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#770865 05/14/04 02:06 PM
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Hi folks,
I am wondering what people think of the idea of dating while in the process of divorcing. My stbxw and I have been physically apart for over 4 months and emotionally apart for 6 months.

I feel that I am finally turning the corner and becoming a more confident single man rather than a discarded married man (my wife left me for another man). I never cheated on her and never considered it, but she had a multi-year affair and eventually left me to be with the OM, whom she plans to marry when the divorce is final.

I am not talking about a hot romance leading to marriage or anything big. I am thinking of things like dinner, dancing, hiking, attending an arts fair, and similar companship type things. I am not seeking passion, at least not yet. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" />

Will the fact that I am still married be viewed as though I am disloyal to my vows? I never imagined myself being in this situation, but then I never imagined my wife cheating on me as badly as she did.

Your thoughts on dating during the divorce process will be appreciated.

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I'm personally against it and wouldn't date someone who was not yet divorced.
I believe everyone contributed to a divorce, whether or not they realized it. Sometimes our choices in a mate led to a D, or our actions within the M.
I believe that I have alot of work to do on myself before I can enter a healthy relationship.
Too many people jump from one bad relationship to another, without realizing how much baggage they carry.
I want to lighten my load before I get into a new relationship. Can you say the same?

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Baaaaaaaaad, bad, bad, bad idea.

I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all, but even tho you've "turned a corner," you aren't out of the maze, by a long shot.

Will the fact that I am still married be viewed as though I am disloyal to my vows?

Yup, technically. You're either single or your married, no matter what process is going on. Yes, there's a difference in motive and intent and I guess that's why people do date before their divorce is final.

That's the one regret I have: I was separated from my x-H for 2+ years and one month from the divorce, and I started seeing someone....only for friendship, not romance...like you said. Really, really wish I would have waited...not for anyone else's opinion, but for myself.

I think you'll be happier with yourself in the long run, if you get outta the maze altogether and give yourself time to heal. Harley and most experts say 2 years from the divorce. It's been 2 years since that relationship (the guy I dated) and honestly, I wish I would have waited until now to start.

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Newley, you make some interesting points, but I am not sure they apply to all situations. While I did some things to harm the marriage, nothing I did comes close to justifying the affair my wife had. The marriage was destroyed by her affair, and that was and is something beyond my control. The affair is about her problems, not marital problems.

I am not sure I can lighten my load much further. I have attended a number of classes and lectures concering divorcing and I have spent a huge amount of time assessing my part in the marriage and even in the divorce.

I have no desire to spend the next 6-12 months waiting so as to satisfy some arbitrary standard. Yet, I realize that immersing myself in a heavily romantic relationship is not something I am ready for.

This is all very confusing.

<small>[ May 14, 2004, 03:52 PM: Message edited by: JustinExplorer ]</small>

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Justin -

I am in the minority on this issue I think. I don't think it's a bad idea - UNLESS - you can truly say - 1) my divorce is going to happen, 2) I am not in love with my stbx anymore, 3) You are emotionally ready to start a relationship without excess baggage - i.e. don't project your stbx's problems, issues on the other person, and 4) you can recognize any emotional vulnerability you may have.

I remember lurking around this board when I started contemplating divorce. I wanted to see what others were doing - how did they know they were ready for divorce. The best advice - You Will Know. It's true. When I decided to file, I was sick of my H and was ready to live life without him, even if it meant I would be alone forever. Anything was better than being his wife. (I know, harsh words, but I lived toooo much drama!)

When I did start dating, I went out for a few dates - just movies, dinner, lunch etc. Nothing big. I also made it known if these gentlemen were looking for a future wife - it wasn't me. I simply am not ready for that type of relationship. You have to gauge a NUMBER of factors before you just jump out there. I think that's why a lot of people say don't do it until everything is final. There are single people who won't date anyone who is separated because they always run the risk of having their emotions hurt because of a reconciliation.

They guy I am currently dating, while not a divorcee, did just end a relationship several months prior to our meeting, and I stopped to ask him - "If you think there is a possibility you will reconcile, please go the opposite direction. My STBXH and I are NOT getting back together and I am not going to spend time with someone where this may be an issue.

Just be sure to weigh both sides of this argument. I can relate to both sides very easily. I opted to date mainly because I had spent the last 1 1/2 separated from my H.

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I agree with newly and Mrs. O... very much so. Any expert, not only Dr. Harley, whose worked with divorced people, will advice AT LEAST a 1-2 year healing period. Also, a lot of people jump back into relationships because they think that's what they need to be healed, happy, and whole again. It's much better to first be healed, happy, and whole and to then enter a relationship with another healed, happy, whole person. I believe that most people have that misconception that dating someone is what will make them heal and be happy. That often leads to disappoinment and/or a poor dating choice.

