Dating While Divorcing

Ok.

I am a reasonably attractive woman. I walk with confidence, dress well, try to smile when I make eye contact with people, and I even add a sway to my hips.

I am a plus-sized woman, 6’0 tall, and I have natural hair. And, believe it or not, I get hit on a lot. Pretty much daily. Always have, even when I was married.

I was with the same man for 4.5 years and I’ve finally reached the point where I am ready to date again.

Here’s my question: What now?

When you’ve thought you’ve found “The One”… the person you pledged your life to, the person you had children with, the person who promised you forever, you think “Hey, life is pretty nicely wrapped up. Now I can focus on other things.”  But then, when it ends, you are forced to re-evaluate, re-prioritize, and really figure out the next step.

I’m 30. I should say, I’m ONLY 30. By no means an “old maid”, by no means too old to think about the next one. Too young to resign myself to never finding love again. Yet, I have doubts, fears, concerns.

Will I be able to trust another person again? Will I be able to let my guard down enough to let someone new in? Do I even have the desire/interest to try this all over again? How will I proceed now, being a mom?

The latter is the biggest issue for me. I’ve seen some people bring all kinds of people around their children all willy nilly. I’ve also seen some people all but bar people from ever encountering their children. There has to be a happy medium. I’m trying to figure that out. I think I decided that I dont want to bring anyone around my kids until we’ve been “serious” for at least a year. Part of me wants to say until we’re talking moving in or marriage, but part of determining that is how the person interacts with my kids. Thats a key factor that wasnt an issue beforehand.

So, Ive been on dates. Met some interesting people. Trying to figure out who stands out. I see potential in one person, but again, there are some fears. I don’t ever want to end up in a situation remotely like what I experienced in my marriage. At the same time, I know I want companionship again. I want to have someone take care of my heart and soul. I want someone to come home to.

I’m being patient. Things are still new for me. The best part is the feeling that I’ve finally released myself from my marriage and the feelings therein, and I’m finally ready to move forward.

Wish me luck 🙂

10 thoughts on “Dating While Divorcing

  1. I wish you luck, Benee. I recently left my marriage. I am curious how I will handle dating while divorcing. I think you have important foundational boundaries concerning your children. They align with the ones I chose for myself if I found myself without my husband. My children are older now and I think the decision to date is best kept to myself until they can come to terms that their mother is no longer intimately connected to their father.

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    1. I think that’s a big part of it… making sure they can understand and deal with the idea that mommy and daddy are no longer an “and”.

      We’ve been ridiculously amicable during this whole thing though. I think we get along much better now than we did under the cloak of marriage. So the kids still see us having fun with each other and with them, it just isn’t as frequent. The 7 year old is aware that something is up, but she is used to going from one home to another, as she has done that her whole life. Thats normal for her. The 3 year old is feeling the effects of shuffling back between two homes but doesn’t totally understand because he never really understood anything about marriage in the first place. I know that, over time, he won’t even remember the time when were were all together as a family, just as my step daughter cannot remember a time when I was not a part of her life. If you ask her, I’ve always been around.

      Whomever I introduce to the kids will have to have met their father first. And I’ll have to be EXTREMELY comfortable and secure and sure before doing that. Its like taking someone home to my daddy lol. So I guess that will be the first step.

      In the meantime, I’m really trying to focus on taking care of myself, physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. And that doesn’t leave a lot of time for dating.

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  2. Good luck, Benee! What a tough question! Research regarding children who attend daycare where the care providers constantly change suggests that whenever a child becomes attached to a person who ultimately leaves, the children experience that departure as a death. I imagine it is the same for children if they become attached to a parent’s new significant other, and that significant other does not ultimately stick around. What does that mean for you? Does that mean you only bring around a new partner if you’re sure you’ll ultimately commit to them for life? How can you be sure of that if you don’t bring that person around your kids? As you’ve concluded, there are no easy answers; only what seems right for you and your family.

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  3. ORJ, thats the quirk.

    We can look at families like Vanessa Williams’ where all of her children and exes get together and are a big extended family or the Demi/Bruce/Ashton clan. There are people who do it and make it work, for the best interest of the children. I believe I am blessed that we arent having a hard time with it, that we get along better now. We both put them first, ahead of our personal or social needs, so thats key.

    But not everyone can do extended family type stuff. We’ll see. My kids always come first. Always. Anyone dating me has to understand that. Chances are, going forward, I’ll only involve myself with people who have children of their own so they can understand how I feel about this.

