Life has taken an interesting turn, hasn’t it? One minute you’re married…the next you’re Googling dating advice for women after divorce.
Whatever happened that led you down this path, it’s okay. Whatever pain you’ve been through, you’re now doing well enough emotionally to think about opening up the door again to love.
But even if you’ve healed from your heartbreak and are ready to dip your toes in the dating pool once again, you may be completely and utterly terrified. The landscape looks completely different from what it did when you were last single…and that may have been decades ago.
Let me reassure you: no matter how much insecurity and doubt you have about dating again, you will quickly gain your confidence and get back on the horse once you get the valuable dating advice for women that I’m about to impart.
And who knows? You might even find more benefits to dating now than you did last time around! You might find dating more fun than when you were in your 20s, simply because the pressure to find a husband is off.
But before we dive in, let me explain why this article will be different from other articles boasting dating advice for women: the advice I’m going to give you is specifically targeting you, sweet lady. You don’t need advice on bar hookups, womanscaping, or how to get a guy to propose.
Those topics might be relevant to a never-married 22-year-old, but you’re at a different place in your life.
So this article is written with you and your specific dating questions and concerns in mind. I know you feel vulnerable and unsure of this rocky terrain, but I’ll make it my personal mission to help you navigate it.
Then vs. Now: How Dating Advice for Women Has Changed Since Your 20s
So much has changed in the past 10, 20, or 30 years since you were last single. The dating world has changed too, thanks to technology like dating apps and texting. You don’t need the same advice that your 20-year-old self would have wanted…or even your daughter or niece today would want.
Chemistry vs. Reliability
In your 20s, common dating advice would tell women to focus on chemistry, that spark. While certainly, we all seek those fireworks with a member of the opposite sex, sizzle isn’t everything in a relationship. Now that you’ve experienced a bit of life, you know that having a partner you can rely on for the long haul, who will be honest and open with you, is as important — if not moreso — than that chemistry.
There’s also less focus on the physical now that you’ve grown into yourself and understand that there is a man out there who will love your upturned nose and your voluptuous thighs. In your 20s, you had less life experience, so maybe you relied on your youthful good looks to help you find a man. But now that you understand truly that beauty is fleeting, but smarts, personality, and confidence will last forever, it changes how you approach dating.
And it goes both ways; you might be attracted to a bald man with love handles. He may worry that he no longer looks like a young Tom Cruise, but all you see when you look at him is his gentleness and intelligence.
What else do you need?
Bad Boys and Husbands? No More!
In your 20s, you were warned to stay away from bad boys (though you wanted them oh, so much). After being divorced, you may have personal experience in what being in a relationship with a bad boy can do to you…and you’re ready to stay away. So that dating advice for women may not have changed much, but fortunately, as men have grown up, there are (hopefully) fewer bad boys than there were in your 20s.
And back then, the focus for many single women was to find a husband.
Been there. Done that! Over it.
While 70% of divorced people get remarried at some point, that still leaves 30% who don’t, either because they don’t find someone or they don’t want to get married. Many women are reluctant to rush back into marriage after the pain of divorce.
That’s a good thing when it comes to dating, actually. Not having the single-track focus on getting married again gives you the freedom to move slowly as you navigate the dating world, and takes pressure off of a new relationship. Whether you decide to move in together or simply live apart in harmony for decades, do what is best for you.
And of course, you probably didn’t have to navigate the world of dating when you have kids when you were in your 20s. Now they’re a big part of your decision-making when it comes to letting a man into your world. Put them first and foremost in your decision making when it comes to dating.
While dating advice for women may have changed over the decades, it’s your instinct you should rely the most on.
What Happened to the Good Old-Fashioned Phone Call?
The tools of dating have also changed in the past years. Today’s single 20-year-old is adept at using dating apps and texting to meet the man of her dreams. But you? You remember the days of picking up the (corded) phone to check that there was a dial tone when the boy you liked hadn’t called. You’re more accustomed to phone calls than text messages, so you’ll need to ramp up in that department.
Yes, things have changed. You’re not the same person you were when you were young, naive, and hadn’t yet gone through the rollercoaster of a long-term marriage. But you’re older and wiser now, and that will play to your advantage as you start dating again.
The best part about dating in your 40s and beyond? You make up the rules. No longer do you have to feel beholden to the social laws of the jungle that you adhered to when you were younger. Date a much younger man. Date a much older man. Don’t date at all. It’s your call. Whatever makes you happy.
Allow me to offer you real, actionable dating advice for women who are exactly where you are in your life: Reinvented. Renewed. Ready.