For me, I would not date a man going through a divorce and I would not date a man only 6 mos. out of a marriage. That is not very much time at all. It might seem like it to you, but it's really a short amount of time. I also wouldn't date a man whose wife had left him... unless it's been at least 2... probably more like 4=-5 years so that I knew he'd really worked though adn dealt with all the pain, anger, etc. of the betrayal and the divorce.

To be brutally honest, I wouldn't date a man who said, "I have no desire to spend the next 6-12 mos. waiting" because to me, that sounds as if you just want a woman and want one soon... and aren't willing to be patient and/or to enjoy and experience life without one, which makes me wonder if you view a relationship as the key to your happiness and fulfillment... which is scary because that's alot of expectation to put on a relationship and is one of the expectations that often leads to a bad marriage and/or divorce.

There is no hurry, and it'd be far better to give yourself more time than you need to "recover" than not enough time. You are very, very vulnerable right now and an innocent dinner is not really that big of a deal, but I think it could easily become far more becuase I think that you are really craving a relationship right now... which is normal, but most wouldn't recommend it... ESP. because YOU ARE STILL MARRIED!! At least, if anything, wait until you're officially divorced!

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Wasn't trying to go by an arbitrary number....

Just wanted to share my experience...and give you the perspective of someone who is further down the road than you currently are....and yes, it's not everyone's opinion. However, I bet the majority of divorced/separated people who dated early on, would agree. Most...but not all.

It's totally up to you. You will have to reap whatever consequences...good or bad...that your choice has. Just remember....when you start dating, there is someone else's heart that could be involved besides yours....just a friendly reminder.

Good luck!

<small>[ May 14, 2004, 04:52 PM: Message edited by: Ms.O ]</small>

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"> The marriage was destroyed by her affair, and that was and is something beyond my control. The affair is about her problems, not marital problems. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I'd bet your wife thought the marriage was already destroyed (due to the nonexistent marital problems) before she had her affair.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"> Will the fact that I am still married be viewed as though I am disloyal to my vows? </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Yes, and it would make you no different than your wife, in my opinion. You are willing to divorce over her disloyalty, but yours would be excusable?

Did you try Plan B?

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Dating while YOU are still married is adultery. Even though you are separated, some states don't accept seperation. Do you want to be like your wife, and commit adultery?

As for myself, I am divorced since June 2003. I haven't dated, don't want to date until I know that I am able to be myself, handle a relationship with someone special. Like the Harleys said, you should wait at least 1 year after your divorce before dating. I will say, recently, I have been on the internet christian dating sites, and am talking to some guys. Nothing serious, nothing about dating, just to talk. I have a friend that I talk to in person, a male. Nothing about dating, nothing about relationship, just talking. I am not ready to date, just want someone to talk to. Talk to them with ideas I have, help me solve problems that I have with the ex and situations. Nothing more.

I still have some feelings towards the ex, but I don't wish him any harm. He is wayward in his mind, and I know that he is going to get burned. That is going to be his problem.

Wait till the marriage is ended. You never know what could come in the future. Your wife could come back, and do you really want to say to her, I have been with another woman, and I may have to have STD testing, AIDS testing done. This is the situation that I am in. My ex had sex with the other woman while we were married. And he didn't tell me that he had sex, until after we had relations. So my gyn has me check every year. For the next 10 years. My ex of course won't have himself checked, for he doesn't feel he has anything, just the wayward mind. But he has no remorse about infecting me with his OW diseases.

So be truthful to God. Be truthful to yourself. No dating. Find groups to join. Be in a good church, do activites. Find things that you enjoy and find yourself. That is the most important thing for you to do right now.

Read the Harleys books, don't date until after 1 year of the divorce.

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by Faith4me:
<strong> Dating while YOU are still married is adultery. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Adultery: Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse. (Dictionary definition.)

As well, adultery as used in the Bible, refers to sexual intercourse.

Dating need not include sexual intercourse! Dating while separated may be defined as being unfaithful to one's vows, but it's not "adultery."

And while we may have strong opinions regarding this (whether it's right or wrong), using the wrong word to describe it doesn't necessarily help.

<small>[ May 14, 2004, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: Ms.O ]</small>

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LoveMyEx,

--I also wouldn't date a man whose wife had left him... unless it's been at least 2... probably more like 4=-5 years so that I knew he'd really worked though adn dealt with all the pain, anger, etc. of the betrayal and the divorce.

TR--I know some folks who even after 4-5 years past the divorce still haven't dealt with the issues--of why the marriage actually ended--I also know some who after 20 years past divorce never worked through the issue's and carried those issue's into their subsequent marriages--as well other issues that their wife leaving them left them with--like they won't trust their spouses--even same sex friends--they don't want them working or doing anything away from the home that could lead to the spouse actually coming into contact with other people--other than family-because they just MIGHT leave them for someone else--like their previous spouses have done--

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by LoveMyEx:
<strong>To be brutally honest, I wouldn't date a man who said, "I have no desire to spend the next 6-12 mos. waiting" because to me, that sounds as if you just want a woman and want one soon... and aren't willing to be patient and/or to enjoy and experience life without one, which makes me wonder if you view a relationship as the key to your happiness and fulfillment... which is scary because that's alot of expectation to put on a relationship and is one of the expectations that often leads to a bad marriage and/or divorce.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">This is pretty key, in my opinion. Even the fact that you view the healing/adjustment period as "waiting" is a bit telling, Justin.

