it this way, in every relationship, you eventually talk about exes — this one just may be a bit more, well, significant. You'll want to get it out there in the beginning. Let he or she do the talking, listen attentively, and then do your best to move on from there. Don't over indulge in these sessions because you DO NOT want double as his/her therapist, and this is an easy role to fall into. You're not getting a high (or any) hourly rate for this.
2. Don't Bring Up The Ex Yourself
It's inevitable you'll be curious about this ex. How can you not be? He or she was married to your current significant other for Pete's sake! Don't let your curiosity get the best of you here. This means: no stalking him/her on social media, and no peppering your new love interest with questions about the ex. Remember, he or she is attempting to move on, so you certainly don't want to be the one making that harder for him or her. When it comes to bringing up the ex, always be on the receiving end.
3. Be Prepared To Move Slow
Chances are, this person has been burned. Their may be guard may be up. Breaking down those walls could be a long, tough process, but it's possible. Just be willing to move a slower pace, and take your time when getting to know this person. This works in your favor, too. There's something to be said for taking your time in a relationship, and this will allow you to potentially build a solid, trusting foundation. Or, find out if it's a total bust.
4. The Parents May Be Against You ... At First
Don't be offended if the parents don't exactly welcome you with open arms at first. Their baby has been hurt, and they're going to be extra protective him/her for, well, a long long while. It may take them a little longer to warm up to you, but if you've met them at all, you're clearly on the right path.
5. That Goes For Friends, Too
Big ditto on the friends here. Friends are family, and oftentimes they can be even more protective over a hurt friend because they received the unedited version of how this divorce went down (let's be honest, often parents don't get the full play-by-play for their own good.). They saw it all, and they don't want to see it again. It's possible you don't meet them for a while for this reason, because even your new significant other knows they will pepper you with questions like you're on a second interview.
6. You'll Probably Have To Interact With The Ex At Some Point
For me, this was because of the dog my ex and his ex-wife used to share. Every other week, they would hand-off the dog like it was a small child, during which she and I would make polite but totally forced small talk in the apartment they once shared together. This was never not weird. If there are actual kids involved in this former union, well that's an entire — and far more complex —story.
7. There Are Far Less Games
One of the best things about dating someone who is divorced, is there are far less games. Odds are this person knows exactly what he or she is looking for in a relationship, and will be very honest about it. If they're not ready? They'll tell you. Overall, you won't ever be guessing how this person feels or where you stand, because this will almost always be forthcoming information. Remember: They don't want to waste their time either.
8. He/She Will Be Very, Um, Experienced
We're not just talking about sex, but oh wow is this a major perk. More often than not, former married people have tried it all in the bedroom because they lived in the "we're comfortable, so we can say what we really like phase" for, well, a long time. In other words, they've graduated from the prestigious "How to really please a partner" college, and you get to be the lucky benefactor of this degree.
9. They'll Have High Expectations
This person believes in love. He or she has been fully immersed in it, and he or she won't take anything less than the real thing. In fact, the real thing may even have to be an extra level of mind blowing for them to go down that path again. But we know you have that in ya!
Images: Adam Kuśmierz/Flickr; Giphy