Finding Love After Divorce: 6 Women Tell their Truths

Finding Love After Divorce: 6 Women Tell Their Truths

Finding love after divorce is like maneuvering through a minefield. After the trauma of separation and starting a new life, it’s hard to believe that one day you’ll be ready to be part of a new relationship. But many people do tackle the dating game and find new soulmates, companions, and surprising friends.

As a divorcee, I have mixed feelings about entering a new relationship. But nobody reacts the same way to divorce. It depends on how your marriage ended and how long it takes you to recover. It also depends on how damaged and traumatized you are after the harrowing experience of ending your union.

I’ve been divorced for 24 years and left the marriage because I was married to an abusive narcissist who also happened to be an alcoholic. Many friends and acquaintances went through similar experiences, but our reactions were all incredibly different. Some of these women have remarried while I, on the other hand, am still single. 

To show you how differently women approach finding love after divorce, I’ve detailed the reactions of six women, myself included. Three of these women found love and are in lasting relationships, one is still in the healing process and can’t imagine ever finding love again, and two, including me, talk about how they healed by finding self-love. 

Hopefully, you will find a reaction that resonates with you. Read on to see what each woman has to say:

“It’s possible to have a second chance” – Heather, Texas

Heather, 53, was married for 25 years and has been divorced for 3. “I always loved him more than he loved me,” she says. “He wasn’t affectionate, except in the bedroom. To me, love felt very conditional.”

Despite this, her Ex was very loving to their kids. Heather tried everything she could to get him to love her more. It took years to realize that she wasn’t at fault. She eventually became more distant and less demonstrative, and her Ex asked her why she had changed.

Despite her experience, Heather does believe one can find that “great love” and have a second chance. Her advice? 

“Don’t rush things or be afraid.”

These days, she has different expectations about her new relationship. “I know myself now; I know what is meaningful for me, and what he wants and needs in the relationship. As a result, I’m a better partner.” 

“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been”– Elisha, San Francisco Bay area

Elisha (not her real name), 44, was married for 7.5 years. She’s been separated for three years and divorced for one and a half. She describes her marriage as “more like a friendship and partnership”.

“We could certainly laugh together and enjoy each other’s company, but that wasn’t enough to weather the difficulties of life and the challenges of raising a child,” she says. Also, for most of the 11 years the couple was together, they only had sex about “half a dozen times”. 

When her marriage crumbled, Elisha reached out to a former boyfriend, with whom she’d had a 5-year relationship in her ‘20s. Although they hadn’t kept in touch, they rekindled their relationship.

Get perspective on where you are. Read “How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Divorce and 4 Signs You are On Your Way.”

When she started dating again, Elisha was careful to prioritize her daughter. “I didn’t want to pressure her to like my new partner or be close to him, so she didn’t meet him until he and I had been dating for a year. After that, she only saw him once or twice a month for the next 2 years. Today, she genuinely likes him and enjoys spending time with him. 

“We continue to take it slow. Love after divorce, when you have a child, means that your needs and wants come second.”

The couple has been together for 3 years now. Elisha admits that, in hindsight, they should have waited 2 to 3 years after her separation. “I healed a lot while we were together and that wasn’t fair to my current partner,” she admits. “I needed time to accept and own my identity and learn how to be a single mother.”

Elisha believes it’s important that your partner understands you and loves you unconditionally. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and I finally feel I’m with the person I should be with,” she says. 

“I now know that romantic love does exist after D.” – Beatrice, San Diego, CA

Beatrice, 60, was married for 19 years. She has been divorced for 12 years. Her Ex was very handsome, with a well-paying job, and very smart. They had a strong physical connection, so she assumed they were meant for each other.

However, she discovered that her Ex was a ‘rageaholic’. She explains: “Every day there were a million small things that made him apoplectic, starting with the alarm clock going off in the morning. Oh, F*#@!, he’d say to greet the day.” For many years in the beginning, Beatrice believed him when he blamed her for his anger. It took a long time before she realized she’d married someone exactly like her mother, who was also “an angry person who found everything wrong and blamed me for it, too. That was an epiphany!” She admits she was so used to being the brunt of her mother’s anger growing up, that when experiencing a similar pattern with her husband, “It didn’t stand out. It felt normal. The message was the same, there was something wrong with ME.”

“I had to find myself and save myself because I felt worthless.”

But the funny thing is, he had to divorce me and break the spell for me to see all this now.

Today, Beatrice has found herself anew. “I know I’ll never sell myself short again,” she says. “I date, but men are not the center of my life. When I date, I am looking for fun and reciprocity, but I am always on the lookout for red flags. Since my divorce, I’ve walked away from two meaningful relationships because of red flags. I was in love with one of those guys, but I did something I never used to do; I prioritized my health and well-being. I didn’t tell myself I could bring him along, change him with my magical powers. I ended the relationship.”

Beatrice does know that romantic love exists. “I’ve experienced it since my divorce. And I thank that man for showing me I am loveable and worthy of being adored. He is not in my life now, but I don’t regret our relationship. And I will NEVER regret getting divorced.”

“Getting divorced was my second chance at life. Now I’m free to love myself and honor what is right. And that is priceless. No one can do that for you.”