Online Dating Advice for Women
You’ve heard all about Tinder, and you want nothing to do with it. And yet you’re frustrated because you don’t have an opportunity to meet a man outside of work and the gym. And you don’t want to go there.
Realize that each dating app (and there are dozens!) caters to a different audience. And yes, Tinder probably isn’t for you…unless you’re looking for a hookup. Match.com and eHarmony tend to attract men and women who are more interested in a long-term relationship, and Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, and OKCupid cover the spectrum in between.
What’s the worst that can happen if you give online dating a try?
If nothing else, it gives you the opportunity to practice talking to men and flirting with them. If your interactions with the opposite sex have been arguing with your ex or telling your son to tie his shoes, you might benefit from a little practice in that department.
When it comes to my online dating advice for women after divorce, I say go slow.
While there are many dating apps out there, pick just one to get familiar with how they work. And they’re all different. On Bumble, for example, ladies make the first move, sending a message to a man who reciprocates interest. Other sites let either party initiate the first conversation.
Fill out your profile in detail. While not every man will read what you’ve written, having a detailed profile can at least weed out the ones who do and ensure that only men who fit what you’re looking for actually respond. Some sites like OKCupid have a ton of questions you can answer, all designed to algorithmically help pair you with likely matches.
Choose Your Profile Photos Carefully
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s worth even more on dating apps. Some men will only swipe through your photos before reading your profile (yes, it’s shallow, but you’ll end up doing the same too), so you want to put your best face forward. And take a note from men who do profile pics badly: if you want the impression you make to be that you’re crazy, narcissistic, or just don’t know how to take a good photo, then, by all means, proceed haphazardly.
Otherwise, spend some time flipping through your phone to find those selfies that really make you shine. Or ask a girlfriend to take a few in good, natural light. Aim for a mix of photos, like one of you doing something interesting (hiking), an attractive up-close shot, and maybe one of you with friends.
Avoid photos with your kids in them. Because: creepy.
You don’t want a weirdo looking at them online.
Don’t Invest Too Much in a Conversation
Him: Hey lady. I was drawn to your photo and had to reach out. How are you?
It can be an ego-boost when a man sends you a message. And certainly, it can result in a date in a few days or weeks. But realize that most people on dating sites are talking to multiple people at the same time. It’s a numbers game.
The more men you talk to, especially early on, the better you understand what you do and don’t like. One guy might dive into asking you out for coffee before he’s even had a conversation with you.
Another might bring up 18 points from your written profile, showing how well he’s paid attention.
Still, another might check in with you every morning, wish you a good day…and then disappear.
That’s why I encourage you to look at these conversations as a game. These men need to level up to get your real attention. Find one who’s consistent, who delivers witty banter and engages your brain. That’s the one you want to actually meet.
When You Finally Do Meet…
So you’ve found a guy that lights all your senses, at least via text, and he’s asked you out. That’s great! Congratulations.
But again, I say, take it lightly. A guy can look great on paper — or…digital, as it were — but then fall flat in person. Why? Men give it their all when trying to woo a woman via text. Some might assume that if you’ve agreed to meet them, they’ve got it in the bag, and stop putting out so much effort.
Or else there might be no chemistry. That’s not your fault. It’s just how it is.
Let a friend know where and when you’re meeting this guy. (Hey, you can never be too careful.) Agree to meet in a public place. Coffee shops are great first dates because you can meet during the day, there’s no alcohol involved, and there’s little investment if he’s paying and it doesn’t work out (you don’t feel obligated to stick around like you might after a $50 steak dinner.)
If things go well, you can kiss him on the first date…or not. That’s totally your preference.
If you aren’t feeling it, give him a gentle hug, thank him for the date, then skedaddle. You don’t need to lie and make plans for a future date if you don’t want to see him again. If he puts pressure on you, say something like I had a really great time, but for me, the chemistry just isn’t there.
Who can argue with that?
Get Back on the Horse
You will go on many dates if you invest time in online dating. One bad date doesn’t mean you should give up. Get back on the app and keep looking for Mr. Right. If you get frustrated after a series of bad dates (hey, you’re far from alone), then take a break and spend some time by yourself. Look into other ways to meet men, like mixers and meetups. And be patient! Finding a great guy — no matter the channel — takes time. You’ll find him, I promise. Just follow this online dating advice for women, as well as what your gut…and maybe your friends…tell you.
Dating Advice for Women with Kids
So what happens when you have kids and are dabbling in the world of dating?
