Single Again? Dating After Divorce – Ready Or Not

(This article is written from a Christian perspective)

After a messy divorce, a girl just wants to have some joy in her life. Many women think that means to find a new partner. The trouble is that there is a grieving process after divorce that is very similar to the death of a spouse. 

Yes, even if you were the one who filed for divorce you will grieve. You see, when you got married you were expecting everything to work out. Divorce is the death of a marriage as well as the death of a dream. 

So let’s wait a bit and think about the complications that might arise from dating after divorce.

You may be wondering:

  • How long should you be divorced before you start dating?
  • How do you maintain purity after divorce?
  • Why is dating after divorce so hard?
  • What does the Bible say about dating after divorce?
  • What boundaries should there be for dating after divorce?
  • What red flags should you look for when dating after divorce?

These questions will be covered and more in the next few minutes. 

How long should you be divorced before you start dating?

There is no exact answer to how long you should wait before jumping into the dating game. 

Instead, you need to answer some questions that will help determine if you are emotionally ready for potential dates.

  1. Is your divorce final?
  2. Are you still angry with your spouse?
  3. Are you still talking about the details of your divorce?
  4. Are you feeling desperate for love?
  5. Do you spend a lot of time crying?
  6. Do you feel like a victim?
  7. Are you a people pleaser?

Taking time to answer these questions and work through them completely will affect the quality of your future relationships. 

1. Is your divorce final?

If the divorce papers have been served, but your divorce is not final, you are still married and dating is adultery. 

Anger with your ex-spouse will affect your next relationship. Continued anger leads down the path to bitterness. As a result, I have seen bitterness destroy all of a person’s other relationships.

As hard as it may seem to forgive, there are good reasons to do so. Your continued anger will not impact your ex-spouse, only you.

On the other hand, forgiveness will set you free, free to live life effectively, and full of joy.

3. Are you still talking about the details of your divorce?

Until you can let your divorce go and move on, you are not ready to date.

Talking about your previous relationship repeatedly just serves to reinforce the hurt you want to be free from.

Talking about your ex-spouse in negative ways is an indication that you still have a wide-open wound that needs to be healed. Only Jesus can do that.

4. How feeling desperate for love affect Dating after divorce

This point is extremely important.

If you are thinking, “Will I ever find love again?”, then you are not ready to date. You will attract the wrong men who are manipulators, narcissists, and controllers and you will end up hurt.

Being desperate to feel loved and adored will also make it impossible to remain sexually pure. The wrong men will spot you from a distance and take advantage of you.

5. Do you spend a lot of time crying?

Emotions that can not be controlled are a turn-off to those around you unless they are manipulators. In that case, you are a great target.

They will do whatever they can to win you over and then you will be stuck in a relationship like a fish on a hook, unable to free yourself.

If you need to join a support group or see a family therapist, do it. Your mental health and future will depend on it. 

Now that you are out of your past marriage, you are no longer a victim.

You can make choices to learn and grow and become the woman that God created you to be.

Even if the divorce was not your idea, even if you were abused in your marriage, you are now free and Jesus wants to make you whole. He wants to heal your hurts.

If you have not let Jesus do that, then you are not ready to date.

If you can’t say no to anyone, you are not ready to date.

I am a recovering people pleaser and know that you can get yourself into situations you wish you were not in.

Manipulating men can easily spot a people-pleaser, getting you to do just about anything. You deserve more. Don’t begin dating until you get this character trait under control.

How do you maintain purity after divorce?

Please maintain an open mind as you read this section. Many of the people you know will find this idea of dating foreign and not natural.

But remember that if you want a committed relationship, not simply a romantic relationship, you need to do something different. 

Sex outside of marriage is not good for us and God warns about it. It isn’t that He wants to ruin our fun. He knows that our emotions and self-worth can be destroyed when we don’t guard our hearts against emotional ties formed by sex outside of marriage.

Several things will help maintain purity after divorce. These include boundaries and watching for red flags. 

Boundary examples

What boundaries should there be for Christian dating after divorce?

Example one

I have a friend whose wife was killed in a tragic accident years ago. His children ranged in age from about 10 years old to college age. He did not pursue dating for several years.

When he was ready for dating, he always took some of his children along. You see, it is almost impossible to end up in bed when your children are present. You probably won’t do anything questionable.

This would be a good option for single moms. If the man you date is offended by having your children around, he is the wrong person. His core values are lacking. 

Example two

Knowing how vulnerable I am with romantic feelings, as well as my tendency to be a people pleaser, I have determined that if God should bring another man into my life, I will make sure that all my married friends get to know him.

I will also insist on double dates with another well-grounded couple. You see, other men will be able to see red flags that I might miss. Life is too short to end up in another miserable marriage.

Boundary suggestions

Here are some boundaries that will help keep a Christian pure when dating after divorce:

  • Set ground rules before and on the first date.
  • Be prepared to enforce ground rules. If you don’t, they are not rules.
  • Determine not to spend time alone in each other’s homes.
  • Do all your talking and getting to know each other in public places.
  • Once you arrive at a destination or at the end of your date, don’t sit and talk in the vehicle for more than a couple of minutes. Cars can produce just as much temptation as a home.

Along with these boundaries, think back to when you were dating your now ex-spouse. Were there situations that led you to impurity? Decide that you will not put yourself in those same situations again.