There are lots and lots and lots of things you can do with your time, and this includes social things. If you're at a loss to understand how you can live a satisfying life on your own, then you are not ready to begin another relationship. (Interdependence can only be built on independence.)

And personally, I think that if you're not ready for "serious" dating, you're not ready for "light" dating. Emotions do not always follow one's planned agenda.

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by LoveMyEx:
<strong>I also wouldn't date a man whose wife had left him... unless it's been at least 2... probably more like 4=-5 years so that I knew he'd really worked though adn dealt with all the pain, anger, etc. of the betrayal and the divorce.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">My wife left me almost four years ago now, and I was definitely not ready to begin another relationship even a year ago. I think I'm only now getting to the point where I am ready, and I'm sure I could still be fooling myself.

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by GnomeDePlume:
<strong> This is pretty key, in my opinion. Even the fact that you view the healing/adjustment period as "waiting" is a bit telling, Justin.

There are lots and lots and lots of things you can do with your time, and this includes social things. If you're at a loss to understand how you can live a satisfying life on your own, then you are not ready to begin another relationship. (Interdependence can only be built on independence.)

And personally, I think that if you're not ready for "serious" dating, you're not ready for "light" dating. Emotions do not always follow one's planned agenda. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Amen, preach it! That's it in a nutshell!! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Big Grin]" src="images/icons/grin.gif" /> Very, very good answer!

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Originally posted by AFS:
<strong> ]I'd bet your wife thought the marriage was already destroyed (due to the nonexistent marital problems) before she had her affair.

You are willing to divorce over her disloyalty, but yours would be excusable?

Did you try Plan B? </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">You would lose that bet.

I am NOT divorcing my wife. She left me to get her own place so she could be with the OM. I plan A'd as good as I could, did quite a good one, IMHO. She filed the papers to divorce me. I had to go along with it because this is a nofault state and I have no alternative. She is divorcing me so she can be with the OM and marry him.

I think there is a big difference between motives and actions when comparing her and me.

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I get the picture.

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Another "oldtimer" here...

And I have to add my voice to the chorus of "don't do its" that are piling up.

It depends, of course, on how long you were married, but 6-12 months is not totally unreasonable or arbitrary.

At the urging of some friends who thought I needed to "get back on the horse," I returned to the bar scene about 4 months after my XW moved out, and started dating very casually. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Roll Eyes]" src="images/icons/rolleyes.gif" />

I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't emotionally even close to being ready for that, so I swore off dating for a year.

Sounds crazy, right?

The thing is, when I finally started dating again, I had a whole different perspective. The year off really helped me figure out a lot of things about myself and what I wanted from even a casual relationship.

In retrospect, taking that year off was a good decision.


As to whether you're being "disloyal to your vows," I'd have to say that yes, you are. By dating other women, you're essentially breaking a promise that you made to your STBX in front of "almighty god and these witnesses," if you had the traditional wedding.

You didn't just make those vows to her, you made them to yourself and to all the other people who were present at the wedding.

It is a small consolation, but if you avoid dating until the divorce is final, at least you'll be able to say "hey, I held up my end of the bargain."

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I think I figured out I was ready to date a little over a year after my divorce was final. I had been separated for about 3.5 years before the divorce became final.

And I chose <img border="0" title="" alt="[Roll Eyes]" src="images/icons/rolleyes.gif" /> to date a man who had been divorced no where near long enough. And it showed. Was not a good idea.

Give yourself some time.

Once, I read Terry Waite's autobiography. He was the secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury and was taken captive in Iran where he was a prisoner for 5 years. The one thing that most jumped out at me was a paraphrase from the writings of Augustine:

To have peace, you must know yourself. To know yourself, you must be alone.

Take some time to find peace.

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Well said Cinderella. Well said.

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Think of the possible women you would be dating not just of yourself.

These women are dating you and most are looking for MR Right, a long term relationship, maybe sex, maybe eventually marriage, maybe children.

So, why waste thier time when you cannot offer them any of this? Dating them, even casually, can lead to thier pain and hurt due to thier ideas and expectations.

Don't even think of "leading women on" by "friendhip dating".

Just meet some good men friends and do activities with them. What is the point of dating women if you have nothing to offer them at this point.

Stick with your men friends until such time as you are:

1. Divorced
2. Ready for a relationship
3. Ready to get involved even to marriage

It will be better for you and HURT the women less that you date. Women want to date AVAILABLE men and you are in no way nearly available.

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