Dating After Divorce

Reader’s Question:

 My husband and I met in college. We dated on and off for six years before getting married and having two children (ages 7 and 3). After about seven years of marriage, we decided to get a divorce. We have been separated for about six months and I’m wondering when it is acceptable for me to date again. What are the rules here? I don’t want to be judged by others. How do I tell my children that mommy is lonely and wants to find someone special? I feel so guilty about all of this. Any ideas?

I’m sorry to hear about your impending divorce. Thirteen years with someone is no short journey. I hope you both work hard and try to keep things on good terms for the children. I hope you both come out better for this on the other side. Even though you are no longer married, if civility is possible, you must remain a “family unit” for the kids.

I realize the above had nothing to do with your question, but focusing on the kid’s well-being through this transition is vital. Your dating and sex life, not so much.

Short answer: There are no rules for how long to wait.

More important answer: You do not tell a three or seven-year-old any of those thoughts and feelings.

I’m all for discussing life in an honest way with kids, but don’t put your shit on your children. Your adult life is not a toddler or seven-year-olds business. It certainly isn’t their job to make you feel good and supported while finding romantic partners to replace their dad.

In my opinion, you can start dating when you feel ready emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Consider: If you fell in love, would you have reservations about committing so soon after divorce?

This timing is different for everyone. Maybe your marriage has been over for a long time before the actual divorce, so you’ve grieved and healed already. Maybe things happened quickly and you’re an emotional wreck, but you crave being physically close to someone.

Please, consider others feelings, here. You don’t want to find someone great and have them fall in love with only to ruin it because emotionally, you are still drained from divorce.

Take your time. Breathe. When you feel healthy and balanced… you’ll be ready.

Who cares what anyone else thinks? Live your life knowing you made the best decision for you and those you love. Judgments from afar are almost always wrong.

Dating with children is hard and should be performed with caution.

I am not a family therapist. My opinions are based on personal and professional experiences. You can/should always call your children’s pediatrician and get their advice.

So…

Common sense dictates your children be left out of any dating matters. You are allowed adult time, which is private time. It is none of their business.

If things get serious:

When you do find a special person and the dating turns into a relationship, it may be time to let your kids know about your “new friend.” If the person is around for a while, the kids will slowly learn that he is a special friend. Slow is the key.

Do not welcome a boyfriend into your kid’s life unless it is a serious relationship. You must never show your kids a revolving door of men… if that is your style, of course.

The dating scene has changed over the past 13 years, so try and have fun. When you’re ready to get out there, put your best foot forward.

Good luck!

Online Affairs

Reader’s Question:

 My husband and I have been married for seven years. We have two children and both work full-time. We are in our early 40’s. He has been “seeing” someone online. I caught him masturbating with her through an online site and he admitted it has been an ongoing thing but says it has no real meaning. He said they talk daily, text, and have some video sessions. Is this an affair? I am embarrassed to talk about this with anyone and don’t know what to do.

To be with someone and truly not know them at all…

Where is the man you fell in love with? There are a bunch of possible reasons why things changed. Sometimes we don’t figure it out until it’s too late.

Yes, your husbands’ online affair is cheating.

The sad truth:

Over ten percent of all affairs started online in 2017. Forty percent of those turned into offline, hands-on affairs. An online affair involves the same basic aspects as a physical affair.

Differing views on what constitutes cheating do exist. Here are some examples to help outline my personal view on what makes a cheater: 

  • Engaging in sexual talk.
  • Spending time with a person in secret.
  • Touching intimately. E.g. sleeping in the same bed, holding hands, et cetera.
  • Giving intimate gifts, money, or paying their bills
  • Online affairs. 57% of people have used the Internet to flirt. 38% of people have engaged in explicit, online, sexual conversation. 50% of people have made phone contact with someone they chatted with online.
  • Any form of sexual contact, including kissing.
  • Becoming emotionally involved with someone else (emotional infidelity).

I’m sorry this happened to you. You must not let this experience cause you to develop trust or anger issues. Don’t let this relationship ruin future ones. People who cheat are not worth the issues we give ourselves over it.

Trust me, I know.

A survey on cheating was conducted in 2017 by a company called Trustify. The results are worse than you want to hear, but exactly what you need to know. Trustify found that people who have cheated before are 350% more likely to cheat again, compared to those that haven’t cheated before.

Hence, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”

 I’m guessing you have a pyramid of different questions building up in your mind.

Questions like:

  • Is he unhappy?
  • Does he have feelings for her?
  • Have they ever met and been actually physical?
  • Does he want to work this out?
  • Will he stop seeing her now that I know?
  • Who else knows about this?

If you want to get past this and keep your marriage, you should start by asking him any and all questions you think you need to know.

After you have his answers, take some time to process what you learned and decide if you want to stay and try, or leave and not.

Recovering the love and trust that was lost will take time. It will require high levels of emotional strength. It may not work out no matter how hard you try.

You can’t be in a marriage that causes anxiety every time he looks at his phone or tablet.

What if catching him is his “out?”

If you decide to talk this over and not just leave, prepare yourself for him to use this situation to unload his truth. He may not want to work it out.

Let’s face it… he cheated on you. This is probably it.

Remember, it’s okay for you to walk away from this all together. Call him a cheating d*&k and leave.

Life is short. Don’t spend time miserable if you can help it.

Click here for another article about infidelity you may find helpful.

I wish you the best of luck.

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