Heartbreak, Sex

9 BIGGEST Mistakes Men Make When Dating After Divorce (And How To Avoid Them)

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The 9 Pitfalls Of Dating After Divorce (And How To Avoid Them)

On a date and sitting across from a guy who’s going through a divorce, I can easily tell whether he’s only interested in having sex with me before the end of a meal. I can tell if he’s got serious, personal growth work to do or if he’s truly interested in getting to know me over several dates before we undress.

It’s not often that I’m dealing with a guy coming from all three aspects at the same time. I get it and it’s fine for me because I understand men going through a divorce.

I also know what I want and coach a lot of guys (so they don’t mess up with women). But for most women, that’s not the case. Guys, please listen up: when you’re going through a divorce and dating, there are some serious pitfalls of dating that you all too easily fall into!

Pitfalls cover all categories of courtship, from wanting sex to wanting a future with a woman. And most women won’t patiently wait for you to learn what to do right.

So here we go! These are the 9 pitfalls of dating after divorce that divorced men often find themselves in:

1. You expect sex from her.

Please manage your sex drive. Women know you’re horny; we get that you’re all stressed out and need a release. You probably have some religious rules against taking care of yourself or you’re too embarrassed and afraid to hire someone to help, and besides, that’s not who you are… got it!

However, women are not there strictly for your sexual needs to be met. Even when we’re horny too. The woman you want is not going to sleep with you on the first date. Seriously. Get that!

Just this morning, I heard a single woman complain about an email some guy sent her about "his passionate need to have sex in the morning." She’s never met the guy! Guess what? Delete!

That date #1 hook up will feel great, she’ll be beautiful and horny, and into it (and you). But neither of you stand a chance in the relationship department. Which might be just fine with you. However, the more you engage in meaningless sex, the longer it will take for you to disengage from your spouse

I’m not saying don’t have sex. Just don’t think it’s going to go anywhere good if you hook up on your first night out at a bar after you’ve just moved out of your marriage bed. Know that hook ups have their place but they usually don’t end with warm and fuzzy feelings.

2. You go for looks rather than personality.

Your desire for a beautiful woman is natural and normal. There is nothing wrong with a normal desire and attraction for beautiful women. You’ve been attracted to beauty since you were a boy and things won’t change now. However, women are people too.

Not to get all political and such here, but how often do you look at your daughter like a piece of meat? (Don’t pretend that you don’t.) Now, how does that feel to think other men look at her that way?

We know what you’re up to and sure, we dress up to win your eye and like it when you notice, but sometimes beauty really and truly is only skin deep. And most of the time, when you ignore the beautiful and good, healthy woman in the corner, she also knows that you’re trouble and will stay away!

That beauty in the size 4 skin tight dress may not be the healthy and available partner you’d like night after night. She may be a great ego boost for the short term and she may be great in bed but she may also be filled with STD’s or have a drinking problem.

Remember, eye candy doesn’t always equal safe. Safe women can spy an unhealthy man from miles away. So figure out who you want to be in the immediate and pay attention to the consequences of your actions later on down the road.

3. You can't do simple housework.

The woman you want needs a man who’s taking care of himself. It’s sweet to see some guy who’s going through a divorce not able to take care of himself.

He’s the one who uses women to decorate his apartment or help him buy dishes at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. He doesn’t know the first thing about doing laundry and flirts with a chick in the laundry mat to help him figure out the machines. It’s cute and it’s super annoying! 

No woman can be your mother and your lover at the same time. You’re going through a divorce and it’s time to grow up. Any woman who volunteers to come to your rescue will bore you to tears within months of knowing her! Don’t be fooled by that "Let me help you" attitude. It reeks of co-dependence and is a future headache. 

Instead, learn to care for yourself. Figure things out. You can manage way more than you realize especially in this day and age when the information you need is at your fingertips. If you don’t know how to manage a home, learn.

I assure you that women worth your attention will find a man capable of making dinner way more attractive than one who can’t make his own coffee or fold his own clothes.

4. You talk to her about your divorce.

The girl you want doesn’t want to hear about your divorce, but will also put you under a microscope. I’m going to get real here — you are going through a divorce (or a breakup) and you’re dating.

Hm…don’t you think she’s wondering why you broke up with your wife? Why your ex-kicked you out of her bed? Why you left her? Why you tolerated the crap you went through before leaving?

You’re going to be under a microscope (unless she’s just using you for sex or your money or both). Get that. Get that you are being evaluated way more than you’re sizing up the size of her waist. 

No woman worth your attention wants a bad man. (News Flash: the taller, better looking, and wealthier you are, the more a good woman will be eyeing the facts.) At the same time, no woman wants to be your therapist! Just like some girl acting like your mom won’t be your lover; the date you use as your therapist won’t be turned on by your stuff.

So change the subject, learn how to be curious about her. Who’s this woman you’re hanging out with? What makes her tick? What turns her on? 

I guess that means, stop using women strictly for your own needs! And that means that you need to find someone to talk to. Going through a divorce is tough. Hire a coach (who works with men!) Find a therapist. Speak with your church Pastor. Get yourself some help and be open and coachable so that you don’t make the same mistakes again.

If you want a good partner in the future (and when the anger subsides, you will want one) then go heal. Grow. Stretch. Become the kind of man you would want your own daughter or your sister to marry. 

5. You have a lot of drama around the divorce.

The woman you want isn’t going to tolerate your drama. I was at this event one evening speaking with this tall, handsome attorney. It was going great until he announced he was going through a divorce and had just had a fight with his teenage son.

