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When is a Divorced Man Ready For a New Love?

Just about anyone we date is going to have some kind of relationship history, no one is a blank slate. But, as Mary wants to know, how does a man’s recent divorce figure into your dating picture?

I’ve been dating a man who’s been divorced for one year and has two children from his previous marriage. I care for him and we seem to have a great connection but I’m not always his priority. I’m ready to get married and have children, but I worry that he may want to play the field for a while. Am I wasting my time? How long should a man be divorced before he is ready for a significant relationship? Thank you in advance for your help!

Dating someone who’s recently divorced can present some challenges. Typically, men who’ve been separated or divorced for only a year or two aren’t looking to walk down the aisle right away. They need time, regardless of who ended the marriage, and especially if there are children involved.

You wouldn’t want a man who rushes right back into another marriage immediately after a divorce, would you? That’s a recipe for disaster! The more time away from the divorce, the better.

You say you’re ready to get married and start a family, so you need ask him if he sees this for himself in the near future. Timing is indeed everything and unfortunately, love alone is not enough.

However, there’s a bigger issue here. It’s that you don’t feel like a priority in his life. My advice is to look at that first. What good is it to marry him if you’re not important to him right now? Don’t be fooled into thinking that a wedding day fixes anything. All you should focus on is how you are being treated and loved right now. Today.

(By the way, even if a man is recently divorced, that doesn’t necessarily mean he has the need to go out and play the field. It depends on when he got married. Some men really loved being married, and they do want it again, maybe just not right now.)

Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to decide what your personal goals are, and if this man is on the same page as you are. Don’t be afraid to speak up! The question to ask him is not about whether he sees a future with you, it’s about seeing what he feels ready for in general — with any woman.

I appreciate your question Mary. I know so many women go through this so if you’re reading this blog and have your own stories or questions, I would love to read your comments. Have you found that men need more time after divorce than women? Please share!

And don’t forget, if you want to invest in your own readiness for love, you can sign up to be notified when we open registration for my Smart Sexy Soulful Dating™ course! Just getting on the list will give you access to some amazing and transformative information! You can get on the list here. We’re starting soon and I don’t want you to miss out!

Your friend in love,

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31 Responses to “When is a Divorced Man Ready For a New Love?”

  1. gullible says:

    I dated a man a year after my divorce, he was recently divorced and was separated over a year before when I met him. It clicked right away, like soulmates., When he started feeling like he was in love he had to break up, bit came back a few days later. This happened twice. Well, he said there was something about me and he really really likes me, and wanted to see where it would go. But he was mad at himself cause he stated he didn’t want anything serious, just to date. He wasn’t ready to get married. I should have taken his words in the beginning and not dated him. Even though we were inseparable and everything was clicking and all the motions and everything except the commitment. He did signs about him ready to commit. When it came down to 7months later, after he made me think it was getting more serious, I thought I was going to get a proposal at Christmas. No. He was so overwhelmed with his feelings for MW he broke it off, needed a break. He even told me he felt like he was wanting to get married and he didn’t want that. He wanted to be single and date as many woman as he could. So, when they tell you their intentions in the beginning and its not what you want, then don’t waste your time with a man who acts like prince charming when they really are a toad.

  2. kayla says:

    Hi, I am with a man that’s 10 years older than me. When we first met he had just recently got a divorce. We moved into together after 3months of dating. Then we got a surprise I found out 2months after that I was pregnant. Our child is 2 months old. We have been together 1year and 6months. He asked to marry me and then backed now it’s all excuses why we can’t get married! ! Why did he ask me in the first place and get my hopes up??? Please Help Me -p.s Confused and pissed

  3. Cindy says:

    I just got dumped by a man going through a divorce. We were together for a year. I went through his ups and downs and even took him back after he tried to reconciliate with his ex 6 months ago. The last few months he said he needed space. Im not sure I gave him enough. He has been staying with friends and family the last few months but recently (1 week ago) i helped him move in to his own place. He’s still going through the divorce. His ex is making it pretty nasty. Using his two very young kids as ammunition. Well 2 days ago out of the blue he tells me he doesn’t want a relationship at all. He said he doesn’t want to repeat history. He hung up the phone and I haven’t heard from him since. I tried texting and calling but it’s total silence on his end. Im devastated and hurt. I know now that I will never ever date a guy going through a divorce. He said he wanted to marry me and that he wished I was the one he married. I think he said that only out of the years of loneliness he spent in his 6 year marriage. I learned a valuable lesson, learned the hard way. Im not sure I will ever hear from him again. Maybe it’s for the best. I’ve never been married and don’t have any kids. After seeing what he and his ex went through this last year im not sure I would ever go that route in my life. The only thing im left here wondering is will I ever hear from him again. I can deal with him saying goodbye but he didn’t say goodbye he just broke up with me said we would be friends and just like that silence. I feel like there was no closure. so wondering will I ever hear from him again….

    • kayla says:

      It’s because he still in Love with his ex wife he wants her back. That’s the only reason. And the other stuff he’s telling you is bs he just marking excuses for him self! My advice is move on to someone else that appreciates you more or enjoy being on your own for awhile. Get a hobby or make future goals to better yourself

  4. Emma says:

    I’m “dating” a recently divorced man with a young child and I am too recently divorced. We have great chemistry and seem to be a great match. My Family lives in another country and the only reason I am staying in this country is that I’m utterly devoted to making it work with him. He says that he’s not worth staying for and that he is not ready for a committed relationship but has said that there is no way I cannot be in his life. I think he loves me but after the failure of his marriage has a few emotions still to work through. When a man says he’s not worth it but can’t loose you what does this mean? It’s really contradictory. What does he mean? Should I say or go?

    • Cindy says:

      The guy I dated for a year said that to me 2 months before he dumped me. Sounds like he isn’t ready for something serious. Pleas don’t put your life on hold. I did that and well the quality of my life hit rock bottom than he dumped me just at that moment. If he cannot be there emotionally for you than im afraid the guilt of him knowing he can’t give you more will eventually ruin any friendship you have. My advice don’t let it get to that point. Don’t put your life on hold. Continue living yours and let him come to you when he’s ready. If he never does than no harm done. Look at my story. I not only lost someone I loved but I lost a friend too.

  5. RJ says:

    April – I waited the two years before dating after divorcing at 52 — I picked the first woman I thought I was compatible with, and regardless of all the signs that told me I had picked the wrong one; slept with me on the 2nd date, her ex and even her kids and her neighbors all had bad things to say about her; I still wanted to believe I made the right choice. I was grossly negligent in my love life although I was a perfectionist in other areas of my life. Regardless of what my intuition told me, I over-road it with my “wanting it to work” and it was a disaster. I screwed up and I’m paying for it now. Two years out of dating should have told me to look and be careful but it just left me chomping at the bit and I screwed up badly. I played professional sports, have two advanced degrees and even did some print work and commercials so one would think I would be discerning and picky yet I was stupid. I was girlfriend – deprived, and I believed in fairy-tails of love and even though she was somewhat attractive and even wrote to you and asked for your help several times you never contacted her. I’m falling on the sword and saying that even when everyone around me told me I was making a serious error, I went for it and eventually died (metaphorically speaking). A blind-man could have given me the advice that I should have taken. I wasted almost a year of my life, and your article depicts my mistakes. I am humbled by the errors in my thinking.

    Regardless of what I want in life, I have to see what I have in life and live with it or go for something better. I screwed up and at now 54-years of age it is a bit embarrassing to admit I have the mind of a teenager (when it comes to romance).

    • Ann says:

      Bless you, I am 40 separated for 3 years and still making major errors. I totally get what you mean, but don’t put yourself down. People with trusting hearts like yours easily get hurt.

      • April Beyer says:

        Thank you Ann. You may not be making major “errors” but simply going through your process and evolution. Be kind to yourself!

  6. Lupe says:

    Is a newly divorced man with no kids ready to move in with another woman and start hard with the new woman? After four marriages.

  7. Lynn says:

    I met an amazing man in Novemeber 2012. He was just newly seperated after 20 years of marriage (she cheated) has four kids all still in school. I have been married twice I have two children to my first marriage and now my children are young adults and do not require much of my time, I am very ready for a serious relationship and want to be with my friend, He and I have become so close conversation and connection is there. March of 2013 we became intimate it was wonderful things felt so great then all of a sudden in July he was feeling as if I was waiting and felt bad because he did not want to hurt me and emotions were getting away. Neither of us wanted to stop our friendship and I could not see not speaking so I am being patient just not sure where we are headed. His divorce is very nasty , he has put his children first which I would expect nothing more, I have been there. The level of honesty and respect is something that I have never experienced before in a relationship. This only makes me want hime more especially when he cares about my feelings and says he wants to protect what we have. We are still very close today and I have given space and I am being patient. Right now things are very plutonic and I am not sure if that means that we are just going to be friends. I do not think that I will be able to be just friends. I have connected in everyway with this man sprirtitualy emotionally and physically. We are so much on the same page of what a relationship should be I want to wait for him but how long do I wait? I feel like I should wait forever. The Spiritural connection of reading daily devontional over the phone did it for me, I feel like I have to wait. Letting things happen naurtually is okay? I miss touching and kissing him. His divorce is still in motion May 2014 is a trial date. How long after that do I continue to be patient I want to forever friends say that is ridiculous… I dont feel it is?
    He has become my Best Friend in everyway. No I love you’s have been said but in so many ways we have noted how we feel about each other. I dont want a broken heart . I know he knows I love him. We spend time togehter, when he does not have his kids ( I have not met them yet) I am okay with that married 20 years , doesnt want to confuse them anymore than they are already youngest child is 9 oldest is 17. Makes me want him even more.
    I have faith in him. Our time is limited but he calls, texts, emails,

