It is very difficult making the transition from married to single. Post Divorce trauma can take years to overcome without the help of a coach or counsellor. Many people handle the emotions and rejection by withdrawing. Others step out into dating, often for the wrong reason. They are trying to fill a hole, to prove their worth, or to dull the pain of rejection.

There is no right or wrong time to start dating after a divorce is finalized. However, once you are thrown back into the dating game, you’ll learn that the rules have changed immensely from when you were younger.

The age constraint is gone. Many men are now trying to date women 10 and 20 years younger than themselves. Women are now dating younger, but not often past the 10 year mark according to some statistics.

The distance constrains are gone. Online dating has made it easier to connect with people outside or your area. This has its advantages and disadvantages. There are more people to get to know. There is also a chance to get to know someone before meeting them, and to become friends. The temptation to meet to quickly is strong, but with some guidance and coaching to teach you the benefits, you can reduce the heart break and avoid becoming someone’s emotional victim.

The biggest disadvantage is that it is difficult to identify a potential date who suffers from attachment deficit disorder. These people have a vast pool of victims to draw off of. The stories of women and men who’ve invested a year, or more, into a relationship only to have someone disappear are wide spread, and vast. I often have people who are more devastated by being abandoned, suddenly, with no goodbye, no reason, no explanation – just ‘poof’ and their soul mate is gone.

The most important thing to consider when dating post-divorce is to understand your emotions. Give yourself a reality check.

1. Is your dating a form of self-destruction or self-sabotage? Are you dating the wrong people? Are your sexual practices risking your health? Do you use dating to avoid having to deal with your pain and suffering?

2. Are you trapped by your emotions? People are motivated by two things, pain and passion. The passion aspect can be part of your belief system, your mindset, or it can be physical. The pain can be emotional, physical, or psychological. Emotions are not tangible. They can attack us and cause us to sabotage our success, or react negatively in dating situations instead of taking control of the outcome.

They attack us in our sleep, causing anxiety and stress. In many cases, we don’t even realize there is a problem until (after months or years of broken relationships and failure) someone else points out a problem.

3. Is your self esteem damaged by the divorce? Every choice and decision we make is based on our mindset, belief system, and core values. Unfortunately, these are often founded on things other people said, how they treated us, and what we perceive as failures in our lives. One hurtful word can damage our self esteem for years, even if we are not aware of it. Many of us build our core values, and self esteem based on things that happened to us as children which have nothing to do with our identity as an adult.

A damaged self esteem is dangerous when dating. They cause us to ‘ignore the wall paper over the red flags’. They also cause us to become emotionally involved with someone to the point where we ignore problems, and make excuses, when we should be stepping back and trusting our instincts and respecting our own self-awareness.

A damaged self esteem can also blind us to a dangerous relationship – co-dependency. This is a potentially abusive relationship where one, or both people, have a warped sense of love. They may believe they are in love, but one person is in control physically, and the other is in control emotionally.

This type of relationship is devastating because the emotional person ‘buys into’ the loving/protective image of the controller. Unfortunately, the controller has no intention of addressing their problems. The result is an angry, physically abusive relationship that can become dangerous if the victim tries to leave.

4. What do you believe about yourself? Who are you dating? Are you targeting the lowest denominator, because you do not feel you deserve someone better? Do you search for someone who would never want a relationship with you, hoping that your emotions will be safe if you know from the onset that the relationship will never work? Are you looking for someone like your ex-significant other?

These are serious questions you should be asking yourself. Not only yourself, but you should be networking with trusted friends, or a relationship coach. They can see red flags in yourself and others when your belief system tries to blind you.

5. What Expectations are you brining out of your failed relationships? Unrealistic expectations sabotage more relationship than anything else. This is especially true when we carry unresolved baggage and un-forgiveness from one relationship to the next.

We create an image of a Prince, or Princess, who will save us from ourselves. This person will have no baggage of their own, but be everything we need to hide from our own problems. They will never hurt us. They will never ask us to take out the garbage, or watch TV instead of listening to our stories. The house will never be dirty. The faucet will never leak.

When talking to couples suffering from unrealistic expectations we see a common picture emerge. They are madly in-love for weeks or months before getting married. It is a fast, emotional relationship. The couple just ‘know’ they are a perfect match. Then, after a whirlwind romance and wedding, the relationship starts to fall apart. This can happen within hours, although it normally happens after the honeymoon feeling wears off and you wonder ‘who did I marry.’

These are only a few of the things post-divorce singles need to watch for when dating. I’ve posted several articles on this topic, and I welcome comments to this article, and questions. Just remember that every day is a new day. Mistakes from the past do not define who you are as a person now. And that anyone can change their future relationships for the better, one day at a time.

Author's Bio: 

Suzanne James has 10 years experience as an online life coach and using the telephone to facilitate her coaching strategy. She has vast experience helping clients reset their core values, make changes in their communication and relationship styles, and take back control of their lives. There is a wealth of information on her website: