If you are contemplating dating while going through a divorce, you might want to think again.
There are good reasons not to date and hold off from dating before divorce is final.
Check out the top 10 reasons for avoiding dating during a divorce.
1. Slowing down your healing
Going through a divorce and dating can feel like a godsend. You finally feel a bit better amidst the emotional chaos.
Dating while a divorce is pending can slow the healing process down. You are focusing on the new relationship and most often ignoring the turmoil inside you.
However, there are no shortcuts around dealing with pain, disappointment, and grief. Even if divorce is consensual, there are still lessons to comprehend and absorb.
You might wonder, can you date during a divorce and how long to wait after divorce to date?
No one can forbid you to do anything. However, if at all possible, try to postpone dating until you feel comfortable on your own. When you are happy being single, you are ready to be with someone new.
2. Intensifying conflict with your ex
Regardless of how peaceful your divorce is when your ex realizes you started dating while a divorce is pending, they might become jealous and look to retribute for the hurt.
Their retribution during a divorce is possible in so many ways. Dating during the divorce process can anger your soon-to-be-ex, and they can make rational decisions, eventually harming you.
3. Compromising on parenting
Studies show that divorce effects on children intensify if, after the divorce, they live in a home environment that is less supportive and stimulating. Their mother is less sensitive and more depressed.
Divorcing and dating can take up so much of your energy that you might miss some of the signs children try to send.
Also, spending time with your new partner can feel exhilarating, so you might also cut down on time with kids and miss out on helping heal.
4. Financial costs
Divorce and new relationships don’t go well together. Although you might have been emotionally and otherwise distant for years, if your spouse knows you are dating before divorce is over, they will become upset.
They might want to limit the happiness you experience with your new partner, and the only way they can influence that is through money.
This means they might fight you harder over the money, which can prolong the divorce, hence increasing the financial costs.
Furthermore, if you are going to be receiving spousal support, they can argue that they don’t want to pay for you and your new partner.
If you are the one that will be paying spousal support, your ex might demand more money, so they get to hurt you.
Also watch: 5 financial myths about divorce.
5. Lower settlement options
Your spouse might also argue that your new relationship is an old one and is the actual reason for the marriage falling apart.
Even when that is not true, an agitated spouse could try to build a case against you, claiming your extramarital relationship is the root cause of the divorce.
A judge might consider this and rule more favorably towards your ex-spouse.
If you are wondering “is it illegal to date while going through a divorce,” you might want to consult your legal advisor.
There are some states where the concept of fault in divorce is still used. If your new relationship is categorized as adultery, you might lose spousal support or need to pay higher amounts of it.
6. Negative effects on kids
Children are prone to blame themselves for the divorce, so by dating during divorce, they might think you couldn’t wait to get rid of your family (including them).
They might think that your marriage was never worth anything to you, or that being single is scary.
Though some studies show that parental divorce itself doesn’t affect children and that parental behavior does not significantly change, divorce leads to worry, exhaustion, and stress for parents.
On the other hand,studies have also argued that children fare better when parents work at maintaining the marriage rather than getting divorced.
This, in turn, can impact their parenting style and capacities. If you add to that the worries over a new relationship, you can begin to see how little energy can be left to tend to children’s increasing emotional needs during a divorce.
7. Effect on friends and wider family
The wider your support system is, the stronger you are in tackling life challenges. When dating during a divorce, you might end up jeopardizing that network.
They might also be friends with your soon-to-be-ex and dislike your choices. Decreasing this support base can make you more dependent on your new partner.
This can turn out not to be the wisest idea since you don’t know how willing or able are to be there for you and for how long.
8. Parenting arrangement
Divorce is a sensitive time when we need to be careful about the choices we make. Decisions made in that time can later, with a cool head, appear less attractive.
For example, finding the comfort of your new partnership, you might agree to a parenting schedule you later come to regret.
Furthermore, you might not have the best negotiating position if you are dating during a divorce. Your ex might argue that your home environment is not the best place for them.
They can worry about how your new partner will affect the children and become more restrictive about sharing time.
9. Children’s negative impact on your new relationship
Allowing time to pass before introducing them to your new partner increases the chances of a good outcome.
10. Negative effect on your future relationships and self-esteem
Divorcing can feel like you are free again and can’t wait to conquer the newfound sense of independence.
At first, a new relationship feels like a blessing and a validation you awaited for so long. You feel attractive, fun, and energized again.
However, you are going through a lot, and the choices you make at that time might not be the best ones for you. In the beginning, your self-esteem rises; however, this effect doesn’t necessarily stick.
When you are single, and you overcome divorce, you can attribute your success only to yourself.
On the other hand, if you are going from one to the next relationship while divorcing, you might draw the wrong concussion.
You might think you can’t be alone, or that you are not ready to deal with problems without a partner by your side.
Dating during a divorce can lead to poor choices of partners that validate the negative self-image. Once validated, it drives the future unfavorable partner’s choices, and it becomes a vicious circle.
Avoid the pitfalls of dating during a divorce
Dating during a divorce can impair your healing, your children’s recovery, and your relationship with your spouse and friends. It can lead to poor decision making on both sides, hence increase the financial costs.
Consider dating when you have dealt with the emotional turmoil that divorce has caused, and you feel comfortable being single. Then you are ready to try and share your life with someone.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.