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Dating Before the Divorce Is Final, Part 2

by The 4-Way Panel

Dear 4-Way,

My husband and I are divorcing after five years of marriage. Since we live in California, we have to be separated for six months before the official divorce paperwork can begin. We’re three months into our separation, but we were unofficially separated for about six months prior to our legal separation (which I initiated). My husband moved back to Texas to be closer to his family. Now that he’s out of my life physically and now that we’re three months away from being legally divorced, I’m ready to begin dating again. I mentioned this to a friend and she was mortified, saying that it would be in poor taste to date anyone until my divorce is final. Our marriage was dead after two years so I’ve had plenty of time to get used to not having my husband in my life. And I’m not getting any younger. What do you think?—AT

Rebecca    The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown

AT, do you remember that feeling you had when you were 16? When you felt that you were, like, TOTALLY grown up and could make totally smart decisions because, like, you were 16—duh! Like, omigod, that’s almost 18. Of course I can make decisions! Remember? OK, now fast forward to 35 (or however old you are): Isn’t that you, all grown-up and refined, sipping a delicious Gigondas, and laughing at the (naïve) perspective you thought you had all those years ago?

Yeah, so this is kind of like that. And I say that respectfully since I’ve been exactly where you are (also in the state of California)—waiting for a divorce to be final and just wanting to move on with my life already. I wanted to date pre-divorce and I did. But looking back, I’m not sure those dates were such a good idea. I thought I was ready, but what a silly, silly rabbit I was, Trix. The truth of the matter is that it took a while to understand what went wrong in my marriage and what my role in that was … and I only figured that out after time (lots of it).

Also, think hard about why you feel the need to jump back into a relationship so quickly. Maybe it’s time you had a little QT AT time so you can get some perspective and distance on your old relationship and get reacquainted with the real AT—AT the single woman who no longer has a marriage as part of her definition. Take a class; strengthen your existing friendships; volunteer. You’ll probably reacquaint yourself with some long-forgotten favorite activities that you stopped doing, but can’t remember why exactly you stopped doing them in the first place. Focus on you without the influence of someone else so that you can actually remember why you’re a great catch.

I say no dating for a while—but don’t put a time limit on yourself. You’ll know when you’re ready. Unfortunately, that means no hanky-panky for a while too. (Get yourself a vibrator, sweetie. You’re gonna need a good one.)

Check in tomorrow for the straight man's perspective by Chris Kennedy.

The 4-Way is published monthly. If you have a question for our 4-Way panel, please send it to them in care of the editor at rbrown@realgirlsmedia.com. To read more of The 4-Way columns or to listen to our podcasts, visit The 4-Way now.