  8. Io says:

    This has nothing to do with divorce, but the advice April gives in this post about needing to feel like a high priority is spot on! I’m old enough now (35) to recognize when a man I’m dating isn’t putting me as high enough priority — and I’m very understanding about work and family obligations. But when I mention it gently that I see a pattern and it may wind up being a problem, and he doesn’t make the effort so then after a month I point out a specific example… By specific example, I mean him staying 2 hours late at a party with not-close friends instead of meeting up with me at the time we’d agreed… Well, if he doesn’t “get it” then and change his priorities: No thanks, moving on!

  9. Christi says:

    Great article! Shellie hit the nail on the head.. each man is different and you must rely on your “gut’ to help decipher each dating situation. I just recently broke up with a man who has been divorced for 2 years. He pursued me even though my inner voice told me to stay away. He seemed wonderful at first… attentive, romantic, affectionate etc… but as the months went by, he became more & more preoccupied with his ex’s life. I ended it, but he was relentless about giving him another chance, telling me all this nonsense about how he’s never connected with anyone like me before, I’m the only good thing in his life, etc…. Stupidly, I gave him another chance, even though my gut was screaming “no, no , no!!”. Needless to say, it did not end well. A month after the reconciliation, he called me to say “Thanks, but I’m still not in a good place, I need to heal & take car of me….I have feelings for you, but I don’t want to get hurt again.” Sheesh….. I would have saved myself from a lot of heartache & drama if I had only listened to my inner voice in the first place! Never doubt the power & accuracy of female intuition!

  10. Kelly says:

    I have been dating a man for almost 2 years. I am the first woman he has dated since his divorce (he didn’t want) recently he asked that we take a brake for 6 months to focus on our own lives (both of us arnt working much, when we first were dating we both had full-time jobs) We have the best relationship I have ever had (I believe the same for him too) our only struggle is blending the kids. I have 4 and he has 2. The kids seem to get along great as long as they are doing something outside the house, other wise its all kids of fighting and yelling. I also have 2 difficult children. 1 just hit puberty and has all the emotional outburst that go with it and the other is ADHD and has a defiant disorder (possible bi-poler too) this is also become a lot for him to handle. Even though we are on this “brake” we still talk every night, we are still make love, and the only thing that has seemed to change is that we don’t see each other as much as we use to. He has told me that he doesn’t want to find someone else to date but if a woman approached him he might consider taking her out. I guess there is a few questions. Is there a good way to try to blend a family?, Can brakes ever have a good ending? (I haven’t know anyone who has taken a brake) (he wants the brake for about 6 months) I want to marry this man but he tells me he “dosen’t know what the future holds” should I see this as a red flag? I feel that he is being cautious because he was so hurt by his ex wife. She is a nurse and left him for another man that works in the same hospital. (I’m going to school for medical stuff and have plans to be a nurse) any advice would help. thank you

    • Vicki says:

      Rebounds seldom work, the relationship gets judged by the past.

    • Cece says:

      Hi Cindy,

      I’m just seeing this blog but wanted to comment that it sounds a bit as if you’re giving and he’s pulling away. He said he would consider dating another woman, that for me means he’s phasing out of your relationship. Why would he consider dating another woman if he wants only you?? Also I think he may have been initially drawn to you as you’re profession is similar to that of his wife whom he didn’t want to leave. Sounds like hes more than willing to continue sleeping with you..making love as you put it. I think he’s getting to have his cake and eat it too. You have to look out for your best interest. If he wants to take a break you will also have to take a complete break that includes being with him and offering yourself and your heart to him. Sounds as if you might want to start planning your life without him. I’m really sorry because you sound like a genuinely loving woman. This would be a great time for you to focus on the needs of your children too. If he really loves you, values you & realizes there is no one better out there for him then he should select you, only you.

  11. Erika says:

    I met a man last year in July who was going through a divorce. He has 2 kids and I have 3. He and I have traveled the same cirlce but never talked prior to this visit so our kids knew each other well. We started dating and within 2 months had said I love you and were discussing future plans. I have been divorced for 5 years and knew that the first year is the toughest with going through everything as a single parent for the first time. Christimas, birthdays, first sick kid everything. I expressed my concern and he still said he had never felt this way for someone and felt we were soul mates. After Thanksgiving he started to freak out a little and backed up alot and by the beginning of December we had broke up. It broke my heart because I had never fallen for someone so hard. In January we talked a little and hung out once or twice but he was still struggling with this so I continued to do my own thing. This past weekend he was up north and when he came back I met him and his kids for dinner. It was great to see them and he seems to be trying again and I couldn’t be happier about that but still scared that it won’t work. All I can do is hope for the best and continue my life and be patient. I remember that time in my life all too well and know he cares for me very much but is afraid of what will be. I figure at this point my feelings have not changed for him at all and if we are moving very slow and its meant to be it will be in the end.

  12. E says:

    I have several comments regarding this question having gone through a divorce myself.
    1. There are very very few absolutes, especially with human beings. One person may be ready much sooner than someone else. And evaluating a connection/relationship based on similar values and lifestyles is a much better measurement than whether both people are divorced or not, etc. For example, I have met men without kids who are awesome with kids, and have met men WITH kids who are not good with kids at all.
    3. From my experience, I can say that men and women who establish healthy attachment in a relationship, regardless of who ended it, will likely need time to recover from a marriage. It was hard for me to let go of the emotional bond and the commitment, and while I believe that is a good sign in terms of future commitments, I am certain that my decisions shortly after were compromised. At the time, I felt like I was being completely rational. That is the most dangerous part. I could verbally justify my decisions, and didn’t see any difference between who I was for that time period, and who I have been the rest of my adult life. I remember my justification was that I like the family dynamic, I like how it feels to do the things I enjoy and share them, so why not start that as soon as possible? I had plenty of arguments to convince myself that I was being reasonable. My big red flag was that I seemed to be in a hurry. And with the right person, there is no justification to rush.

    • Linda says:

      Hi E,
      You are right! There is no justification to rush into marriage. But may I add that women are natural bonders and are always, by nature, relationship ready. As a mature woman, your strongest natural instinct is to mate. Know this and never doubt who you are or your decisions when it comes to love again.

  13. Debra says:

    I found a guy who was amazing. This guy had 5 kids and me too total of 10. This man had been divorced for 4 years. We shared alot of coversation before meeting in person. We lived in same state yet different cities. I was a college student he on a disability. I would go visit him by bus which took me 2 1/2 hrs there then of course back.He came to see me once. After seeing him 6 months and noticing he had more interest in his kids than for us. I stopped seeing him then asked when he would come see me, his answer always was I don’t know. Then during our phone conversations I would pay attention to how he came up for money for his kids yet never to come see me. I had taken our kids to the beach for the weekend , bought for him and took them to movies. I got to know his family but he never knew my family. He had met two of my kids I met all of his. I finally confronted him and shared my thoughts only in returned for him to shut down. He kept calling me and I asked why and said its confusing to me. I accepted him being poor and his other issues of anxieties. Anyways it came to light my gut feeling he was not ready he just wanted his needs met. Men will not be honest it seems they will use women say anything to seem sincere and honest yet in the end I have become like a rights of passage. I asked all the questions and said honesty and communication is important. I was patient and never a bitch. He wanted to work things out but didnt want to be boyfriend girlfriend because he said once bitten twice shy. What? I am the one bitten lied to and decieved. I felt once again emotionally raped. then he says lets date lol yeah right he won’t come visit me he has a car so how are we supposed to date/ lmao luckily he never called again and I definetly never called him

    • Linda says:

      Hi Debra,
      You are better off in the long run ending the relationship for whatever it was worth. But in this man’s defense I must explain something that you might not of been aware of while pursuing a relationship with this guy.

      You mention that this man had 5 kids and you also have 5 kids. You also mentioned that he was on disability and that you are in college. To any guy in his situation dating a woman in your situation I can understand why he didn’t really want to commit to a serious relationship.

      When it comes to being in a relationship with a woman, men by nature, seek to be Providers, Protectors & Lovers. Being a provider and protector to you and your kids he couldn’t give to you, so he settle for just being your lover. Understanding men and their nature is the key to dating and finding the right man for you and your children.

