How long after separation before truly ready to date
March 28, 2008 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Question for divorced men who have since remarried, gotten into a serious relationship: how long after separating before you felt ready to date someone seriously. Not when DID you start dating or not, but when did you feel in your heart that you were ready to date. And was sealing custody/alimony deals a part of this, i.e. did you need this stuff nailed down before you felt ready to "start a new life." And did you feel like you needed a second adolescence after the divorce, whether that meant going wild, or just spending a lot of time doing whatever you wanted, without having to consider someone else's feelings/schedule.
posted by Penelope to Human Relations (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I had a smooth divorce (with no children), at least as far as a divorce could be, so you know that up front. I didn't really feel the need to have a second adolescence, but I did spend a lot of time dating different women, despite having met the woman I ultimately married. I felt like I had to really explore the dating scene before I could commit again mostly due to the fact I hadn't done that in the first place. I couldn't be a relationship jumper. Lucky for me, Mrs. Silvertree was still around. But then, she is much smarter then I am. She knew right away what she wanted.

I did go a little wild with spending and doing what I wanted at first, mostly due to the X being so controlling over those things. But it didn't take me long to realize I could do what I wanted and settle down to a reasonable level of responsibleness.

I do remember a great sense of relief the day everything was final.
posted by Silvertree at 1:47 PM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

1st wife dated 3 months, then Married 4 years. Divorced and began dating within 1 months time. I wanted to get over the relationship I lost. I just wanted to date. I didn't want commitment. I *love* dating and rituals that go along with it. I was able to get back on my feet after the divorced. Had a nice place, had a good job already. No kids involved which made it very easy to start over. I lived life fully after the divorce. I met a great group of people and party like a semi-professional has day-job rock star. Went on a few dates. Girls I never dreamt of dating before just to get to know folks. I didn't want to limit myself again. So yeah I went wild. Met my 2nd wife after 8 months. We dated for 2 years, married and we our into the 5th year. I didn't plan on being married again, but fate knows better :)
posted by bleucube at 1:55 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think in retrospect, from the moment of signing actual divorce papers, one year.

I thought I was ready to date, etc, right out of the gate. Realistically, that's how long it took me to get the major crap cleared from my head.

Have dated a number of divorced women (and separated ones as well), I think seriously think that's the minimum time.

I'm sure other people may be super quick to move on...but if a woman said to me that she managed to move on inside of a single month...I wondered how seriously she treated her marriage.
posted by filmgeek at 2:20 PM on March 28, 2008

Separated May 2006, divorced May 2007. I wanted to date right away but found very few women were interested in me until my papers were signed. Maybe having young kids and getting divorced twice had something to do with it :-). However, I did hear from one woman that her general rule was "Never date a man (seriously) until 1 year post settlement".

Ironically, I found that after my papers were signed, I retreated from dating completely for about 6 months. I still went out socially but I didn't feel like I needed to prove anything and I wanted to enjoy some freedom for a while.

The very helpful book "Mom's House, Dad's House", about setting up a new environment for the kids after divorce, calls the period between separation and 2 to 5 years post separation the off-the-wall period, because there's no routine for a while. I'd say that's pretty accurate.

I'm guessing that you're attracted to someone who's separated or divorced recently ... I can't speak for other men, but I find that I have a real hot button now whenever I meet someone with a "plan". (for example, marriage soon, kids within 2 years, etc.) I went through too much hassle to regain my integrity, and I plan to listen to my gut and do what feels right, rather than follow some external agenda. I have also noticed that I have sudden emotional reactions to certain situations as I begin to explore new relationships. You might think that you're completely over everything, but you don't know that until you've explored some of the regions that you haven't visited for a while. In retrospect, I'd have to say that the 1-year-post-settlement-decree rule sounds wise. But if you press ahead anyway, and run into some really weird behavior, give him some space and time to figure out what's going on inside his head.
posted by Araucaria at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

I went through an amicable divorce and started dating about a month after it was finalized. There were no kids, no alimony, and the legal formalities were resolved quickly.

I wasn't really ready to be dating at that point, but I also really wanted to move on. I didn't go wild, although I did make an effort to kick myself loose from my routine. The question of "when was I ready" hard to answer. It's not like I woke up one day and turned a corner (perhaps it is that way for some people). I don't think I had fully moved on until I found myself dating the woman who I wound up marrying, although in terms of being "primed" to be over the old relationship, it probably took about a year.
posted by adamrice at 3:07 PM on March 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

Amicable divorce as any, no kids. Tool me 1 year for every year married to be comfortable in my skin.
posted by plinth at 5:37 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Took me.
posted by plinth at 5:37 PM on March 28, 2008

Yes, I asked because I was dating someone who had been separated 6 weeks when I met him. Had I know it when I we met, I probably wouldnt have dated him, I suppose. I asked because he broke it off by standing me up and not returning my subsequent call. I wanted to gain some perspective on it instead of thinking it was all about me. : ) He has now been separated over a year, but no papers filed (I know because i checked online the other day). He has young children, which is different than a childless marriage of course. Thanks for your answers, I think the 1-yr-after ink-is-dried is pretty sound.
posted by Penelope at 5:45 PM on March 28, 2008

Penelope - I was separated from my spouse for about six months before I filed for divorce. Anyway, when I was first separated, I did some pretty jerky things - dating someone a couple of times, then just dropping contact with them, etc... I don't have an excuse, it was just where my head was at during that time. For myself, I can say that I wasn't actually dealing with the separation as well as I thought I was, and it manifested in a bunch of different ways. I know it's hard, but don't take it personally - it probably had very little to do with you.
posted by Liosliath at 7:53 PM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks Lioslath (and everyone else who answered). He told me he had wanted to leave for 5 years prior to actually doing it, and I do believe they are not reunited. (For a while I half-hoped they were, because that would have been a tidy answer).He was the one choosing to end the marriage, but when we dated, his living arrangements were unsettled, as were custody, alimony, all that. I finally had a laugh about it the other day, that episode of Seinfeld popped to mind where Elaine is dating a guy she half-suspects is married, but it turns out he's just poor (he lives in a furniture-less bachelor and burns garbage for heat, you know that one?). He was basically living like that. I prefer to think the best of him, so tell myself he wanted things settled better before dating. However it was clear he wants/needs a woman in his life, and I'm sure he will move on to a happy relationship. I wasn't sure I was prepared for stepchildren, frankly, and he sensed that, which probably didn't help matters, though in my defense, we only dated 2 months, so not much time for me to get used to the fresh idea (I'm never-married, childless).
posted by Penelope at 9:21 PM on March 30, 2008

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