Why does it always have to be so complicated?
Here you are going through a painful divorce, and somehow, you’ve stumbled upon someone that you’ve quickly fallen head over heels for. Regardless of why, here you are.
So, now what?
Do you wait until the divorce closes out its chapter completely? Or, do you go for it now?
It’s gotta make you wonder what happened to the times when husband and wife were together ’till death do you part and divorce was rare. How did you find yourself separated from the first woman you thought was The One? How have you now met someone that you know is the one whom you are destined to be with?
The average lay person, when asked if dating is acceptable before final divorce papers are issued will respond with a resounding NO. And there is a lot of validity to that answer. “No” is the simple, yet correct, way to answer those questions.
But life is neither simple nor correct.
I’m going to be honest here for a moment. I’m happily married to a man I plan to be with forever. We have a beautiful little boy and a great life. He is like no other man I met before. We had an immediate connection that I felt deep down from the first words we spoke to each other.
And guess what?
He was going through a divorce when we met!
I didn’t know at first, but finding out about it didn’t change my feelings for him. If you’d asked me in the past if I would ever get involved with a man going through a divorce, my honest answer would’ve been, “ABSOLUTELY not!” Dating a technically married man was not okay with me.
Here’s the thing though, we have no idea when we will stumble across our soul mate. Divorces can take years to finalize. Life rarely plays by the rules. Life is messy. Life doesn’t care about convenient timing. It’s sometimes cruel. Those who pretend everything is sliceable into black and white pieces are either young, naive, or lying.
So if someone asked me today if I thought about folks dating before divorce is final, I’d have to ask a few questions before answering. My answer might still be no. It could even be a, “Maybe.” I still think you shouldn’t spend time actively looking for someone during a divorce.
I still think you shouldn’t spend time actively looking for someone during a divorce. If you can help it, I would advise against it. On the other hand, I also know there is a chance you might randomly come across someone who might change your life for the better before signatures get put on those docs. You have to be honest with yourself and be smart about your decision.
Dating Before Divorce Is Final: Is She Worth It?
The first question you need to ask yourself is if you really know this woman is The One.
You will be putting in a lot on the line here, so she needs to be more than just someone you think is attractive or you’re interested in. She needs to be the woman you will someday marry and spend the rest of your life with. If you don’t know the answer to that, you probably should wait.
Here are a three other questions to ask yourself:
1. Am I Just Lonely?
Divorces can isolate you and depress you. It’s totally understandable to feel lonely post (and during) divorce.
Are you seeking out this woman because deep down you’re just in desperate need for human contact? If the reason you want to become involved and start dating before your divorce is finalized has to do with loneliness, you shouldn’t risk it.
Instead, call up your buddies and have a guys’ night!
2. Am I One of Those People That Just Cannot Be Alone?
Have you pretty much always been in a relationship since you were in your teens? Have you gone from one relationship to the next in the past? If so, it might be time to slow down. This woman that you’re seeking out is probably just a person to fill that need temporarily.
3.What Are My Feelings about My Soon-to-Be Ex?
Are there still hard feelings between you and her? Do you secretly want to get even? Are you hoping she will find out about your new flame?
Before moving on to a new relationship, you should be emotionally untied from your last one. If there is a part of you that wants your current spouse to be jealous or upset, you probably haven’t moved on.
While it does feel good to be needed and wanted, you need to assess whether or not you’re emotionally ready for this new, and very serious, relationship.
Implications for Dating Before Divorce Is Final
Potential Legal Issues
In the law’s eyes, you’re very much still a legally married man until the last piece of legally-jargoned paper is signed. In some states, dating during your divorce can be seen as a form of adultery and affect the outcome of your divorce. The spousal support and property settlement could be affected by your actions.
The final decree could be affected even if you’ve been separated from your spouse for a long time. Check with your attorney for your states’s specific laws.
Do you have children with your current wife? If you do, dating is almost always a really, really bad idea.
Your actions could directly affect the court’s custody decisions. How would your children feel to see you with someone new so quickly? Your kids are the most important consideration. Do not put your love life above their needs. They need your attention right now during this tough transition. Besides, your new lady could also become part of the custody investigation, and I really doubt she wants that drama.
Consider your spouse’s feelings as well. Remember that at one time you loved her and cared for her. Is this new relationship worth the risk of causing her more emotional pain?
Still Convinced It’s Always a Good Idea?
Talk to your lawyer. Follow his or her professional advice. Perhaps even after you read this entire article, you still know that you want to pursue your relationship. I have personal experience with this, so take a few pieces of advice from me. I chose to continue my relationship, and I do not regret it for a split second. However, we were smart about it.
Be honest with your new lady. Hide nothing from her. Make sure she knows that you are going through a divorce and what the status is. When I met my husband, his divorce was already approaching the final stages. He was honest with me. We talked about it often even though it was uncomfortable for both of us.
Go slow. Try to keep your relationship as platonic as possible during the divorce. Spend your time getting to know each other first. Avoid moving the relationship to the next level, and definitely do not even think of living together before you’ve signed the last divorce paper.
Keep it relatively quiet. Don’t go out on the town with your new love and parade her up and down the streets. Don’t even mention the relationship to anyone except maybe very close friends and family. Keep it under wraps. You will avoid drama and undue emotional distress from your current spouse. Remember that people’s feelings are on the line here.
If you aren’t completely, absolutely, and without a doubt sure that this new woman is the one you will spend your life with, the best thing to do is wait. Be honest with her. Tell her how you feel. Chances are that if she is as special as you think and she feels the same way about you, she will be willing to wait until the dust settles. However, if you have no doubt that pursuing the relationship is worth everything that could happen, go about it slowly and smartly.
What’s your take on dating before divorce is final? Should you wait until you get your final decree or chance it if it’s worth it? Let us know in the comments section!