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  4. I do wish you luck and it sounds like you’re taking a sensible approach by thinking about a time limit by which you want to introduce someone to your kids.

    From a personal safety point of view if you’re looking at online dating I recommend meeting people via eharmony because the questionnaire confidentially enables you to say if you kids under 18 living at home and only matches you with people who’ve said they are ok dating someone who has kids of that age at home. That way it filters out those who’ve already made a decision they’d rather not date single mums.

    The other issue is timing. I rushed out and started dating during the early stages of my divorce even though my marriage broke up for a signifiant amount of time prior. What happened when the divorce got nasty was that it inevitably affected dates which ended up getting cancelled or in one case I’d been dating a guy for about 6 weeks and when the divorce got bad and I got upset he backed off and said having got divorced himself already he couldn’t face going through a divorce again by proxy. I guess it depends on your strength of character as to whether you can truly handle any divorce stresses separately.

    I also found that I didn’t feel truly ready to begin dating until I’d spent some time not dating and getting used to living on my own and getting used to my own company, organising my own social calendar, effectively ‘making’ my own life. I now think that its best to wait on the dating front until you’ve lived as an island, tended to it and made it an utterly rocking place to be whether anyone comes to visit (via a one off date) and possibly stay on it with you under that palm tree (if a relationship grows).

    Again good luck and hope that helps.

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    1. Ive been doing that live by myself thing. I love it! Loved it before I got married too! lol Too many people dont have that experience of living alone, so they miss out on a time of serious personal development.

      Its funny you mention tending to my “island”. I’ve been looking to totally renovate my living space. New paint, new furniture, everything. I hired a cleaning service and just today, spoke to an interior decorator about what I want to do.

      In creating a new space for myself, I am taking active steps to change my environment and thus change my spirit.

      And yeah, I dont really wanna bring anyone home right now because its not looking how I want it to. 😦

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  5. good luck! 🙂 I think dating is exciting and if at any point it’s not, the wonderful thing about dating is that you can stop it almost immediately 🙂

    Mekhi was very young (1.5years) when his father and I broke up so I think my dating in Chicago (from age 2 – 5) was very normal for him! He was actually used to meeting guys as “friends” of mine and had no separation anxiety from any of them, including the one person he was closest to. Do you have male friends? I think for Mekhi the guys I was dating were no different from my homeboy Dave who lived downstairs, because I made it a point for him not to see us be intimate (hugging, kissing, holding hands, etc.). He was just around when we hung out at times.

    My husband on the other hand says that I kept Mekhi from him for a long time. It was really just a matter of logistics, when I moved back to the East Coast and was dating my husband we lived in different states. Furthermore I had more of a support system on the East Coast to watch Mekhi while I went to visit my husband.

    I think that who you date, and how happy you are around other people, affects your child’s definition of family and community. I do not see much wrong with introducing your child to friends of the opposite sex because he will learn to feel loved by other people who are not in his family and in my opinion this fosters more community accountability. As long as they are positive relationships for you, even if they are short-term vs. long-term, your child will have the benefit of seeing you happy, personable and caring for others.

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    1. I have to think about this approach. A big factor is his father’s wishes. I dont want him running just any ole woman around my kids, and I know he feels the same about me. We try to respect each other’s reasonable wishes.

      I guess part of me is still trying to maintain some sense of “family” for the kids, and adding other people, at least right now, might fracture that or make it more confusing.

      And yeah, I’ve been happier lately 🙂

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  6. I recently divorced and your experience is similar to mine. I am 41, though, so I am a little older than you–okay a lot older (-; In any case, your philosophy is the same as mine. My 10 yr old son and 3 yr old daughter must come first. My marriage ended after 12 years and for the first year I was truly dazed. My focus was just on maintaining and taking care of my kids. I am now beginning to have that desire for companionship again. I sincerely hope to meet someone who can love me and my children and I hope the same for you!!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I think focus on and children initially is so important. I’m so heavily focused on myself that dating is a second thought. Of course, just when you arent thinking about it, you find someone really cool that you want to get to know on a deeper level LOL

      But, I’m still primrily focused on ME. I want to be as good, if not better, for the next person, as I was to my ex-husband. That will come with rediscovering myself, healing & recovering from the trauma of the things that led to the divorce (which im about 99% done), making improvements and doing things for ME that make ME happy, etc.

      The next person to find him/herself committed to me will feel lucky and blessed to have a woman with the experiences I’ve had in relationships/marriage. It’s only made me stronger.

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