  14. Shellie says:

    I am 40 years old and have been divorced for 11 years, hate to admit that I have had a lot of experience dating both the recently divorced and men that have been divorced for years. From my experience it is not about the time they have been divorced but whether or not they are at the same place in their life that you are in yours. I have met recently divorced men who spent the last few years of the marriage alone (and yes it is possible even in a marriage) and so they are ready to move forward. And then there are the recently divorced who liked being married and don’t know how to be single and are immediately looking to get married again. I’ve also met men who have been divorced for 6, 7, 8 years that even though they don’t necesarily like being alone they are content with their singledom and do not want to have the commitment or responsibilities of a partner. So to me it really just depends on the man and where they’re at in their life more than a number of years.

    • Linda says:

      Hi Shellie,

      Your experence with the kinds of divorced men you’d dated is not uncommon. What every man either divorced or single needs and looks for in a relationship with a woman is: Sex, Comfort & Companionship.

  15. Vida says:

    I agree with Linda. It takes AT LEAST 3-5 years for a man to get over a divorce. And I feel that it takes about the same for woman as well. If anyone has ever went through a divorce, you would experience “numb”, no ability to feel, in the first year. Then, in the 2nd year, you start to be able to cry and realize you may be able to love again. For Mary’s case, I believe that Mary helps him to realize that he is still capable to feel love and share love to her. But, it is recovering stage from trauma wound to him. To him, it may seems to early to let anyone come TOO close to his heart eventhough he feels great connection with her because the wound is still fresh and untouchable. It needs more time to heal until it turns to perfect scar. Normally, a divorced man or woman seem not to be ready for next commitment earlier than 3-5 years after a divorce. I, personally, prefer to date divorce men than unmarried men because it feels nice to share life with pro than amatuer. Just my personal preference.

  16. Susan says:

    Four years ago I met an amazing man who was 1 week away from his divorce. We had that connection you speak of. I loved him more than my previous husband of 25 years. Two years later he left me for someone he met in a bar that was covered with tatoos. Last week he broke up with her. I agree with Linda; they need time. I questioned it the very first week we started dating and he said he was ready but he wasn’t. Mary I wish I had listen to my inner guilt, you have it or you wouldn’t be questioning it, but I didn’t and I still love him very much and it has been two years.

  17. Linda says:

    It takes about 3 – 5 years for a man to get over a divorce. Some men divorced a year or two do indeed play the field. Other men only want to be with one woman, but still are not ready for a serious relationship. This is the main reason why you will not be a top priority in his life. Men need time and if you date a man divorced within 1 – 3 years he may not be into you as you would like.

  18. LV says:

    I dated a few divorced guys. Just enough to figure out that dating a divorced man is a total waste of time for a never-married woman. Let the divorced date the divorced. Second marriages have over 80% failure rate. Why would you throw away your marriage by choosing a man who has been divorced? Much better to hedge your bets by only dating unmarried men, imo. The divorce rate for first marriages is high, but not THAT high.

    • sh says:

      if you knew so much lv, maybe you wouldn’t be a never married woman. i find your comments rude and ignorant besides. the divorce rate for 2nd marriages is no where near ‘over 80%’. there is no actually verifiable number available, but somewhere near 60% is the generally accepted number.

      2nd marriages have more challenges to overcome than first marriages, and there are a lot of married people, in their first marriage, who are miserable but refuse to get divorced. people in an unhappy, unfixable marriage who’ve already been through divorce aren’t so afraid of it and can better recognize when to abandon a sinking ship. better happy alone than miserable together.

      of course, the point is to be happy together, and previously divorced people are just as capable of making choices that allow that to happen, that nurture love, as are people who’ve not yet tried like you. in fact, often i think i’d rather be with a divorced man who’s taken the time to look at himself, who has already learned his own shortcomings and is working to take responsibility for them than a man who is untested. just as i know i’m a better person for the growth i’ve experienced out of pain and failure, i have full faith that others can be as well.

      • Cindy says:

        Although I don’t entirely agree that the divorced should date the divorced there is extra difficulties and unfairness with a never married person dating a divorced person. A divorced person has been through the whole ride and sometimes a bitter end. The never married person is yet to experience the good let alone understand the bitter end. I am now dating a divorced man and well I see past wounds still in him, doesn’t help when children remind them of the past. It’s hard for me to undrstand but I try.

    • Vicki says:

      Older men that have not married are not the commitment type. No matter how much you two love each other. Don’t judge a person by divorce I married 3x from being pressured.

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