However, it may be an amicable separation and the divorce proceedings may be a formality free of additional stress or pressure.

And if you truly care about this woman, keep in mind that her marriage, divorce and family situation are simply part of what makes her who she is.

Instead, "it's usually clear when you're not ready," says Susan Pease Gadoua, a therapist and author of .

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That said, don't let a fear of your children being upset or disapproving stop you from getting out there if you feel ready to.

Says Gadoua, "too many women hide behind their kids as an excuse not to date." Be upfront and respectful, but don't apologize for wanting to date.

"My rule of thumb is to meet in person within two weeks of making online contact." Might as well find out as soon as you can if the chemistry is virtual—or real.

Of course, when you do meet, take basic safety precautions.

Dating a women who is going through a divorce can be a complicated endeavor, particularly if there are children involved or her soon-to-be ex-husband wants to make things difficult.

He may not be prepared to see his wife dating anyone else and give the both of you a hard time.

Once the idea of going on a date comes into your mind and you don't want to chase it out again, you're at least ready to start, she says. The idea is that you should consciously decide how you want to proceed," which will in turn inform how you go about meeting people.

If it's truly awful, take a step back and wait some more. Gadoua, who runs dating workshops for women, asks them to free-associate words that come to mind when they think of "dating." Not surprisingly, words like "awful" and "dreadful" come up.

A divorcée may also feel that there's something "wrong" with her since her marriage fell apart, says Dr. If that's the case, start training yourself now to recognize self-sabotaging thoughts, and when self-doubts start to pop up, "visualize a giant red stop sign, or a voice yelling, 'Stop! Possibly the last time you dated there wasn't even an Internet, much less Internet dating.