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5 Women Not to Date Post-Divorce


Before you jump back into the dating game, be aware of the players most likely to have you calling fouls.

By Dan Bova

t doesn’t matter whether you’ve been divorced for six years or six days: If you’re looking for the real Mrs. Right, there are some women out there you should avoid. Sure, you never know until you try, but trust us, on the freeway of love, these are the pit stops you don’t want to make.

The type: Ms. Bitter-About-My-Ex
Why she sounds tempting: In the same way that people go off to war as strangers and return as bands of brothers, a bond can quickly form when you meet a woman who has also experienced the pains of divorce. “A man might find this type of woman appealing because they have a common denominator about their divorces: They were both with someone who treated them badly and can connect through their misery,” says Jennifer Coleman, M.S./Ed.S., NCC, a Life Transition Coach at the Rosen Law Firm in North Carolina.

Why dating her is a bad idea: Dating a woman who is stuck in the past can stop you from moving forward. Says John from Los Angeles, “I was dating a woman who always seemed to find a way to bring up her ex. You know, we’d be eating somewhere ‘he’d
“When she’d talk about what a jerk her ex was, I’d start thinking about my ex and get all pissed off, too.”
never go in a million years’ or I was wearing a shirt like one she bought him. It’d always end up with her talking about what a jerk he was and as she would rant, I’d start thinking about my ex and get all pissed off, too. It drove me crazy. I wanted to try to forget all that stuff, not constantly relive it.” Besides the anger flashbacks, if Ms. Bitter always seems to put the onus of her marriage’s demise on her ex, says Coleman “she is likely not able to take responsibility in a relationship and will probably repeat the pattern of blaming.” That sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

The type: The Bio-Clock Watcher
Why she sounds tempting: You’re a bit down on yourself, when along comes a woman who not only wants you—she wants you to be the father of her child! Can you say “ego boost”?

Why dating her is a bad idea: One word, two syllables: Pressure! “Just as a man is beginning to get his feet wet once again in the dating world, the last thing he needs is to deal with the stress of a child-bearing time clock,” says Larry Glanz, co-author with Dr. Robert Phillips of Guy Gets Girl, Girl Gets Guy. Keep in mind that in a situation like this, the woman you’re dating is going to want to move things along at lightning speed. When you’re wondering what you want to order for dessert, she’s wondering what color to paint the baby’s room. Getting involved a high-pressure relationship like this right after a divorce, Glanz cautions, could leave you feeling like you jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

The type: Ms. Only-The-Finest-Do
Why she sounds tempting: A woman who coos about going to Maui with you or having a 4-star dinner can make you feel like a big shot. Visions of a spot on People’s most eligible bachelors list begin dancing in your head.

Why dating her is a bad idea: You’re more likely to wind up on your creditor’s most wanted list if you’re not careful. We don’t need to tell you that divorce is not an
When you’re wondering what you want to order for dessert, she’s wondering what color to paint the baby’s room.
inexpensive process. “Between child support and alimony, men can find themselves at a loss of 50 percent of their worth,” says Glanz. Falling in love is great. Falling into debt? Not so much with the greatness. If she’s more interested in your portfolio than your personality, hit the road, and take your PIN number with you.

The type: The Woman Waiting in the Wings
Why she sounds tempting: She’s had a secret crush on you all of these years, and now that you’re available, she’s ready to swoop in. She already knows you, she already likes you—she’s ready to rock your world.

Why dating her is a bad idea: She’s also probably impatient. “If she has been waiting for a long time, she’s likely going to be in a hurry to get the relationship going while you’re just getting your bearings in this new life of yours,” says Marilyn Graman, a New York City-based psychotherapist and author of There Is No Prince and Other Truths Your Mother Never Told You. While you’re still digesting the news of her crush, she’s moving on to the dessert course—and into your place. Now, you don’t necessarily need to run in the opposite direction from a woman who digs your good stuff, just make sure her expectations aren’t too great.

The type: The Opposite of My Ex
Why she sounds tempting: She’s everything the woman in your failed marriage isn’t—jackpot! “When I started dating after my divorce,” says Mitch from New York City, “I went out of my way to look for the polar opposite of my ex. She was very into her job, very preppy. So I went on a struggling actress/musician bender.”

Why dating her is a bad idea: “I pretty much had nothing in common with them,” laughs Mitch. “Sure it was cool to see this other walk of life, but after the initial newness excitement wore off, we didn’t have much to talk about. They couldn’t relate to my life, I couldn’t relate to theirs. There wasn’t much going on.” This is not surprising, says Coleman. “Ultimately, we are attracted to the same types of people, and so it is not likely that you’ll develop a long-term relationship with someone who is the opposite of that.”

Plus, Mitch didn’t get divorced because his wife was a devotee of the J. Crew catalog. There were deeper needs lacking in their relationship, and the key is discovering what they are as you look for a new partner. “You have to take time post-divorce to ponder and feel what it is that will be fulfilling to you,” says Dr. Diane Kirschner, author of Opening Love’s Door: The Seven Lessons. “Do some soul searching rather than picking someone in a knee-jerk way” to find a happy relationship.


Dan Bova is executive editor of Stuff magazine.


Want the other side of the story? Read 6 Guys Not To Date After Divorce.

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