Red Flags To Look Out For If You Start Dating Someone Newly Divorced

Growing up, we've probably been told that our prince or princess charming will come riding on a white horse. They'll be the person of your dreams who has it all: the looks, the wealth, and the personality. You'll get to know each other, have no problems, and slowly ride off into the sunset. When we go out into the dating world to seek this idealized person in mind, we slowly begin to realize that reality is different.

In reality, everybody has baggage, and few can form new relationships without carrying the burdens from the past. You'll find people burdened by carrying the weight of trust issues, self-esteem issues, and many more. Every human has flaws, and it's healthy to acknowledge and accept them. As long as someone's baggage doesn't create a toxic or abusive relationship and they're willing to work on their problems, it might be worth pursuing a relationship to see where it goes. Before you get into a relationship with anybody, you should consider if you're capable of handling their baggage.

Emotional baggage is one of the main reasons people have qualms about dating a newly-divorced person. It's completely normal to feel reluctance towards entering someone's life when they have so much going on already. If you're not prepared to deal with that, there's nothing wrong with walking away. But if you're emotionally ready to get into that relationship, you should know there's nothing wrong with that either. Just look out for a few red flags to protect yourself.

Their behavior towards their ex can be a red flag

You might think trash-talking their ex is a good sign because it seems like they're over the marriage. Depending on how it ended, some bitterness might be warranted, but if they're constantly bad-mouthing their ex, they could be harboring a lot of complicated feelings towards their ex and aren't ready to do it all over again just yet. 

Talking badly about their ex can also be a way to deflect the blame for a failed marriage onto them. "If a potential mate describes their exes as crazy instead of taking 50% of the responsibility . . . [there's a good chance you could] become their next 'crazy ex,'" LMFT Amber Trueblood told Verywell Mind. As licensed clinical social worker Keresse Thompson explained to Best Life, "If someone shows absolutely no self-awareness or no lessons that they learned from their previous situations, that can be a huge red flag."

You should also be wary of how often they're talking to their ex, as talking to their ex all the time could mean they haven't let go of them. Ideally, they should stay in touch without blowing up each other's phones. Another red flag to keep an eye out for is whether or not they're answering your questions. When you first begin a relationship naturally have a lot of questions, and your partner should be willing to answer them. Otherwise, they might be living in disbelief or hiding something. 

Consider other variables before you date

Before getting into a relationship with someone who's been recently divorced, you should know what you want out of it to set the right pace. Sometimes, a newly-divorced person might be looking for a fun rebound who gets them back in the dating game, while others might be seeking a serious relationship. If they're looking for a rebound while you're looking for something serious, they might not be willing to put in the effort you require — here's how to tell if you're the rebound

Also, pay attention to their relationship with their kids. If they're not on good terms with them or if they choose to not be a part of their lives, it can be a massive red flag because it points to a lack of sense of responsibility and empathy. If either or both of you have kids there are some things you need to know before dating. You should also consider how the kids feel towards each other and the relationship to avoid overcomplicating things.

Although baggage is normal, you shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the problems of a failed marriage. Being overly possessive, and jealous are glaring indications of unresolved past trauma. Initially, you might find their over-attentiveness cute, but as Trueblood expressed to Verywell Mind, "Later in the relationship, it's easier to look back and reinterpret that constant attention or overboard generosity as desperate insecurity."