When to Start Dating?

Updated on February 23, 2013
E.T. asks from Albuquerque, NM
11 answers

When is the appropriate time to start dating after your marriage ends? To be clear, I am asking about dating... not introducing someone to your children. If you and your soon-to-be-ex know that your marriage is over, would you hook up with someone you met? Or would you need to be officially separated and living apart? Or officially divorced? What about just casual dating (no sex)? Separated? Divorce papers signed? A certain time frame after the divorce is final?

I have no particular opinion on the subject, just wondering what the general consensus is.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Right now I know 3 women that left their husband and kids for another man immediately before finalizing a divorce. (Well, O. even uprooted & dragged her 3 across town, away from dad, to her new man & his 3 kids).
Too many jump from the frying pan onto the fire, I think.
They don't wait until they are whole again: physically, emotionally, financially, etc.
You're right about meeting the kids--not til the woman knows there will be marriage.
Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on


It took over a year from when I filed until it was final.

I can't even IMAGINE dating then. Or rather, I could, which is a big part of why I didn't. Because all I wanted was arms to lie in. "Someone" to be nice to me.

Can we say standards in the TOILET?

Add in being a hot mess, my life upside down, the huge stress of court "stuff" (filings, appearances, documents, investigations, etc. = Nutsy, cuckoo, disaster, mentally & emotionally on the rails.

And all of that BEFORE adding in the most important part?

My son.

Whose life was utterly crazy.

I couldn't take 1 iota of what was left of my concentration away from him to get wrapped up in some relationship.


No Thankyou.


Most people recommend 2 years from the days your papers are done final. Just to get your head on straight & on your feet.

IF it was amicable/ normal.

If it was abusive?

5 years.

That's the statistical length of time for abused spouses to stay single & work on themselves before repeating the samedouchbage just in a different flavor.

Now... Those are stats... But if there's one thing Ive learned about myself... Its that I'm not BruceWillisDieHard / Rambo/ whatever. I DONT beat the odds. If there's a statistic with "most" in it, Im soooo right there making up the 2/3s, 3/4s, 4/5s of people who crash & burn & wish they'd done differently.

5 years is ALSO the statistical period of time it takes a former SAHM to get back on their feet.

So... For ME... I've got a lot of years in front of me.

I'll take that.

Not always happily.

But gratefully, for sure, that being single means knowing Im not (right now) getting swept up in Jerkface Part Deux.

Obviously... Some people beat the odds.

<grin> Not it!

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would NEVER date someone whose divorce was not finalized. I would also never date a recent divorcee. For those reasons, I would wait quite a while to date. I (personally) think it's smart to not jump into dating and relationships, when a VERY important one just failed. I think that typically leads to bad relationships, or just really bad choices. I read somewhere about the incredible statistics of STDs and unplanned pregnancies in recently divorced people. (A lot of people say no sex...) I think the head is too fuzzy.

If a divorce is not final, there is nothing to say that person won't go back to their spouse.

8 happy years in I could never imagine this being on our horizon.
I hope I never have to take this advice.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Not until way after the ink is dry on the divorce papers, and you've had time to live with YOURSELF first. My mother was a serial dater - she couldn't be alone and my sister and I paid for her issues because the men always came first, it seemed to us.

Don't disconnect socially, but don't look for romantic connections. Have responsible fun. I've never believed in hooking up. I think for most people, sex complicates things, not to mention the potential for disease or pregnancy (nothing is 100% safe except not having sex).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

This is not a checklist question. There is no right or wrong answer. Funny thing is everyone remembers the time someone jumped into a new relationship and it ended catastrophically but no one notices when it was perfect.

In my case my marriage was over for four years before I filed. It was like a loved one in a coma, you had been done grieving for years it was just a matter of when you pulled the plug. I dated during my divorce, started dating right after my divorce more seriously. Those relationships didn't work out but then none of those men met my kids either.

Then there are women who just can't live without a man in their lives or they are terrified they will never have a man again. Those are really bad reasons to date and tend to end badly. A man should be a want not a need, needing makes you stay in a bad relationship even when it is destroying yourself and everyone around you.

I also love the you should never introduce your kids until you know you are going to marry. I have never heard that uttered by anyone who has actually made that choice. Sorry but that comment is stupid, can you imagine it in practice. You date this guy for so long, fall in love, he asks you to marry you and pow! huge personality conflict between him and the kids! Sorry but I would rather find that out when I hit the point of this could be going somewhere.

