You probably never thought you’d find yourself here: dating someone who’s already had a failed marriage. But sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Just because a man is divorced doesn’t mean he’s damaged goods. It doesn’t even mean he won’t be a great partner.
Although divorce rates have gone down in recent years, they’re still fairly common. There are plenty of reasons why his marriage didn’t work out. Try to reserve judgement, because divorces happen. Your main goal is not to get involved, especially if things are still being finalized.
To better prepare you, here are eight common things you might encounter, when you’re dating your dating a divorced man.
1. He’s still responsible for his kids.
As he should be. Children don’t have a say in their parents’ marital status, and it’d be a big loss for them to miss on time with dad. You’ll always come second to the kids, and you’ll need to respect that. You should also know that may not be looking for another mom. Only provide him what he asks for if you’re comfortable with it and if he asks for it.
Also, don’t take offense if he doesn’t introduce you until your relationship is more established. Also, pay attention to how he treats his children. It’ll offer insight into how he treats the people important to him.
2. There may be emotional baggage.
Depending on how the marriage ended, he may be carrying emotional weight. Try to respect his sensitivities and offer help where you’re comfortable and when you feel it’s appropriate. Make sure to set healthy boundaries as needed. Certain things can only be worked through with a professional. Make sure not to let him feel shame if he needs to start seeking professional help.
3. There might be remnants of his marriage in the way he acts now.
If he’s still in the home they shared, there might be leftover mementos, especially if he’s been too emotional to pack them up. These little pieces of the marriage may sneak their way into your relationship, and it’s important to respect the amount of time required for him to heal, but also speak up when you feel it’s appropriate.
4. It’ll be harder for you to meet the family.
Meeting your significant other’s family is difficult no matter what. If you’re the first girlfriend after a previous marriage, there may be a little more pressure than usual. If his ex wasn’t liked by his family, you’ll have an advantage. Usually, after a divorce, the emotional bruising extends beyond the boundaries of the couple. It may take his family some time to process the divorce as well. Don’t if this relationship marker takes a little longer than normal.
5. Your own family might have a lot of questions.
They’re probably looking for a little gossip, but they’re also looking out for you. They’re just making sure that the marriage didn’t fall apart because of abuse or neglect. All eyes will be on him, and you may be subject to hearing all of your family members’ judgements, right or wrong. With any luck, they’ll warm up to him, and the divorce will become a distant memory. Hopefully, they’ll be a lot more comfortable around him after a few visits, and the divorce will take a backseat as it should.
6. The first year will bring a lot of comparisons.
Friends and family think they’re doing it to help support your divorced boyfriend, but it’ll drive you crazy after a week or two. In the position you’re in, sometimes people forget that you’re a living and breathing human independent of your new wonderful boyfriend, who happens to be divorced. Friends and family are usually trying to be supportive, not realizing how awkward they’re making it. Let his family get to know you, and prove to them that you’re more than just a replacement.
7. You may be tempted to look her up on social media.
You want to know everything about her, especially what she looks like and what she’s up to. It’s natural, but don’t do it. The second you start obsessing, you’re entering dangerous territory. What they had is over—you have to do your part to let it be over. It’ll be hard for him to put her in the past if you’re still checking her pages every day. You may be tempted to ask him questions about her, but unless the questions are practical it’s going to come off as insecurity, which may be something that you’ll need to discuss.
8. You’ll have to have a lot of patience.
He may be tempted to take your relationship a little slower than you’d expect, especially if he was really burned by his ex-wife. The best kind of girl for a divorced guy is one that isn’t pushing for marriage in the near future. If it happens, that’s great. But if not, you know that it doesn’t reflect on you. The two of you need to be on the same page about this. If not, you’ll find yourself unfulfilled after years of partnership.
Even if the relationship ended years ago, dating a divorced man comes with a bunch of new challenges that wouldn’t come with other partnerships. It’s up to you to decide whether or not your new boyfriend is truly ready to move on and find love again. If he is, he may very well be the best boyfriend you’ve ever had.