There is a reason that you crumbled back then and unless you know why and have dealt with it, you are likely to repeat those same mistakes.

Additionally, keep getting to know Jesus better and serving others. You won’t have as much time to think about finding love.

Red flags for dating after divorce

If you were driving on a road that had warning signs that a cliff and drop-off was ahead, wouldn’t you stop? In the same way, relationships with red flags are warning signs that there is danger ahead. You may have ignored red flags in your past relationship which eventually led to divorce. That was my case. And now the question is, do you want to make the same mistakes?

Here are some relationship red flags.

  • Talking about marriage before you have met him
  • His dating profile seems too good to be true or is very sketchy
  • Seeing himself as the victim of all his past relationships
  • Been divorced multiple times
  • Financially unstable
  • His divorce is not final
  • Consumes a lot of alcohol, or has other addictive behaviors
  • Being rude to resturante personelle
  • Wants to talk about himself and not you
  • Extreme anger at an ex
  • History of cheating
  • Jealous of your other friends
  • Constant negativity
  • Giving you false flattery
  • Thinks he is right about everything
  • Gets angry when he has to wait
  • Extreme emotional highs and lows

If any of these red flags are present in potential partners, they should be deal breakers for a serious relationship.

Some of these red flags can lead to sexual impurity. All of them can lead to another divorce as well as a broken heart.

Why is dating after divorce so hard?

Dating is something that used to be reserved for the young. But nowadays, women of all ages are dating. But just because it is a romantic relationship does not mean it is a healthy relationship.

The problem is that once you have been married and your sexual desires have been aroused, it is really hard not to approach dating as a relationship with a spouse.  It is difficult to maintain purity.

That is why it is so important to not jump into the dating pool too early on. You need time, time, and more time to make sure that your divorce wounds are healed.

Another factor is that all the dating rules have more or less changed. Younger people find each other in youth groups, college classes, football games, youth retreats, and so on. Once you are divorced you aren’t in those groups anymore.

Many turn to online dating sites which have their pitfalls and dangers.

Additionally, many divorced women feel awkward about dating due to a lack of self-confidence. The modern dating scene is out of their comfort zone.

The failure of a marriage can be hard on egos. There can be a lot of wondering, “Am I good enough? Am I still attractive? What do I have to offer in a new relationship?”

You probably can think of other questions that arise in the dating process out of insecurity. 

Finally, it is very difficult to date after being married because many women tend to compare their dates to their ex-spouses. Just remember, there was something about your ex-spouse that attracted you to them, so they weren’t 100% rotten to the core.

What does the Bible say about dating after divorce?

The Bible talks a lot about relationships. Specific ones that would apply to dating after divorce would be:

  • Do not be deceitful. In other words, don’t come across as being something you are not. Be truthful about who you are and what you like and don’t like. This applies to your online profile on any dating site as well. 1 Peter 3:10, Psalm 34:12-13, and many more.
  • Don’t conform to this world (The world says sex is ok outside of marriage, you must be married to be fulfilled or secure, etc.) Romans 12:2
  • We are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. That means you should not be dating them either. (Someone you date you will probably end up marrying.) 2 Corinthians 6:14
  • We are to love God first. No human can take that place. Matthew 22:37-40.
  • Everything we do, including dating, is to be to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Resources for dating after divorce

These days people want to know which dating apps are the best, as well as safe.

Before jumping on a dating site to create your profile, here are some resources that will help prepare you for all the snags that will come up.

The first priority is your healing. Once that is accomplished, then dating is covered. These two women are a wealth of information. They will help you find a good support system.

  • JenGrice.com, surviving and thriving after divorce. Jen is also on Facebook. She has written two excellent books: You Can Survive Divorce, as well as Your Restoration Journey. Jen covers all aspects of Divorce, including Christian dating after divorce.
  • Lily Mtongwiza is a Christian relationship coach for single women desiring a Bible-based marriage. She has a website, as well as a private Christian community on Facebook which covers all aspects of the single life, including dating after divorce.
  • Divorce often leaves women with a broken heart. This is something that needs to be healed before jumping into the dating pool. Professional Christian counseling may be a good option if the above resources are not enough.

Final thoughts on dating after divorce

Recommendations from professionals vary as to how long you should wait before starting a new dating journey after divorce.

I have seen anywhere from 1 year to 5 years. It all depends on if you have taken enough time to heal the wounds that are the result of divorce, as well as any childhood wounds that may have contributed to the divorce.

Since this is uncharted territory, you may need professional help

Even if you were the one who filed for divorce, there still is grieving for the loss of the familiar. There are disruptions to

  • schedules,
  • living arrangements,
  • property,
  • family routines, and so much more.

When you first married you thought it would last forever. Now that dream is dead with a wide range of emotions.

Because divorce often breaks a woman’s heart, I want to offer you a couple of other resources.

The first is a Scripture card to use as a reminder that your healing comes from God. He may use other people, including professionals, but ultimately, healing is from God. The Scripture card is free. Simply download it. No email is required.

photo of the Scripture card, It is for someone dating after divorce who needs to be reminded that God will heal their broken heart.

Additionally, there is a 14-page Bible verse coloring book for those with broken hearts. It will give you hours of coloring as well as reminders that God heals broken hearts. It is an instant download.

photo of the coloring book on broken hearts. Once a person's heart is healed, then they are ready for dating after divorce.

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