The difference is if you wait you will either stay in a relationship that will fail because the man will leave due to the conflict or you force your kids to accept someone they don't like. Not good!

So I am sure I have told you nothing yet used a lot of words, sorry about that. I just know some women who have had one failed relationship after another. Some that were in the middle and others that jumped into a relationship and are still married to that guy years later. The outcome is always determined by how well they knew themselves.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Parkersburg on

Technically if you aren't divorced then you are married. If you are married, then dating someone else is an affair. Morally speaking, you should wait until the divorce papers are finalized. Besides, you should really take that time to mourn, heal, and gain introspection before jumping into a new relationship.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

Unless, you've been through it, it's hard to put rules around it. I think each situation is different. In college, i got pregnant by an older man who became abusive.....especially when i delivered a daughter (really??). We weren't together long when I left. Took me 3 years to think about dating. I dated a man for 5 years before getting married. After 4years, he decided he wanted more than just me. At that point i knew it was over, but I didn't want to be divorced so we remained married but living separate lives.... I started counseling. And was I was in a good place personally. He decided he was done and moved out. I was happy with myself, who i was, where i was at with me and my girls.....they were all i needed, i wasn't planning on ever dating again. My "husband" was moved out for 7 months, i hadn't heard word from him, didn't know where he was living....when I met this wonderful man at church. We talked on the phone and texted and went out on a few dates. I texted my ex and said we should get divorced. We did it ourselves and were "divorced" 3 weeks later. So if may appear to others that i was "just" divorced and suddenly dating and that my clock to wait before dating would at that point, but foe me it was 2 years earlier when i knew it was over that i started counseling and got myself in a good place. It was then i grieved the end of my marriage and was truly happy where i was with what i had.

I married that man i met at church, we did premarital counseling, we did counseling as to blending our family, we do an annual marriage retreat through our church. We have done what we can to ensure our marriage beats the odds, as they are against us :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I gotta say that I would not date a man unless he actually had his divorce finalized. I know a man who was separated from his wife for 2 years, fully expecting to have a divorce. He had lots of "hook ups" and dated around. He very well may have led women on and hurt them - I don't know. I wouldn't put it past him. In the end, he went back to his wife. Two years later, E.. I feel sorry for his wife and kids. I don't think much of him, I guess you can tell.

The thing is, no guy is going to tell you things you don't want to hear. You can't keep from falling for someone even if you try not to. Don't put yourself into a position like this with a man who is not free for you to fall for.

That's my view. God knows, I hope I never ever have to consider my advice for myself. Since I don't know whether to offer you condolences or congrats as far as YOUR divorce is concerned, just know that I'm looking after your interests here, not the man's. (Can't blame me, can ya?! LOL!)

My best to you, E..


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

First the divorce needs to be final and then you need at least 2 years to know who you are and what you want out of a new relationship.
It's too easy to fall into resentment and compare new partners to your ex - and that's a lot of baggage.
You ALSO want to avoid competing with your ex (who gets into a relationship first, etc.) - it's not a race - and it's very common to want to date to show your ex that HE was the problem - it wasn't you.
The problem with that is you are dating out of a sense of revenge and you are not careful about the person you are dating - you end up focusing on the wrong relationship.
If you want to go out with girl friends for a movie or a meal or bowling - fine.
It's ok to be social.
As far as sex goes - you can self satisfy for quite a long while (and you don't have to worry about birth control).
You're just not ready for a relationship until you heal emotionally.
I agree that if your marriage was abusive then you need 5 years time before you date - and you should be in counseling during that time - so you don't swap your old abuser for a new abuser - it's too easy to fall into old patterns.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Oh, surprise, I clicked on this thinking it would be about teenagers! Well, I am not divorced so I have no personal experience but I would think if it was me, I wouldn't be in a huge rush. But I do think it's fine once you are legally separated. I see no need to wait for the divorce to go on dates, or even to be intimate with someone once the process has been started, if someone wishes.



answers from Baton Rouge on

Once you're in separate homes and know for certain that you are not getting back together, I think it's fine to go out with other people even if the divorce isn't final. Sometimes that process can be drawn-out.
I would advise taking some time to yourself first though and not jumping immediately back into the dating pool. My ex and I lived apart for a year before I started dating again.
ETA: My twelve-year-old daughter met men I dated. Not because I was serious about each of them, but because I wanted her to see that it was okay to date and NOT be serious about the guy. And if it DID get serious, I didn't want to wait until he and I had declared our undying love for each other to introduce them and find that their personalities were completely incompatible.

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