Divorce is no joke. It’s a strain on your finances, stress levels, and even mental health. After the papers are signed, many divorced women are ready for a break and just need to have some fun, looking for ways to relieve all that built-up stress.

However, there are some people who could be looking to take advantage of your current position. Here we’ll discuss six of the reasons men may think of a divorced woman as easy prey.

1. Vulnerability.

As a divorced woman, you can easily become vulnerable, looking for comfort in all the wrong places. Some men may prey on this fact, offering an ear to listen and arms to hold when you feel lonely. It’s possible a good man really wants to give this comfort genuinely, but you need to be careful about how much you’re putting yourself out there.

Dating scams can wreak havoc on your life, so you need to be careful about whom you’re dating and even interacting with online. Predators can easily mark a vulnerable woman as prey for everything from sexual assault to financial cons, so any request for money or expensive gifts are always a warning sign. If you suspect a man is targeting you with a scam, you should report it to the police immediately.

2. Lack of Sex Life.

Some men may think a divorced woman is sex-starved or searching for sexual partners, given her newly-found freedom. It’s quite possible that as a woman who isn’t in a monogamous relationship you’re craving physical attention, but it’s wise to exercise caution when dating and ensure the man isn’t simply there for an easy sexual encounter.

3. Easily Manipulated.

Due to the potential of being very vulnerable, a man may think you can easily be manipulated into taking care of him or think you need him to attain a happy life again. You should think twice before dating anyone, making sure you truly know who you are thinking of going out with. Any sign of a man trying to get you to do something you don’t really want to, whether it is a sexual favor or buying something you don’t really want, should make you head for the hills.

4. No Commitment.

Sometimes, a man may falsely think you are looking for a relationship with no strings attached. Since you just left a long-term relationship, you may seem like easy prey for a casual hookup or regular date without the commitment. If this is not what you’re looking for, the desire for a relationship should be communicated from the beginning, even if you’re not ready for one immediately.

5. Pursuit of Happiness.

It’s a common misconception that as a divorced woman, especially if the divorce is very recent, you aren’t happy and are searching for a reason to be. There are men out there who believe a single woman is looking for a man to make her happy. The best defense to this misconception is to learn to be happy without being with a man – this will not only guard your heart, but also make you more appealing to the opposite sex.

6. Searching for Approval.

A divorce can make you feel rejected, or as if you have made terrible decisions in your past. The immediate effect of this is that you may try to gain approval from others to feel better about yourself. You should be very careful about the language you use to describe your day-to-day life, trying to avoid any impression that you feel helpless and need to be saved.

Picking up a new hobby and making new friends who also enjoy that activity can help to beat the feeling that there’s no one out there who shares the same interests as you. This also helps to establish your own identity in your own habits and activities you enjoy, preventing the misconception that you need to gain approval from a man to be happy.

Avoiding the pitfalls of dating as a divorced woman essentially hinges on whether you are comfortable with yourself and exude the self-confidence that comes with learning how to be happy as a single woman. Performing your due diligence when considering a date will help to guard against any con men looking for financial gain or someone to assault. As you heal from the havoc the experience has left you with, approaching the dating world with a slow and steady hand is always the best way to avoid getting hurt again.

About the Author: Emily Andrews is a marketing communications specialist and writer. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless.