Q & A Wednesdays: Newly divorced men ~ date or wait?

Posted by in dating after divorce, self-esteem in dating, single women over 40 | 0 comments

Dear Sandy,

I’ve been dating this man for about 4 months now. He is recently divorced; his wife moved out over the summer, the same time that we met. We met through a mutual friend. When we met, I told myself that I wasn’t going to get intimately involved because of the newness of his situation and my fear that he really wasn’t ready. However, one thing led to another and we are intimately involved. Here is the problem: We’ve been seeing each other on average once a month-we spent Thanksgiving weekend together, then 3/4 days over Christmas together. The problem for me is that there is no real communication in between. At this point, I haven’t seen him in two weeks and with the exception of a ” Happy New Year, wishing you the best in 2012″ e-mail that he sent me on New Years eve, hadn’t heard from him at all. I don’t like the infrequency and the lack of any real planning. Not sure what to do here. If I tell him that I’m not comfortable with what feels like a ” friends with benefits” relationship, I know I risk him bolting. On the other hand, if this is his response, better to know it sooner than later. I’m not sure if I should hang in there and remain cool for a while longer? All I know is that this isn’t really working for me as is-yet I like him…


Dear Bella,

Years before my own divorce, I remember listening to Dr. Joy Browne on the radio, talking about her ‘one-year’ rule. For those of you who don’t know what that is, she suggests that people must wait a year before dating again after the break-up of any long-term relationship. At the time, I thought it was a little excessive to have such a hard and fast rule. But time and again, when a caller would complain that their relationship was troubled, she’d ask how long they waited after the divorce, and the answer was inevitably less than a year.

Do I believe in the one-year rule? I do agree that people often get into relationships on the rebound from a divorce. I have dated men who were married two or three times, and I always asked how long they waited between marriages. The answer has consistently been less than a year. Divorced more than once? No thank you. I’d rather wait.

Bella, I don’t know if you remember the year after your divorce, but I can imagine it was not easy for you. In the year following a divorce, there are so many changes in your life. Whether you’re juggling a new home, increased financial pressure, keeping your kids emotionally healthy, it’s not easy.

After my divorce, the last thing on my mind was dating. I waited two years before beginning my dating journey.

Guys aren’t always so aware of their emotional needs. They date for two basic reasons: they’re lonely or they’re horny (or both).

There are the men who get remarried and divorced again in quick succession. And there are those who like to play the field, celebrating their freedom to date and have sex.

Seems like you’re dating the second type of guy.

While your guy likes you and is attracted to you, he’s not your boyfriend. He’s having casual sex with you with no commitment. He doesn’t value you in the way you want (and deserve) to be valued. That New Year’s email? Are you kidding? He could have sent the same one to his grandmother.

Do you want a guy who doesn’t care enough to stay in touch between booty calls (let’s call it like it is)?

If he doesn’t make you feel special, cared for, and safe, say goodbye and move on to find someone who is ready to be your boyfriend. With the right guy, you won’t be feeling anxious and insecure.

I wouldn’t hang in there and remain cool if you’re really not cool with the arrangements as they stand.

So, how do you break the news to him? I would not tell him you’re not comfortable with a friends with benefits relationship and then wait for his response (and hope he says he wants more of a relationship with you). Don’t give up your power and wait for him to make a decision about the two of you.

Take back your power and say something like this:

“We’ve been dating for four months, and I really enjoy the time we spend together. What’s not working for me is the infrequency of our dates and the lack of communication between dates. I am looking for a man who’s available to date more often and communicate in-between dates. If you’re not willing to do that right now, I understand. But I won’t be able to see you anymore.”

See what he says. If he bolts, and he probably will, you’re right, he wasn’t the right guy.

If he says he wants you in his life, make sure it’s under circumstances that you agree to.

Don’t give up your power to a man (or anyone), Bella. You can definitely find a much more fulfilling relationship. But you have to let go of this guy in order to move on.







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