It is smart to be cautious when dating a person who recently divorced or broke up. The more recently the separation happened the more cautious you should be.
The time it takes to get over a divorce or breakup depends on several factors. These include a person’s personality, the relationship’s health at the end, and the amount of time the couple was together. If there was no love left at the end of the relationship, the person will be able to move on faster.
For me, it takes about three to six months to get over a breakup. For some people, it takes longer. It is extremely rare for a person to get over a breakup in just a few days or weeks.
If you’re dating a person who has not yet completely moved on or healed from a divorce or breakup, this could lead to several problems for you. The same is true if you rebounded into a new relationship before you were ready. In this case, you’ll probably create an unfair burden on the person you’re dating.
Here are some red flags to keep in mind when dating a person who recently divorced or broke up.
- They are clingy. They try to be with you for the same amount of time that a married or committed couple would. They also may try to be physically close to you all the time and overly affectionate. Too much of anything is unhealthy.
- They are depressed. They display sadness, lethargy, and moodiness for long periods. You are under no obligation to be their psychologist or like a lifelong friend.
- They are emotionally fragile. They cry easily. They overreact to the comments you make. For example, you might say, “This soup is not hot enough for me. Could you please warm it up?” They see this request as criticism and become inappropriately angry or sad.
- They are rushing the relationship. They are pushing you to advance the relationship to higher levels of intimacy and commitment. If you feel pressured then the relationship is unhealthy.
- They are giving you husband or wife duties. They are trying to replace their spouse by getting you to assume the responsibilities of a marriage partner. You are not their spouse and you are not obligated to fill in the gap.
- They talk about their ex lovingly. If they are talking affectionately about their ex a lot, they are probably still in love with them. Investing your time and heart with such a person could end in pain for you because the likelihood of them returning to their ex is high.
- They talk about their ex hatefully. A person who is badmouthing their ex could mean several things. All of them are bad. They have not gotten over the painful parts of their prior relationship. They have not taken responsibility for their role in the failure of the relationship. They have a habit of speaking poorly about others, which could happen to you! They have not moved on. If you encounter such a person, I suggest you move on.
- They are still in contact with their ex. They are regularly calling or seeing their ex. They clearly have not let go of each other. The losing party in this threesome could easily be you!
- They are having sex with their ex. They are regularly or periodically having sex with their ex. This is the biggest red flag of all. In a situation like this, not only have they not moved on but there is also a strong possibility that they are having sex with new potential partners as well. In this scenario, the odds of getting an STD, go way up. If you know they are having sex with their ex, cut your losses and stop dating them.
- They are looking for a parent. They are seeking to replace a parent for their children. There is nothing wrong with a person trying to provide for their children by creating a two-parent environment. If you are ready to take on the huge responsibility of caring for children, then good for you. However, since you played no role in deciding to have those children you are under no obligation to care for them or assume parental responsibilities. If you prefer a childless lifestyle or have any reservations about being a stepparent, it would be best for everyone involved that you move on immediately.
Dating a person who recently divorced or broke up is a tricky situation full of landmines and potential problems. You are not bringing in all the baggage of a breakup into the relationship. They are.
A person who recently divorced or broke up should spend as much time as they need to fully heal before they start dating. To rush out and begin dating before the healing is complete is not fair to those who they meet and get involved with.
If two recently divorced or broke up people begin dating, the odds of creating a healthy relationship free of the baggage from the prior ones is very low. Seek out and restrict your relationships and even dating to friendships during this period. If your friendship develops into a romantic relationship down the road, it may have the foundation for a healthy love.
The best conditions for a strong relationship are two people who are emotionally stable and free of any unhealthy residue from a previous relationship. To do otherwise would be settling for less.