Love is messy, and sometimes it doesn’t end well. Many of us start out our lives thinking that we will never get divorced, or that we would never get involved with a partner who is married or going through a divorce of their own. As we get older, however, we might find that life brings us love from many different places that don’t always fit our image of what love should be.
Whenever we enter into a relationship, we run the risk of it ending badly. People fall in and out of love every day, and we are no exception. If you’ve fallen for someone who is divorced or in the middle of a divorce, don’t worry- there is still hope for you and for love.
Each relationship has its own struggles and dating someone in the middle of a divorce is just another unique relationship situation. You can use your own sense of judgement to make sure you aren’t diving into an unhealthy situation, further muddling up the complicated waters of love. Use your common sense and go with your gut when it comes to being realistic about red flags you are seeing.
As we grow and age, we’re going to start interacting with potential romantic partners who have a past of divorce. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing- they’ve made a commitment, as we all do in relationships, and theirs didn’t work out. How they handle that situation and coexist with their ex does say a lot about who they are as a person, and whether you can anticipate a healthy relationship with them or not.
Here are a few ways to protect your heart and keep yourself safe in a relationship with someone who is getting a divorce, without closing the door on love:
- Create the relationship you want. If you are looking for something casual, discuss that with your partner. Jumping into a serious relationship with someone who is going through a divorce can be incredibly messy. However, even casual relationships can result in strong feelings developing for one another. If you are going to be in any sort of relationship with someone going through a divorce, make sure you discuss the terms of this relationship clearly.
- Know what their status is. Some divorces aren’t a sure thing; someone could get cold feet, a broken bridge could be mended, and two people could make an effort to try again for the sake of their relationship, kids, or a variety of other reasons. Make sure you know what their relationship status really is before you get involved with them. If you are serious about dating this person, they will want you to know the truth about their life so that you can confidently move forward together. Be aware if they are still living with their partner, if they are in a trial separation period, or if there is any chance they will go back to their spouse.
- Keep updated on their divorce. If you met your partner during one stage of their divorce and that hasn’t progressed in awhile, ask why. Sometimes legal matters muddle up the finalization of a divorce, but other times they might be hesitant to go all the way through the divorce process. Divorce is hard, and they may not be ready to let go of their spouse and their old life quite yet.
- Listen, observe, and stay out of the way. As a third party, you don’t have very many rights to any information about their divorce other than what your partner reveals to you. Remember to listen to them- they are going through a very tough life moment. Observe how they speak and act during the divorce, as this will bring you much insight into their character. Although you certainly want to support your partner through this difficult time, you also don’t want to become a dumping zone for all their problems or a pawn in the divorce battle.
- Ask questions. These questions can help you to know how your partner needs to be supported during this time. You deserve to know some information about their divorce, as this information could affect your relationship. Ask who wanted the divorce, why it was happening, what prompted the divorce, and if they see themselves being able to be on good terms with their ex in the future. Their opinions on long-term relationships may have changed because of their divorce; you also deserve to know if this is the case.
Ultimately, you want to make sure that you are protecting yourself and your heart if you are getting involved in a relationship with someone going through a divorce. Follow your heart, but also remember to use your head. Don’t lose sight of the relationship you want and deserve.