Sunday, February 17, 2008

(19) Dating A Divorced Man

This book jumped off the shelf at me last night at work. Literally. I was shelving another book in the Relationship section when this one fell on the floor.

It was certainly an "Ah-Ha" moment for me.

The last two men that I have dated seriously were both divorced men. Both of them became very important in my life. I would even go so far as to say I had fallen in love with them. It was the "baggage" of their marriage and/or divorce that ended up causing my relationship with them to end.

Dating a divorced man is hard. Don't let anyone tell you differently. But as a single woman of a certain age, there are very few "never married" men in the dating pool.

The author breaks it down to four categories.
  1. Soon to be Separated (aka STILL MARRIED(!!)) -- this is the man who has already checked out of the marriage mentally, but has yet to move out of the home. Or in a lot of cases, has yet to even tell his wife he wants out.
  2. Separated Man -- this man lives in a separate residence from his wife, but has yet to take the legal steps or start the process of divorce.
  3. Divorcing man. -- The ING part, means that he is in the middle of the divorce. The paperwork has been filed & they are now in the hashing out part of things.
  4. And finally, the Divorced man. The paperwork has been done & the ties (legally if not emotionally) have been severed.
I needed to read this book because of number one. I will not go into details, but it is what I needed to read right now. It was a reminder of what I want out of a relationship & what I will not tolerate in a relationship.
I have dated number 2. In fact, I was on a romantic getaway with #2 when his divorce became final. My warning flags were flying high when he first told me that he was separated & the divorce was pending. But I was right to trust him that all of the emotional baggage regarding the divorce had already been dealt with. We dated for several months & broke up for other reasons,
I met #3 right after he had moved out of the family home. I refused to date him until the divorce was final. And he respected that. But when we did start dating, well he became the classic example for ooooooooh, almost ALL of the warning flags listed in this book. From canceling dates to not respecting my needs. To still grieving for the life he once had. I let him treat me badly for almost two years because I was trying to be understanding about his divorce. I am the one who finally ended it, but it was the most painful experience that I had ever dealt with.
And finally #4. The Divorced Man. I was ecstatic to find out that I wouldn't have to deal with the baggage!! Yes, he was divorced, but he had no children. So the baggage should be minimal, right? Wrong. Even two years after his divorce, he was still very emotionally scarred & unable to sustain a healthy, "normal" relationship.
So where does that leave me?
Requesting sworn statements from liscensed therapists the next time I date a divorced man. :P I have not dated anyone since Divorced Man. I have had a few opportunities. But fear has kept me from diving in. Hopefully that fear will not prevent me from meeting a really great guy.
Dating is hard. And dating a divorced man, can make it extremely hard. I wouldn't go back & change any of the experiences I have had. Yes, they were painful. But it has only helped shape what I perceive to the ideal relationship to be. Divorced Man or not.


Lisa Mandina said...

I have only dated #4. It started okay, but then got weird when he got a call at work from his ex-wife, but thought it was me? Weird.

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