Dating. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all dates were memorable, fun-filled times of pure joy spent with a person who complemented and complimented us, and had no accompanying baggage?
Hah! In the ideal universe, sure.
But the reality of dating is something else indeed. There are all sorts of fish in the sea, as that old bromide says, but let’s take a look at one of the special types of people, not fish! : the recently separated man or woman who has waded into the dating pool or ocean, to finish off, once and for all, the old saying.
First, is your separated timetable my separated timetable?
Everybody has their own internal clock which governs the passage of time.
Aurora Wisson, 25, broke up with her longtime beau, Judd, three months ago. “It seems like it was a lifetime ago, but I know it has been scarcely any time at all. I just am not ready to re-enter the dating world again.
My friends are trying to set me up all the time, but I am still raw. I need time to process everything and really understand my priorities before going back to dating.” So, Aurora would not be a good choice for a date at this time and she knows it.
And at the opposite end of the spectrum
Larry, 45, was dumped by Rosalie, whom he had been seeing for six months. “Sure, I was gobsmacked, but I don’t want to waste any more time thinking about my new status as a single guy. I went out the night after Rosalie gave me the ‘ol heave-ho, and I have had a date with a different gal every Friday and Saturday night since.
I don’t even think of myself as recently separated, and it has been three weeks now.
You know that old adage about the horse? If you fall off, dust yourself off, and climb right back up on the horse.
That’s me!” Larry certainly had no hesitation getting back to dating, but Larry’s partners may sense that he is a bit too enthusiastic.
So everybody has their own dating timetable and definition of “separated”
Okay, you are ready to be out in the dating world. And that interesting person you have just started dating tells you that he or she has just recently become separated. What are some things you should consider? How is this dating situation any different than other relationships you may have been in?
It is hard to generalize, but dating a separated person is different
What you don’t want is to get emotionally involved with this person, only to find out a bit later or worse yet, a lot later than that person was still emotionally attached to the person from which he or she was separated.
This is a crucial difference, so you must assess if this is the case as soon as possible. Be frank since you do not want to waste your time nor do you want to get hurt.
And you do not want to become an amateur psychiatrist
Unless you really enjoy listening to somebody drone on and on about what may have gone wrong in that person’s previous relationship, you should tactfully reach an agreement from the beginning that previous relationships are not a great topic for conversation.
It certainly is not up to you to help figure out the ins and outs of a history in which you had no part. It may be a cliche, but other people’s baggage belongs to them.
Determine if this is the right time
If the person you are just starting to date seems distracted, depressed, inattentive, is always checking his or her phone, it is pretty safe to assume that he or she is either just plain an idiot or, he or she is just not ready to be dating yet.
Save yourself the time it will take him or her to figure this fact out for his or her self, and politely walk away.
If you feel this is the right time for you to be backdating but you have recently separated, be upfront about it, if you are the recently separated person. This is definitely a time where honesty is the best policy. If you are expecting or hoping that a new relationship will work out, you have to have a strong foundation built on trust, to begin with.
Telltale signs that now is not the right time to be dating a recently separated person
- He or she seems distracted when you are together. Furtively or not so furtively phone checking, a faraway look appearing way too often: these are clues that this person is not ready to be back in the game.
- When you are out together, he or she takes more than normal trips to the bathroom, car, or anywhere out of sight. Another red flag would be if he or she acts sheepish, snappy or distracted when you ask them what they have been doing or where they have been.
Bailout now to save yourself the frustration.
Finally, what should you be looking for?
Compatibility, character, humor, reliability, kindness, and consistency: these are some of the essential qualities most people would ideally like to have in a partner.
Note that these are all considered inner qualities.
While a handsome man or beautiful woman is aesthetically pleasing to most of us, looks fade in time. If you are in it for the long haul, think carefully about your long-term goals in a relationship. Those goals can be realized with the right person given time, and starting with someone who is separated and ready to move forward in life may prove to be a wise move.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
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.