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Dating During A Divorce (or Separation) - by Christine Schaap

A variety of reasons exist for why men decide to startdating immediately after their wife has moved out. For one, they’re lonely andthink that having another woman paying attention to them will make them feelbetter. Secondly, they think that perhaps seeing them with another woman willmake their wife jealous and want to come back. Thirdly, they are anxious to geton with their life and figure replacing their wife with someone else as quicklyas possible is key to their future happiness.


My experience working with left-behind spouses is that it’shealthy to take a year or more off from relationships. Being with another womanmay be immediately gratifying, but it doesn’t allow you to heal. You need timeto process what’s happened, learn from it, and grow as an individual before youget involved in another romantic relationship. Jerry McGuire sold everyone abill of goods with the classic quote, “You complete me.” We’re not supposed tocomplete each other; we’re supposed to be emotionally healthy, whole individualsthat complement one another.


Seeing you with another woman may very well make your wifejealous, but at whose expense? I hear men say that they just want to casuallydate and not get serious right away. Okay, but what about the emotions of thewomen they are so casually taking to dinner? Do they matter? Or are they merelya pawn in your relationship game?


On the other hand, maybe the woman you had drinks with lastnight isn’t really divorced, but just out ‘looking’ so that she has her safetynet in place when she’s ready to jump herself. Or maybe she’s already escapedfrom her marriage only to discover the pool of desirable (and available) menout there is very small. She is showering you with affection – to which you arevery open – but suddenly you’re being introduced to her kids, her parents, hergirlfriends and she’s planning your weekends. You’re caught in a seriousrelationship before you are ready. When you try to pull away, you discover thatall this attention comes at a price. The recently left-behind spouse has no ideawhat a vulnerable position he is in.


Don’t forget the possibility that you and your wife mightreconcile. I’ve lost count of the number of my clients whose wives decided tostop the divorce less than a week before the final court date. When you add to itthe number of women that change their minds about the marriage within the firstyear after a divorce, there’s a fairly good probability that your wife willwant to reconcile. But what if you’re already in a serious relationship withsomeone else? It happens – a lot.


And what about your children? If your wife has been seeingsomeone else, your children really need you right now to be the stableinfluence in their life while their mother searches for her identity. I’m notsaying you should never date again, but consider your motivation for dating. Isit because you’re lonely and miserable and want someone to take the pain away?Or is it because you’ve worked through your grief, accepted it, and are readyto share your life with someone else because it’s so full and you have so muchto give?

Christine Schaap is the co-creator of Path Partners.com, an online membership community for men and women who desire a fresh start. Many times people reach a point in their jobs, health, or relationships that causes them to ask, “Is this all there is?” If you feel stuck and sense it’s time for a change, check out our free membership and put yourself on a clear path toward a fulfilling and rewarding life.

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