Ready to start looking for love after divorce? Consider reading “Divorced and Dating After 50: What Women Must Know.”

“I can’t imagine trusting anyone at this time” – Tracy, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Tracy, 56, has only been divorced for two months since her 26-year marriage ended. “Love was pretty much non-existent throughout our marriage,” she says.  When her Ex was diagnosed as a narcissist early in the marriage, she didn’t pay much attention to the label, but she soon learned that was a mistake.

“He was ‘distracted’ most of the time,” she explained. “This was what he did when he was cheating or longing to have relationships with other women.” Throughout the marriage, Tracy was busy raising their 3 daughters almost exclusively alone, while he was apparently ‘working’.

Now that she’s divorced, Tracy can’t imagine trusting anyone. 

“I don’t trust myself either. I’m afraid that I will always have poor judgment.”

“I’m not sure how to work through this,” she says. “At this moment, I anticipate being alone for the rest of my life. I hope not.”

Help yourself heal. Check out “46 Steps to Ensure Your Divorce Recovery: A Definition and Guide.”

“I have a long list of qualities I seek in my next mate” – TMA, New York City

TMA, 57, was married for 20 years; she’s been divorced for 3 and a half. Her husband ticked off many boxes: “He was smart, educated, even-tempered, kind to animals, and came from a similar cultural background.”

“After 10 years I was dissatisfied with the relationship. My Ex was emotionally unavailable, had addictions he wouldn’t address, and had deceived me in various important ways since we married. 

“I realized that my life was only half over and wanted the next half to be different and better, but I stayed in the marriage as I didn’t want to raise the kids alone.”

“ …When they were in high school, I went back to school, upskilled myself, and began the divorce process.”

TMA did a lot of work to help herself heal. She analyzed what went wrong in her marriage, how she contributed to its breakdown, and what qualities to seek and avoid in a new partner. “I’ve dated extensively to meet different men. I ask plenty of probing questions and listen carefully to the answers,” she says.

She isn’t crazy about dating apps – “they make dating seem soulless and mechanical, but ultimately they’ve worked so far.” Last year she was in a six-month relationship. “It was fun and intimate in a way I hadn’t thought possible”. Although the relationship ended, she was grateful for the experience “and the opportunity to put my marriage and divorce in the rearview mirror”.

“I have a long list of qualities for my soulmate. I sometimes wonder whether my expectations are unrealistic, but I continue dating because hope springs eternal. I’m satisfied professionally and have a huge network of friends and colleagues, including many women, who nourish me. I know I can make it alone, but I hope I won’t have to. Life is much more satisfying when you can share the triumphs and tribulations with a partner.”

How important is romance in a relationship? In a recent survey, 40% of respondents said romance is vital to them in a relationship, and they can’t feel loved without it.

“Finding self-love has been my priority” – Sharon, Johannesburg, South Africa

I’m 63 and have been divorced for 25 years. We cohabited for 7 years and were married for 9. 

I fell in love the moment we met. He looked like Johnny Depp and was extremely successful. Like my dad before him, he was a news photographer and journalist who had won numerous awards. 

Our marriage was eventful and exciting. I worked for a travel company, writing brochures and marketing material, and we traveled extensively. We were the Golden Couple. 

As my Ex was very handsome and successful in his career, he was over-confident. He loved attention from women. He also enjoyed being married to me, as he was a child of a divorced family. I guess he loved me as much as he could, although he didn’t know how to show love. He knew I was besotted and that made him feel secure.

I left him the day he hit me while I was holding our four-year-old. And I never looked back. He tried everything to make me change my mind, but, as a mother, my priorities changed. At the time, all I wanted was to protect my child.

When it comes to finding love after divorce, I’ve had many dates and a few relationships. One lasted less than an hour.

After the coffee date, the man didn’t leave enough money to pay the bill. I refused to see him again after the waiter followed me and made me pay the difference.

For me, finding self-love has been my priority. Although I’ve been tempted to stay in one or two relationships, I haven’t healed enough. I’m not ready to give up the freedom I’ve had for so long, something I celebrate every night with a bubble bath.

Remember, you come first as you rebuild after divorce. Take a look at “100 Must Do’s for the Newly-Divorced, Independent Woman.”


Yes, everyone is different when it comes to finding love after divorce. Some of us welcome new relationships, others don’t and may never, while others need time to recover. There is no fast rule on where you are “supposed to be” after divorce, or how long it takes to heal and start afresh. It’s utterly unique to you. So, take your time, get to know your new self, do what feels right, and remember: you’ll want to love yourself first before you find a new partner, especially if you want the new relationship to last.


Sharon Preston is a writer and editor who has edited numerous lifestyle magazines and ghostwritten several books. She lives in a cottage in Johannesburg, South Africa with her two cats. You can connect with Sharon here:


Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner with them through the emotional and oftentimes complicated experience of divorce and rebirth. We invite you to learn what’s possible for you. 

Schedule your FREE 15-minute consultation with SAS now.


*SAS continues to support same-sex and nonbinary marriage. In this article, however, we refer to your spouse as husband/he/him.

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