Sooner or later any conversation about divorce turns to the question of dating after divorce. One of the hottest topics is when to start dating. Opinions vary widely on this ranging from not until at least a year after your divorce to once you have the time and you’re ready.
My present guest, Helen started dating after she had asked for a divorce but because their divorce took so long, it was long before her divorce was final. It was even while she and her husband were still living in the same house. Here’s Helen:
I met my husband on Match.
I was just about to get off Match because there were so many guys that were just urgh! He got pushed to me and he happened to live in the town next to me. We had a ‘phone call and he talked all about his kids and I thought this sounds like a really nice guy.
I’d probably been on Match two months maybe at the most. It wasn’t me. The guys that were reaching out to me, “I live in Florida and I’d be more than happy to move up for you.” I was like, “You don’t even know me what are you talking about?”
It was crazy.
I asked for the divorce in November and I met my husband in April. So it was pretty quick.
I lost a very dear friend over that who said it was too soon, that I shouldn’t be dating.
That bothers me. The one person who said, “You’re dating too soon” knew my situation. She’s my son’s Godmother. She knew the arguments. She knew the issues and it was, “All couples argue” but she didn’t want to see it. I think unfortunately with many women they choose not to see it because it would force them to look at their own marriages and they don’t want to.
I guess I was out there trying to meet someone, but it wasn’t the reason I left the marriage. I was determined to allow my children to see that there are stable marriages like my mother and father’s and everybody else in my family and I wanted them to see there is happiness.
I’ve seen too many of my friends say, “I’m not going to get into a relationship until my kids are out of the house.” I keep saying, “How does that make things better? How does that make you happier?”
So I met my husband and it was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.
He’d been married before too and pretty quickly we knew it was the right thing, so he moved in here because I couldn’t leave the town where I was living because the town pays for my son’s schooling out of district.
He moved in October of 2009. I was officially divorced in November 2010. We got engaged pretty quickly after that. Then there was no sense him having medical insurance and me having medical insurance so without anyone knowing, including our kids, we got married in front of our minister at 11 o’clock on 1.11.11. The only person who knew even to this day was my mother.
We had our “official” wedding July 31, 2011. The only reason I didn’t just elope to Vegas was because my family needed to have an event again and it might be the last event where we’re all together and our kids needed it. And that’s the only reason. Other than that, it just would have been the 1.11.11 ceremony.
In July, we had all the kids in attendance. Instead of taking a honeymoon we took a “family-moon” and we rented a house in Rhode Island and all the kids came.
Part of me is sad because my kids say, “I wish Steppy was our real dad” because he does treat them well. It breaks my heart, but I am just so fortunate that we do have this great relationship and this great marriage.
He has four kids. Two are much older, but we have our five kids on the weekends and they all get along so well. My true test was my son has special needs and if you can’t accept that and you can’t deal with it, I’m out of here because that’s the first thing. It’s been incredible and his kids as well. It was never even questioned. They just came together. It was truly amazing.
The Divorce Coach Says
My own view on dating after divorce is that it’s all about time and timing – it’s about knowing that you have the available time to date and that you’re ready to add another complex aspect into your life. It’s about doing what’s right for you and not about what anyone else thinks you should do.
I like Helen’s observation about her lost friendship and it applies broadly to divorce. If a friend is distancing themselves, it’s easy to assume that they’ve chosen to side with your ex.
Without hard, first-hand evidence such an assumption is more about your insecurities. The more likely explanation is that it’s about your friend’s own insecurities around their marriage. So don’t take it personally. It just is what it is and if you value the friendship, maybe it will revive after some time.
I also love Helen’s comment about showing her children a loving relationship – with two teenagers of my own, I’m very aware that how I approach dating will impact their own dating behavior …
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