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10 Must-Know Red Flags When Dating a Divorced Woman

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
A concerned woman seated at the edge of her bed, with her hand resting on her forehead.
Divorced women can make great partners. After all, they've had the experience of being married and know what works and what doesn't.

Not every divorced woman has reached the point where she's able to move on, learn from her past experiences, and form a healthy connection with someone else. If someone isn't at this point, it's good to know that sooner than later so you can date someone who's ready for a stable relationship.

Mostly, the dangers of dating a separated woman are similar to the risks of dating anyone. They may have unhealthy relationship patterns that could spill over onto you. But dating a divorced woman (or a separated woman) poses a few unique challenges. Here are 10 signs to look out for to know whether the divorced woman you're dating is truly ready to start fresh and form a healthy relationship.

1. She Talks About Her Ex All the Time

When dating a recently divorced woman, her ex is bound to come up in conversation. However, this topic shouldn't take up most of your conversations with her.

If she's still processing her marriage, she may need more time to process it in therapy or on her own before getting into another relationship.

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2. She Says Mean Things About Her Ex

It's OK for someone to vent about negative experiences with an ex, but if she calls her ex nasty names, wishes ill upon them, or otherwise badmouths them, this may be a sign that she has a temper, which she could eventually end up taking out on you. It could also be a sign that she's in a lot of pain and has more healing to do.

3. There Is a Vast Difference in Life Experience Between You

If she has been married and you've never been in a relationship, that's not an automatic deal breaker, but it could be a sign that you're in very different places in life.

The same thing goes if there is a significant age difference between you two. There are pros and cons to dating older women—just make sure that the pros outweigh the cons.

4. She Is Still Tied to Her Ex

If children, legal proceedings, or other logistics keep her closely connected with her ex, this could complicate her life as well as yours.

It may be necessary for them to have contact, especially if kids are involved. Still, they should also have established boundaries around their relationship so that you can feel secure that you're getting involved with her, not her ex.

5. She’s Been Divorced Multiple Times

Half of all marriages end in divorce, so it's not like being divorced reflects negatively on a person. However, a history of repeated divorces could point toward longstanding relationship issues that will repeat themselves.

The more times someone has been married, the greater the likelihood that their next marriage will also end in divorce. Of course, some subsequent marriages do work out but tread carefully if someone's been divorced again and again.

6. She’s Still in Love With Her Ex

If she admits to being in love with her ex or talks about her ex in ways that suggest she really misses them, she may need more time to grieve before she can really get back into dating.

Being married to someone creates an enormous bond, and it's completely normal to have trouble getting over that.

7. She Compares You to Her Ex

Nobody is going to replace her ex, so you're going to come up short if she's trying to compare you to them. She may reveal that she's doing this by talking about your similarities or differences or asking you to do things for her that her ex used to do.

You shouldn't have to fill her ex's shoes. She should appreciate you for who you are as an individual.

8. She and Her Ex Had an On-and-Off Relationship

If two people have a pattern of breaking up and getting back together, they may end up doing so again—yes, even after getting divorced.

Six percent of couples who get divorced end up remarrying each other. This history, combined with continued feelings or ties to her ex, could be a red flag.

9. She’s Healing From Deep Trauma

Somebody who was in an abusive or otherwise deeply traumatic marriage may need time to heal before she can fully trust someone again.

If you're willing to be with her on that journey and be patient with her, this may be the perfect relationship to help her get back on her feet. But if you want someone to build a life with within a certain time frame, you may be better off going for someone who's more ready for that.

10. You Can See Your Relationship Ending the Way Her Last One Did

It's a good idea to find out why the woman you're dating got divorced so that you can tell if it's something that could come up in your relationship as well. For instance, maybe she disliked a quality of her ex that you also possess.

It's better to address that right away than to let the relationship play out like her last one did.

What You Need to Remember

Dating after divorce is difficult, so it's important to have compassion for any recently divorced women you end up dating. However, you can do this while making the healthiest choices for both of you and being realistic about the relationship's potential.

There is no shame in someone needing more time or help to get over a divorce, but you deserve somebody who is fully out of their last relationship and can devote their time and attention to you. If it truly is meant to be, the universe will find a way to bring you together again.

For now, if you're spotting red flags, gently let her know that you think it's best to go your separate ways and get back out there. If you need help, check out EliteSingles, eharmony, or a few senior dating sites and meet people who can be fully available for you.

Head and shoulders photograph of Suzannah Weiss
Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and Brown University graduate in Cognitive Neuroscience and Gender and Sexuality Studies. In addition to writing for Top10.com, Suzannah written for major publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan. Weiss' writing about feminist issues and sexuality has also been discussed on The Today Show, The View, and C-SPAN.