I filed with the court a legal separation and divorce decree at the same time. My ex-wife and I were physically separated for almost 10 months, mentally separated longer than that. We went to counseling for many months prior to the separation and it didn’t work. I agreed to 3 years legal separation, so that she could get my health insurance, and then the divorce would be decreed.
I have gone through the process of grieving and loss and I am ready to move on. My counselor is even the one to want me to start getting involved in dating. My problem is that because I am only separated and not divorced I fall into that stigma by women that I am only on the rebound, and they are not willing to give me the chance to start any type of a relationship.
Am I doomed for the next 3 years? How do I convince them to just give me a try? And even if it didn’t work out permanently would that be so bad? I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Pat, for making a point that I’ve been trying to make for many years: you can’t truly “know” someone by a label.
You can’t truly “know” someone by a label.
Believe me, I can tell you innumerable stories of women who dated married, separated, and recently divorced men who were either legally or emotionally unavailable. And because of the dead-end of getting involved with such a man, these women issue the blanket decree: “I will NEVER date that kind of man again.” This is a classic example of how the stereotype may be perfectly valid, but you can’t judge EVERY single person by the stereotype.
Should separated men be considered high risk? Absolutely — especially if she just kicked you out of the house two weeks ago for cheating, you’re living on your friend’s couch, and you hope to reconcile. Hell, you’re even a risk if you’re just out of a divorce and want to “play the field”. And that’s the part, Pat, that I have to acknowledge on behalf of women. To answer your question directly: no, it would not be that bad if you dated a woman and it didn’t work out.
Contrary to what some might say, that’s called “dating”. There are no guarantees for either party. The issue is that most women don’t want to get emotionally involved with someone who could be considered high-risk. A man who is freshly out of a dead marriage may be highly tempted to sow his oats for a while, or, at the very least, not settle into domestic bliss so soon after his separation. As I’ve said before, there’s a difference between being ready to date and being ready for a relationship. Women have a right to be wary if you just want to date for three months and move on. However, I have to point out to women reading this and nodding that in ANY relationship, you CAN’T know after date 1, month 1 or month 3 that you’re destined to spend forever together. That’s the risky part of making yourself vulnerable, even though you know, full well, that 99% of relationships that get started don’t end up at the altar.
As I’ve said before, there’s a difference between being ready to date and being ready for a relationship.
Sounds to me, Pat, like you’re a decent man who might not even be fully aware of what your needs are. Are you allowed to date? Absolutely. I do think that women should give you the chance. However, if you discover through the process of dating, that in fact, you’re just looking to have fun for a little while, make sure you don’t allow any woman to invest too deeply in you. Or go out of your way to find a woman who is recently separated or divorced, just like you. Good luck.