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Dating After Divorce – 10 Red Flag Warnings

Often after a split we just want to feel loved.  That’s normal.

Getting back into dating after a divorce can be exciting and a little frightening.  If you haven’t dated in a long time, or if your ex-partner was emotionally abusive, it can be scary and challenging. Lasting love takes time and builds over time. Don’t overlook subtle clues and give yourself time to know about potential partners.

To help you better navigate the new dating world, we’re arming you with the some subtle, or not so subtle red flag warnings that can help you cut bait and get out of new dating relationships before you make a big investment.

Set up for the items to discuss

1.      Too much affection and devotion early in the relationship

A quick review of dating websites brings a couple of items into quick perspective.  The extremes of just wanting to have sex or those who want a deep romantic relationship right off the bat are startlingly obvious. Often after a split we just want to feel loved.  That’s normal. Love at first sight is usually, lust at first sight or at best attraction at first sight. If someone is too devoted or attentive, it could be exposing their want. While giving in to it is tempting and fairly-tale like, their need may be excessive. If they also show some of the other red flags.  Run, don’t walk, for the exit.

2.      Extreme tardiness

Lateness, whether it is with you, or with others, can often be a subtle signal of not thinking about others or being considerate of their time. Habitually tardiness is rude.  That’s not what you need in your life. This is your time to put your needs first.

3.      Not respecting your boundaries

Examples of physical boundaries can include standing too close to you, touching you without permission or invitation. Talking over you. Looking in your purse/wallet/computer bag or phone without permission. Pressuring you to drink or behave in a different way is not accepting you the way you are and can be signs of someone trying to control you. You deserve better.

4.      Rudeness to servers or others

The way people treat others exposes who they are.  Pay attention.  If they feel free to unload on strangers, usually this behavior may be even more prevalent in close relationships.

Man berating coffee server

5.      Talking about themselves for most of the conversation and not asking about you

Have you ever been in a conversation in which the other person does all the talking? It can be draining.  It can be sending a message either of deep insecurity, or self-absorption. If the behavior happens with a couple of dates – definite red flag! You are important – they should be working to get to know you!

…the way people treat others exposes who they are. 

6.      Excessive alcohol or suspected drug use

Either of these are relationship nonstarters in a healthy relationship. This may be evidenced by behavior or stories they relate about events in their life. You deserve a relationship in which you don’t have to be a caretaker. 

7.      They are secretive or are not open

You date doesn’t have to share personal information. Oversharing is a red flag too.  However, if a person refuses to talk about themselves, or always turns the conversation to you, this is a warning. A private person naturally doesn’t talk much about themselves. A secretive person intentionally hides information or gives false information. Avoid the secretive ones.

8.      You second guess yourself in their presence

If you are second guessing your worth, your values or your opinions multiple times in conversations on a date or within a new relationship, this could be a sign that you are not being accepted for who you are, or worse are with someone who trying to control you. Either of these are not healthy or you’d better off looking for another fish in the sea.

Pensive Young Man

9.      Political stances that are deal-breakers for you — or other ways you don’t connect

In todays’ world that is so bipartisan and divided, exposure to someone who thinks differently is okay if you are both treated with respect.  But, if the person is trying to score points, and insist you agree with them – life is too short.  Drop them like a hot potato.

10.  Non-existent digital footprint

If can feel like you snooping to check out someone online.  Don’t let that stop you. Doing a quick browser search of their name and location should bring up some information about them.  Even if they don’t have social media accounts, information such as Run or Walk races should come up as well as property owned, or a list of last addresses. If nothing comes up, that could be worrisome. There is too much digital information on all of us. Having none is suspicious.


The bottom line – if you are dating someone new and anything about them feels uncomfortable, or questionable, back up and back out. If you are unsure, or feel that you are jumping to conclusions, set up a double date with a trusted friend or family member to confirm the red flags you see. You are important to many people.  You have the right to be safe, and the right to be loved. Value yourself first and foremost. Real and lasting love takes time. Give yourself the time and space to find the right one, not the one right now!

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Written by
Robin & Heather
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Written by Robin & Heather

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