What we forget is that even if a person hasn’t just exited a relationship, aside from knowing our own boundaries (which can rule out certain things that we’ve already made a decision on in advance of), we cannot get all of the answers upfront or have someone tell us what ‘the ending’ will be.
Each situation is different but what you can say with a high degree of certainty is that someone who’s just fallen out of their marriage, who’s still in reconciliation negotiations, who’s still very influenced by their spouse, and who has been separated for a long time ‘just because’, is going to bring pain into your life.
I get so many emails asking me about whether to date someone who is separated, recently divorced, or even fresh out of a breakup that I wanted to tackle this tricky subject.
We’re often scared (even if nothing has actually happened yet with a particular person) that we may be letting our last chance or even best chance saloon slip away.
Yes it’s a ‘risk’ but it’s little more risk than in any other dating situation. Don’t assume that because you’re being pursued or that there’s certain future talk that it ‘must’ mean that they’re over their ex and ready for a relationship. don’t assume that because they’re separated or divorced that have a Ph D in commitment or that you’ll get the same. You remember what it’s like in those first few days, weeks and even months depending on how long the relationship went on for – you may still have been in touch, arguing, negotiating, or even hooking up. You can of course chance your arm but then you have to back away when it becomes clear that the ex files haven’t been closed. If you’ve already determined your boundary on this issue, don’t bust it, I know of quite a few people who were told to wait and come back when they’d had some more time/got divorced. Most people go through a breakup or few, and it’s not a ‘flaw’ to be separated or divorced hence there’s no reason to go Some relationships and marriages don’t work out.
We can take the period of time since the breakup into account but we also need to note whether actions matching words are amounting to somebody who is available for a mutual, consistent, balanced (no pedestals / controlling), progressing relationship that can blossom into increasing intimacy and commitment. It’s very easy to look at a person’s age, background, what they earn, their relationship history, their appearance, their divorce, and whatever else we’re focusing on, and rule them in or out on this basis, but in the end, regardless of any of these things, we still have to assess our own boundaries and do the due diligence. If you typically struggle with the uncertainty that comes with being with somebody who still has their previous relationship to resolve, or you know based on experience that you’ve had your fingers burned by being involved with separated or recently broken up people, don’t go there.
spend with a person means that we get to see if actions and words match and whether what we thought or they suggested was on the cards is actually happening. A person cannot promise not to hurt you or that their marriage breaking up isn’t going to affect you hence if the possibility of either of these happening sends fear ripping through you, know your own boundaries instead of playing the breakup slot machine again. ‘Recent’ is of course subjective but it’s safe to say that if you become involved with someone who is weeks or even days out of their prior relationship, you’re gonna get some blowback.
We may be imagining all sorts of problems that may or may not exist or we’re rationalising our own boundaries, values, and even prior experiences of being in one of these situations (so knowing that we may struggle with the emotional consequences) and are thinking along the lines of, ‘Well…
I’m of a certain age so I need to prepare myself for turning a blind eye to any code amber / red actions and indications because people in this age group tend to be recently broken up / separated / divorced‘. There’s no easy answer to the question of what the ‘right time’ is for dating a separated or recently divorced person.
In the situations where it work, the separated party overestimated their readiness and actually, part of the reason they dated had been to avoid their feelings about the demise of their marriage.
Avoid falling into the trap of not seeing the wood for the trees: There are people left brokenhearted due to being involved with partners who were still affected by a breakup or divorce that happened anything from months to before.