9 Simple Things Men Can Do To Make Dating After Divorce Way Easier

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Man on phone call

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

I don't often deal with a guy who comes from all three aspects. I get it, and it’s OK for me because I understand men going through a divorce. I also know what I want and coach guys (so they don’t mess up with women). But for most women, that’s not the case. Guys, please listen. Most women won’t patiently wait for you to learn what to do right.

RELATED: 4 Reasons Dating After Divorce Is Easier For Men Than Women (& What You Can Learn From Them)

Here are 9 things men can do to make dating after divorce way easier.

1. Don't expect physical intimacy.

Please manage your sex drive. Women know you’re horny; we get 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, 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 in the morning." She’s never met the guy! Guess what? Delete!

That date #1 hook-up will feel great. She’ll be beautiful, horny, and into it (and you). But neither of you stands 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. Hookups have their place but usually don’t end with warm and fuzzy feelings.

2. Go for personality rather than appearance.

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?

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 in trouble and will stay away! That beauty in the 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 STIs or have a drinking problem.

Remember, eye candy doesn’t always equal safety. 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.

Photo: Olena Yakobchuk via Shutterstock

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3. Be able to take care of yourself.

The woman you want needs a man who’s taking care of himself. A guy who’s going through a divorce and not able to take care of himself is 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 when the information you need is at your fingertips. If you don’t know how to manage a home, learn.

Women worth your attention will find a man capable of making dinner way more attractive than one who can’t make his coffee or fold his clothes.

4. Don't talk about your divorce.

The woman 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. Don’t you think she’s wondering why you broke up with your wife? Why did your ex kick you out of her bed? Why did you leave 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. You are being evaluated by her 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 eye the facts.) At the same time, no woman wants to be your therapist! Just like some girl acting as your mom won’t become your lover, the date you use as your therapist won’t be turned on by your problems.

So, change the subject and learn how to be curious about her. Who’s this woman you’re hanging out with? What makes her tick? What turns her on? Stop using women strictly for your own needs! It would help if you talked to someone. Going through a divorce is tough. Hire a coach (who works with men!) Find a therapist. Speak with your church Pastor. Get some help and be open and coachable so you don’t make the same mistakes.

If you want a good partner in the future (and when the anger subsides, you will,) then heal. Grow. Stretch.



RELATED: 5 Signs You're Suffering From Divorce-Induced Depression (& It's Time To Seek Help)

5. Ditch the drama and be fun.

The woman you want isn’t going to tolerate your drama. At an event one evening, I spoke with a 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. I asked, "Why are you fighting with your kids?" and walked away. I’ve got enough drama to deal with and 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 relationship with your kids. These things take real time. Maybe while dealing with them, you have to get on the bench. Now I hear you. Your sex drive is all up in my face. But honestly, you’re simply fooling yourself if you think the drama will keep you and your new lady lover together.

Your drama. The fights, arguing, negotiating, turf war, parenting plan, and financial allocation must be wrapped up before you can find the woman of your dreams. You’re not being a good person while you’re caught up in your stuff. It’s not fun to be around, especially on a date!



6. Be honest, no false fronts.

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 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 management and false front for a while, and good for you, but know the future divorce will be way worse than the first, and the self-loathing will get more challenging to face every day in the mirror.

Sociopathic and narcissistic men usually don’t read my writing. So, if you’ve read this far, I know you’re not one. But also know white lies multiply. Lying, in general, is addictive. You get away with that little lie, and you get off on the control. No woman, date, or child can deal with your lies. It’s called betrayal and feels terrible. I know you know that. Remember the next time you blow off one date for another or lie about what you did on Saturday afternoon. Be honest. The world needs men who can be honest, and good women want honest men.

7. Show your maturity.

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 the mushy stuff all at once. You might not mean to be offensive when you call us "darling" and "dear" or send heart emojis, but it can 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 saying and typing them. We may not have grown up next to you, and some pet names and other endearments might turn us off. Some women believe, "Men don’t use emojis." So find out first!

You may also have a religious practice and want to praise and thank God every five minutes. That’s super cool, and go for it! But if you’re dating outside your place of worship, remember other people won’t necessarily understand what you’re doing. It would be best to ask if the woman is also spiritual 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. Be 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 understood 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 healthy, good man to overcome the innate need to be the top dog in the pack.

Children need great parenting, so stepping into the role of stepfather 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 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. Some good men can rise to the occasion to provide for children who are not their own. If you’re on that track, in love with a woman who’s a mom, know this is the greatest responsibility you’ll ever face. Please get yourself the emotional support that you need. Know what you’re doing and learn how to do this role well!



9. Date like it is the 21st Century

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 challenging. It requires you to heal, wrap up the disappointment, and start over. It’s not as easy as you’d like it to be. Pain and disappointment 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 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.

Courtship is different when you’re older. You can’t date the way you did in your early 20s, even though you’ll try, and the woman you want is worth growing up for!

Finding love after divorce is doable. The opportunity is yours for the taking, particularly if you’re one of the good guys! 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.) Then you’ll be left with yourself and your need to grow, mature, and take responsibility for your need for 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 you know, I can’t wait to see who you will become!

RELATED: 5 Things You Should Know Before You Start Dating After Divorce

Laura Bonarrigo is a divorce coach who helps clients build trust, inspire confidence and calm, and instill long-term vision and objectives through separation.

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