Getting back into the dating game after a painful divorce is never easy, and the proliferation of womanizers looking to take advantage of your vulnerability only makes things worse. If you're just starting to dip your toes back into the dating pool after a recent divorce, you need to be able to tell whether the guy who shows up at your door to whisk you back into the world of romance really is the Prince Charming you've been hoping for or if he's simply a smooth Casanova in disguise.
It all starts innocently enough. You've just met a man who, at least on the surface, seems to be your dream guy. He's attractive, funny, charming, successful and his smile -- let alone the thought of his caress -- makes you weak in the knees. You go out on a date or two, and he's nothing short of perfect. He treats you like a queen, compliments your sense of style and tells you all of the things that you've been longing to hear from a guy.
So how do you know this guy's the real thing and not just some womanizer who's going to disappear after your first slumber party? While the only way to know for sure is to pass the test of time, here are a few red flags that would definitely indicate your new man's a womanizer:
1. He has a reputation. If your girlfriends have warned you that he uses women and throws them away, you need to listen to them and know he's most likely a womanizer. Granted, there's a small chance that you are the woman who can change him, but even if you do, you'll just wind up spending the rest of your relationship worrying he's going to revert back to his old womanizing ways. It's very likely a guy like this will.
2. He moves fast. Before you've even had a chance to meet his friends and family, he's telling you that you're the woman of his dreams and he's been waiting his whole life just to find you. While this is certainly exciting and thrilling, how could he possibly know that this quickly? It's much more likely that he's just in love with love (best case), or he's just trying to get one thing from you (you know what it is). And this womanizer wants to reach his goal as soon as possible.
3. He's over the top with the romance. We all love romantic gestures, whether it be a hand-written poem or a bouquet of flowers delivered to our desks at work, but if your guy constantly wants to jet you off to the islands for a romantic weekend or often surprises you with lavish jewelry, then he's most likely had plenty of practice. While you might be thinking that you're just graciously accepting his gifts, to him, these come with expectations on your part.
4. He only has eyes for you… and anything else in a skirt. If you notice that your guy is checking out other women, or worse, flirting with the waitress, hostess, barista, etc., then he's most likely a womanizer. As he's telling you how beautiful you are and that you're exactly the type of woman for him, he's already thinking about how the woman that just walked by fits the same description. He's not lying -- the womanizer feels this way about every woman that strikes his fancy -- you just happen to be part of the (very populated) crowd.
5. He seems too good to be true. He's just a little too smooth, a little too charming, a little too perfect and that little voice in your head is telling you he's done this before, probably many times over. While you may be tempted to ignore that nagging little voice and head upstairs to his apartment, just know that your instincts are more attuned to the situation than you think. It's likely that as he's telling you over coffee that he has a busy day ahead and can't spend more time with you, you'll be hitting yourself wishing you had listened to your gut last night.
Of course, this isn't an all-inclusive list, nor should any of these traits be considered an immediate deal breaker. However, if any of the above are hitting close to home, your best bet is to take things slow and see if your guy survives the test of time. True womanizers rarely can.
Jane Garapick knows firsthand what it's like to have a broken heart, a broken dream and a broken you. She writes about adventures on the rocky road to finding Mr. Right at www.gettingtotruelove.com. To get started on your own personal journey to true love, download Jane's complimentary guide "Find Your True Love: 10 Simple Steps to Getting the Love You Want ... and Deserve."
Click through the slideshow below for dating dealbreakers: