After a divorce: Dating and your ex spouse

Melissa Dawn By Melissa Dawn, 25th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Divorce

Dating after a divorce can seem confusing and tricky especially where your ex is concerned. Coping with both an ex, and getting back into dating can be challenging, but it should not be a miserable experience.

Dating after a divorce

Dating after a divorce can initially be tricky, especially regarding the feelings and temperament of your ex spouse. From prior experience I can tell you that depending on how your marriage broke down and how the divorce proceedings were handled by your ex, are strong indications of how he/she will behave when you start dating again! Past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour and if your ex is harboring feelings of resentment and anger, you may need to tread carefully!

Before you begin dating after a divorce, make sure you really are single! Dating while legally seperated or in the throes of a divorce process won't endear you to either your soon to be ex spouse or your attorney and can lead to further legal entanglements, especially if someone wants to play dirty. Rushing into someone else's arms as soon as the ink is dry on the final decree of your divorce is rarely advisable. While there are no hard and fast rules for deciding when to begin dating after a divorce, a common sense approach to timing is paramount.

Many people believe that dating after a divorce should never concern an ex, but if contact is being heavily maintained due to continued shared property, and split custody and visitation over children and pets, your ex is going to find out pretty quickly that you are seeing someone, even if you choose not to tell them. If you don't want to involve yourself in conflict and screaming matches with your ex over who you are dating, here's what to do.

It always amazes me how many break ups and divorces occur because one spouse wants to date someone's brother or best friend. I've never gone down this road myself but have heard from friends how dating your ex's best friend/brother after a divorce has not only led to the obvious painful gossip, but these relationships led to further disharmony and family and friendship breakdown. Even worse, they rarely last long term; after all if your dating your husband's best friend your dating someone with very similar qualities as your ex. If you couldn't stand him, why would this relationship last? Never date an ex's close friends or family members unless you want to be very very unhappy.

Don't rub your new dating status in your ex's face

If you begin seeing someone and your ex spouse is still noticeably single don't rub it in their face that you are out on the dating circuit again. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce you may wish to drop a casual, 'I'm starting to date again' at them when you do have to see your ex. Never tell them a relationship is serious until it actually is, as this can impact child custody arrangements and maintenance especially if someone moves in with you. Don't bring someone you are dating casually to any meetings with your ex, not only may this alienate them if your ex is testy, especially if he trys to subject your new guy to twenty questions!

Do tell your children you are dating

There is nothing worse than well meaning parents who don't tell their children that they are dating again after a divorce. Children have ears like antennae and will invariably here about it from school mates, neighbours, family or a very nosy ex spouse. Depending on the age and emotional state of your children after a divorce, will impact how well they will take it that you are dating someone other than Daddy. If necessary, enlist the help of a family Counselor, Mediator or Life Coach, to help children understand that no matter what Mommy loves them. Never bring someone home for over night stays until you are serious! Children from divorce situations are often initially quite fragile.

Be sure you are ready to date yourself

Many people rush into relationships after a divorce due to shear emotional neediness. Been there, done it, had the t-shirt myself and it is never advisable! Take a breather, get to know yourself as someone seperate from your ex marital union, and refuse to see yourself as your ex does; especially if you were the victim of emotional abuse, verbal abuse or physical abuse. If you have been abused you may feel the need to seek group therapy, or life coaching sessions before entering the dating pool. Remember there are a lot of men out there who can spot a needy emotional woman at 50 feet and you don't need someone else who makes you feel like garbage. Once you feel at peace with yourself and your new life circumstances, then you are ready to start dating again. Slowly!


Dating and your ex spouse and their feelings are never easy to deal with after a divorce! Unless you get lucky and they have moved to China and you never need to see or hear from them again, you will have to deal with them knowing about your dating. It is rarely a smooth road, but if you use common sense and integrity eventually your ex will be less interested in who you are dating and will probably find someone new of their own!


Dating After Divorce, Dating And Your Ex, Dating Tips, Divorce, Divorced

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author avatar Melissa Dawn
I have been writing ever since I can remember, and currently focus my attention on articles, how to guides and e-books. Check out my group e-book at

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author avatar Wendy
12th Oct 2010 (#)

Great article!

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