It’s a whole different ballgame, but one you absolutely can master. Start by really identifying what you want out of dating. Are you looking for a long-term relationship? If so, consider how that will affect your children. Are they emotionally in a place where they can handle knowing that Mommy is dating?
Some women elect not to date or at least get into a serious relationship until their children have graduated high school and left the nest. I don’t know how easy or reasonable that is.
I believe that you need to be happy and whole in all areas of your life, including both family and love. My dating advice for women with kids?
Don’t be afraid to look for love. Just be extra cautious, knowing you’re not the only one this will impact.
Carve Out Dating Time
Because you likely don’t have your children with you 100% of the time now that you’re divorced, you need to prioritize the time you do have with your children. Dating should happen when you don’t have them with you, as much as possible. If you have them every other week, schedule your dates for the weeks you don’t have them with you.
Make it clear to your kids, yourself, and the men you date that your children absolutely come first.
Be Honest…But Don’t Overdivulge
This will depend on the age of your children, as well as their personalities, but I believe you should be open with them about dating. That doesn’t mean you should rush home from a date and gush out all the gory details to your 6-year-old! But you should be able to tell them when you start dating in general, that Mommy is making new friends. And when you start seeing someone with long-term potential, tell them. Just be fairly certain that the relationship is heading somewhere.
Never lie to your kids.
They’re smart, and they’ll figure you out. Then you will lose their trust, and coming after a divorce that rocked their household? That’s the last thing you want.
Skip a Beat Before Introducing Your New Man
You’re excited to have love in your life again. I get it. But before you present your new man like a Christmas present to your offspring…
Pause a moment.
What’s the rush? If this guy is as good as he seems, he will be around in a few weeks or months. Realize that introducing a man to your kids will have a ripple effect, depending on how they take it. They may immediately go on the defensive, thinking you’re trying to replace their father. In that case, your new boyfriend will have an uphill battle trying to win them over.
Or they may adore him and want to spend lots of time with him. That’s great if things work out, but if they don’t? You’ll have tiny broken hearts to soothe as well as your own.
So my dating advice for women with kids? Wait a while before introducing him to your brood. How long? You’ll know when it’s right. The age, maturity level, and how okay your kids are with their parents being divorced will all factor into the decision.
There’s no fixed dating advice for women with kids because all children are different. You know yours best, so make decisions that are right for your family.
How to Not Get Hurt This Time Around
Ah, if there was one tried and true piece of dating advice for women that would address this subject!
The truth is: you can’t guarantee you won’t get hurt this time. That’s love. It’s about taking risks in the hopes that you will be rewarded with great love.
Don’t use your past marriage or relationship as a measure of what to expect in the future. Actually, it’s a great benchmark to show you what you don’t want and need, so you can keep an eye out for a man who delivers far more of what you’re looking for than the last one did.
Did your ex-husband cheat on you?
Then you can look for the warning signs in future relationships.
Did he never give you physical affection?
You can look for a man who loves cuddling and caressing you.
Knowing what you’ve settled for in the past can help you identify exactly what you want in the future (try making a Dream Guy List!). And Sexy Lady, you deserve exactly what you ask for.
My biggest dating advice for women like you who have been shattered into a thousand pieces by a man in the past?
Allow yourself to love again. Do not be limited by your past. Know that you will not end up with a carbon copy of the man who broke your heart. Trust your intuition. It will lead you to a love greater than you could have ever imagined.
You can read dozens of articles on dating advice for women, but the truth is: you’ll find your own way. How you date will be different than it is for any other single, divorced lady out there.
This can all be part of the process of learning what it means to be single and dating again.
Learn from every interaction and date. If you pay attention, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. Maybe you realize you really like engaging with a man who matches you intellectually. The first guy with an IQ of that of a rock will tell you that you need to seek out smart men.
If a guy moves faster than you’re comfortable with on a first date, you’ll learn that you need to push back and tell him no…or else move on. Another advantage of not being 20 and dating is that you don’t have to be afraid to speak up for what you want. If he’s being touchy-feely and you’re not into it, tell him Back off, jackass!
The date might end abruptly at that point, but then you won’t waste any more time on a guy who isn’t aligned with what you’re looking for.
Give it time. While you’ll quickly get back into the groove of dating, it may take some time to find the right guy. But you will!
While you’re on this journey and looking for more dating advice for women, why not join a community of other women who can relate? Get VIP access to my Sexy Confidence Club, which includes 24/7 access to my exclusive community forum, advanced dating coaching calls, and more dating advice for women resources you won’t find anywhere else!