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Divorce Recovery and Early Dating: When Is It OK to Start Dating Again?
There is a lot of heat, but very little light generated by the question of when we should resume dating. Some say to wait a year. Some say it’s easy to get a divorce. Some say not to date until the divorce is final. Some say it continues after the marriage is over, even after the judge has signed the papers. Many religions say not to date until the divorce is over. Everyone has an opinion. There is no one size fits all answer.
Early Dating – What Is It and Is It Good?
Early dating can be a very powerful part of your divorce recovery.
Early dating occurs when you start dating again before the divorce is legal or soon after. Early dating is marked by a large amount of “baggage” and attachments to your ex and the life you shared that haven’t been dissolved or eliminated.
Whether this is a “good” thing or a “bad” thing depends on what you want to achieve in your dating life. All in all, if you want to date to enjoy your new found freedom from being attached to your ex, this will be the most fun. If on the other hand, you want to start dating to trigger a response from your ex or to appease your friends and relatives, it will end badly.
Some say you should wait until your marriage is over. Sounds good, but what does it really mean for a marriage to be “done?”
If correct the A Wedding?
Any marriage that ends in reality long before it is formally over.
The marriage ends the moment one of the spouses looks in the mirror feeling calm, calm, well-rested, and consciously and privately declares to himself, “I can’t do this anymore. I have to I can get out.” This happens long before any judge declares the marriage officially over by signing the divorce papers.
It also sets the clock for making a decision to start dating again. In the back of everyone’s mind is the question, “How can I make sure this is a good idea now?”
The One Saying “Date” The One Saying “Don’t Date” – Will They Please Make Up Their Minds?
Don’t count on your friends and relatives to be very helpful.
When seeking advice, you should talk to people you trust. The obvious choices are your friends and family. You believe they have your best interests at heart. But are they? Can they? Apparently not.
Friends and relatives are only people. Of necessity they filter their advice through their own experiences, hopes, fears, and belief systems. The result? A jumbled mess of conflicting advice that reflects their fears and fantasies they wish they were in your situation. In a word, it is useless.
Bottom line: don’t pay attention to what other people advise you to do. Their advice, well-intentioned, is a statement of wilderness agenda for you. Often, their agenda is different from yours.
Your job is to explain what YOUR agenda and expectations are and not to sabotage them by trying to move the process of developing the relationship with too fast.
Three Rules for Dating in Early Life
Early dating is not without potential problems, especially impatience.
The 12 to 18 months before and after the divorce are the last sacred! Treat them as a gift from the relationship gods. The goal of this time of transition is to re-establish balance, personal power, perspective, self-love, and stability back into your life.
What matters is not what you are ACTbut what are you do not do it. Three “rules” will help you make your early dating experience a success.
Rule #1: Slow Things Down Wow below: In the first 6 months of dating, limit your plans and talk to your partner no more than 7 days in the future. For the next 6 months, limit what you plan and tell your partner no more than 30 days in the future.
Now is not the time to imagine living “happily ever after”. anyone. it is the the time to rediscover yourself and to enjoy your new freedom.
Rule #2: DON’T Sign Anything for 12 to 18 Months: Do not sign any legal or financial documents with your partner for at least 18 months. No marriage licenses, no car titles, no loan applications, no home equity loans, no joint checking accounts, NOTHING! You will have the rest of your life after the shock and changes in your life after going through the divorce. Just don’t do it in the first 18 months after your divorce is final.
Rule #3: Don’t Get Pregnant Yet: Do not be pregnant or your partner is pregnant. Just don’t do it. Now is not the time to start a new family. Having a child not miraculously gives meaning to your life after divorce. it Carry On seriously undermine your efforts to re-establish balance, personal power, perspective, self-love, and stability back in your life.
So, What’s the Point?
There is no good time to start dating for the wrong reasons.
Asking “When should I start dating again?” wrong question. A more helpful question is, “Why do I want to start dating again?”
Are you dating to enjoy your new-found freedom from the attachments of companionship, Or are you feeding and strengthening your past attachments?
Early dating allows you to start the transition from being coupled and married to being uncoupled and single, NOT recoupled and married. Early dating is not a vehicle for finding your next committed relationship.
(Now a word from your lawyer: The last question to ask before starting dating again is whether your lawyer thinks that dating at this time will compromise your divorce case. Obviously, if it respects the advice your lawyer and hold off until it is safe to do so.)
This is the time in your life to be glad to have “lost the bonds of an unhappy marriage.” Use it to enjoy your first step in your post-divorce life.
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