How to know when to start dating after divorce.

How Long Should You Wait to Date After Divorce?

That might depend on how you answer these questions. Here’s how to know when it’s time to start dating after divorce.

How to Know When It's Time To Start Dating After Divorce |


At some point after your divorce or separation, you’re probably going to want to start dating again. So how do you know when the time is right? When is it appropriate to start dating again after your divorce?

I just did a Facebook Live chat about this very topic over on the Round and Round Rosie Facebook page, lots of women weighed in with their own experiences. You can click over and still view the video on the Facebook page.  

So back to the topic, when should you start dating after divorce? Way back in the 70’s when my parents got divorced, no one started dating until after their divorce was legally final and divorce papers were signed. Divorce was scandalous enough all by itself. 

And if you started dating before your divorce was final, well then you truly were a fallen woman. 

Thankfully, a lot has changed about divorce since the 70’s. First off, the stigma is gone, probably because divorce is so incredibly common.

And dating? At least in LA, where I live, I’ve found that most people started dating once they were separated. In my own experience, both my ex and I started dating other people once we’d filed our separation papers with the courts. 

But with no exact rules for when to start dating, when should you open yourself up to a relationship? 

Simply put. When you are emotionally ready. 

Looking back, I started dating way too soon. I wasn’t prepared for those first few dates and/or relationships I had after we separated. I was emotionally raw and still grieving the end of my marriage. I wasn’t strong enough and should have waited longer.

In short. I wasn’t emotionally ready. 

As Dr. Margaret Rutherford, a psychologist specializing in relationships and divorce put it, “My feeling is that if people don’t wait long enough to change themselves, they’ll be attracted to the same kind of person. The length of time isn’t as important as; what are you learning?

Want to know if you are ready? Before you start dating again, ask yourself these questions.

1. Are you in a good place emotionally?

Are you emotionally stable enough to be a partner again? If you are suffering from depression, anxiety,  or panic attacks, get counseling and support first. Work on getting strong emotionally. Dating won’t solve these problems but only mask them or make them even worse.

2. Is your marriage truly over?

If there’s a chance that you and your spouse will reconcile, don’t drag another person into that drama. No one needs to be an extra in your marital drama. 

3. Are you dating to “get back at your ex?”

If you’re dating to show your ex that you’re still desirable or that you CAN get a date, don’t do it. 

4. Is dating a hiding place to escape from the pain and uncertainty?

Are you throwing yourself into dating to avoid your own pain?Dating again can be like a heady drug. Flirting, romance, the giddy feeling that “wow, someone finds me attractive.”

It can make you feel better about yourself, at least in the short term, to know that you’re not a total troll, especially if you didn’t feel desired in your marriage, but if you’re doing that as a convenient way to not have to pay attention to your own issues, that’s not a path to getting better. 

So how to know when it’s time to start dating after divorce? Take an honest assessment of your emotional health.

If you’re strong and learned from your past mistakes, move forward. But don’t start dating until you’ve done the work you need to do on yourself. 

Yes, dating and meeting someone new is a good thing but make sure you’re emotionally ready or dating again can create more problems than it solves. 

Are we pals on The Facebook? Head over and Like My Page, Round and Round Rosie to get my most recent blog posts when they’re published, plus updates on my Facebook Live sessions (not to mention the things that I find funny across the internet and share with y’all!)


  1. says

    Good advice. When I got divorced I thought wow I’m free I can do what I want and I admit I went wild, I wouldn’t call it dating exactly lol. After that I did start dating and went so far left as to not perpetuate the cycle that is was too much. Eventually, the thing that helped me the most was to make a list of what I didn’t want. It sounds stupid maybe but it was a physical reminder of not going back.
    heidi williams recently posted…Fall Fashion & Beauty Trends We Love And You Will TooMy Profile

  2. says

    I haven’t been divorced but am living with a guy who separated from him wife in the mid 80’s and never bothered to get divorced. Part of the reason is because she’s always sick and stayed on his insurance. So based on my crazy situation, I would say be careful dating someone who is separated and not divorced. They may just stay that way.
    Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski recently posted…What Ever Happened to the Don’t Be a Litterbug Campaign?My Profile

  3. says

    I guess it’s good to assess your emotional health ANYWAY, but I can understand it especially in this instance. Great post, great thoughts. I reckon I’m almost ready (#1 perpetually needs work so, I think I just gotta get on with it!)

  4. says

    I seriously started dating again 7 months after splitting up from my ex husband – I got divorced 2 years later when both my ex and I wanted to marry our new partners. (I’m in the UK ) I had a few dates not long after we went our separate ways – a meal or two, quite pleasant but not anything more serious than that. I needed time to grieve my past relationship & go through the anger as well as continue to provide a stable life for my 3 young babies.By the time I met my now husband I had had enough dates and time on my own to reflect though to know that I truly wanted & was ready for a “proper” relationship – I wasn’t looking for a substitute dad for my children but I knew that who ever dated me would have to also be aware that my commitments would be to my children. I waited a while before introducing him to my children but they hit it off straightaway. I never thought I’d get married again but I’m so happy I did. I was married for 15 years first time round; this time round I’ve been happily married for 12 years so far. 😊
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  5. says

    From a guys perspective, I was too shell-shocked and recovering from a botched suicide attempt to even desire a date for a good three months. Throw in a financial war/custody battle with my ex nor did I have the funds to be too active on the dating scene. The one thing I would tell any man or woman though is if you got blindsided it hurts, stings, etc.. but you will want to date again and it is FUN!
    Gary Mathews recently posted…There is a New Girl in Town!My Profile

  6. says

    Hello @Rosie. Nice article. Kudos to you. There is no specific time limit actually. It all depends upon your mindset how you feel and take these things. Divorce happens for many reasons. One of them is, having some external affair. In this case, you don’t need time to make yourself feel good. You can date your partner on the other day itself. Some people try to get comfort and escape from pain and start dating as you have mentioned here. Yes, it’s a good way to forget the past incidents and start afresh.

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