With that, I asked, "Why are you fighting with your kids?" and I walked away. You see, I’ve got enough of my own drama to deal with, and definitely didn’t need his!

Remember, you will never outgrow the need for drama until you decide it’s not worth it.

Figure out how to wrap up your divorce, get over the fighting, and establish a new home and a new relationship with your kids. These things take real time and maybe while you’re dealing with them, you’re going to have to get on the bench.

Now I hear you…that sex drive is all up in my face. But honestly, you’re simply fooling yourself if you think drama is going to keep you and your new lady lover together.

Your drama — those fights, the arguing, the negotiating, the turf war and parenting plan, and asset allocation — have to be wrapped up before you will find the woman of your dreams.

You’re simply too on it to find a good person to be with. You’re not actually being a good person while you’re caught up in your stuff. It’s really not fun to be around, especially on a date! 

6. You lie.

The woman you want will not tolerate your lies. Liar liar pants on fire! Yep, that’s you, big guy — I’m talking to you! You know exactly what I’m referring to — the affairs you had, the cheating, the lying, the hiding of assets and money, your second apartment, and the "buddies" vacation to Vegas.

Women are not stupid. We may miss the signs for a bit, but the woman you want will not tolerate your lies. If she does, know you’re headed for another divorce or breakup in the future.

You may get away with the image managing and false front for awhile, and good for you, but know that the future divorce will be way worse than the first and the self-loathing will get harder to face every day in the mirror.

Sociopathic and Narcissistic men usually don’t read my writing. So, if you’ve read this far, then I know you’re not one. But also know that white lies multiply and lying, in general, is addictive. You get away with that little lie and then you get off on the control. No woman, no date, and no child can deal with your lies. It’s called betrayal and feels like shit. I

know you know that. Remember that the next time you blow off one date for another or lie about what you did on Saturday afternoon. It’s time to man-up and grow a pair. Be honest. The world needs men who can be honest and good women want honest men.

7. You act immature.

The woman you want needs you to be an adult, not some freaky romantic guy who’s all mushy and in love on date #1. In other words, you do you and find out what she likes! Most women can’t handle that mushy stuff all at once. When you call us "darling" and "dear" or send us heart emojis, you might not mean to be offensive but it could freak us out.

We think you’re weird and needy and creepy all at once. Be sure to find out if you may use those endearments before simply saying and typing them. We may not have grown up next to you and certain names and such might just turn us off. Some women believe that "Real men don’t use emojis." So find out!

You may also have a wonderful religious practice, want to praise and thank God every five minutes. That’s super cool and go for it! But if you’re dating outside your church or synagogue or place of worship, remember that other people won’t necessarily understand what you’re doing.

Again, it would be best to ask if the woman you’re interested in is spiritual as well instead of assuming anything. Please learn how to ask! Please learn to ask permission. "No" means "no" when it comes to terms of endearment or God fearing language as well. Heed this warning or you may find her less excited to hear from you.

8. You're not ready to step into the role of (potential) step-dad. 

The woman you want is afraid to have you step-parent her children. These are primal concerns and statistically very real. It wasn’t until I heard the facts that I got why moms with primary physical custody and going through a divorce are in less of a hurry to marry again than dads.

It has to do with our primal wiring and it takes a really, healthy, good man to overcome the innate need to be top dog in the pack. 

Children need great parenting and stepping into the role of step-father is incredibly difficult. She is watching and testing; she cannot live with any inkling of fear that her children might potentially be hurt. If you’re considering dating a mom with kids (which I hope you are), know that those children need to see their mom being cherished and adored.

They need a man who can mentor and advise them, not punish, put them down or abuse anyone in the family unit. 

Being a stepfather (or substitute father) is a tall order. There are good men able to rise to the occasion and provide for children not their own. If you’re on that track, in love with a woman who’s a mom, know this is truly the greatest responsibility you’ll ever face.

Please get yourself the emotional support that you need. Make sure you know what you’re doing and learn how to do this role really well!

9. You don't try to woo her.

The woman you want has been hurt and is looking for kindness and care as much as sex appeal and passion. At a certain point, it’s important to remember that divorce is an adult sport. The woman you want is also mature enough to appreciate the experience which means, she’s not just out of college.

You don’t want or need another divorce. You don’t want to hurt a future lover. Dating, when you’re hurt, is more difficult. It requires that you heal and wrap up the disappointment and start over. It’s not as easy as you’d like it to be. Pain and disappointment just don’t go away with a new lover. 

The woman you want has probably also been disappointed in love. She’s had a broken heart and is just as wary as you are to get involved with someone new. That doesn’t mean she’s not available, just that you have to be clearheaded enough to know where you stand and be able to woo her.

The courtship is different when you’re older (you can’t date the way you did in your early 20’s even though you’ll try) and the woman you want is totally worth growing up for!

I truly believe that finding love after divorce is doable. The opportunity is yours for the taking. Particularly if you’re one of the good guys! I truly believe you will find the love of your life, especially once the "need for sex" gets out of your system…yep, hormones do eventually calm down. (Sorry, that’s science.)

And then you’ll be left with yourself, your need to grow, your need to mature up and take responsibility, and your need for true companionship. I’ve given you some advice on the pitfalls of dating after divorce that clients and I have experienced while dating after separation.

Now that you know, I can’t wait to see who you’re going to become!

Laura Bonarrigo is a Divorce Recovery and Life Coach. If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to take care of yourself, reach out and Laura will make this easy: laura@laurabonarrigo.com. Take to heart what's being said you want to figure out how to date post-divorce so you can move on; the sooner you step into action, the faster this pain and the past will be wrapped up for you.

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This article was originally published at laurabonarrigo.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.