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Thread: After Divorce: Cold Feet or Not Ready?

  1. #1
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    After Divorce: Cold Feet or Not Ready?

    A little background: I am 33 and soon to be divorced. My wife and I have been separated for around nine months and we have a four-year-old daughter. We were each other's first and only relationships. We had been together since age 19. Our marriage ended when I found out she was cheating on me, but I don't harbor any significant bitterness. Before this happened, we moved to a new town where I don't know anybody. It was scary when we decided to separate, but I've since come to relish the time alone. I am a very introverted, even shy, person, but I have what I feel are sufficient friend and family connections. Just not necessarily where we live now.

    That's what compelled me to start looking through dating apps. I didn't have a ton of success, largely because this is not a major city and it's hard to find people with whom I have much in common. I love reading, writing, listening to music. I'm an artistic soul. I like to be alone and create. I feel like there is a lot left for me to accomplish as a single person. But there is still that nagging voice saying, "You need to get out there. You need to make connections." Last week, I matched with a woman who had the same obscure music taste as me. She said on her profile that she was "looking for someone to start as friends and then maybe become something more." That's what gave me the courage to actually suggest meeting up. We did, and it went fairly well. Like I said, we have quite a bit in common, although she is younger and I feel at a different life stage. It was obvious that it was a "date," although I wasn't sure that's what it would be going in. I thought I'd probably be willing to meet up with her again, on very casual terms.

    Then today she texted me a picture of a hike she'd gone on this weekend, and asked if I wanted to come over to her house for dinner. I can't anyway, but even if I could, the answer would be a definitive "no." I'm not ready for that at all. I countered by suggesting we go to a board game place next weekend, which seems like much more of a "friend" activity. But I am not sure if I'm just leading her on by suggesting that. I am torn because it's not easy for me to meet people, especially people with whom I have things in common. But if I look back at the prior weeks and months, the answer is that I have been so much happier as a single person than I ever was in a relationship. It's obvious that she likes me, which is flattering but also scary. I have literally not dated since I was a teenager, so I don't know how trust my gut on this. Am I just scared? Should I push myself out of my comfort zone and see if this can become something? Or should I listen to instincts and cut this off now? I am a nice person. I do not want to hurt her, and that's what has me agonizing. Other people aren't experiments, and I feel as though I owe it to her to be up front with these feelings.

    So that's where I am. I frankly don't know if I'll EVER feel ready to date, given my personality. But by the same token, I don't necessarily want to be alone forever. Just not sure what to do here. I appreciate any advice.

  2. #2
    Silver Member BecxyRex's Avatar
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    Donít push yourself to do anything youíre not ready for. In my opinion it hasnít been long enough since your separation to be seriously dating at this point, unless of course you are ready, which youíre clearly not.

    Sorry if Iíve missed it, but have you figured out all custody agreements, financial support etc for your daughter? If not, all that should be your number 1 priority at this point. After all that is settled and comfortable, you can start dating.

    If youíre simply looking for friends, join a meetup group or other interest groups to get yourself out there. Dating sites arenít for friendships and as you can see things get muddied if they are used as such.

    Regarding this girl, if you get along, make it very clear that you are primarily looking for a friendship at the moment and donít want to engage in date type scenarios just yet. Iíd assume since sheís looking for the same you can take it slowly.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    And whatever you do, do NOT sleep with her!

    I presume you already know not to do this but you'd be surprised how many men don't.

    Many women see sex as a promise of a relationship (See "Vanilla Sky"). You could get accused of "using" a woman for sex.

    I agree, join a board game Meetup or a group that goes to the type of music performances you enjoy. Don't use a dating site to make friends.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator HeartGoesOn's Avatar
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    Have you filed for divorce as of yet? I can't speak for others, but I don't believe anyone is ready to date until their divorce is final, and have been on their own for a period of time.

    Separated is still married...

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    PS: The "something more" your date is referring to on her profile means she is dating with the goal of finding at least a relationship and probably marriage. And, of course, probably children of her own.

    People don't go on dating sites to make platonic friends.

  7. #6
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    You all are quite right. I know in my heart Iím not ready, but I felt pressured by those pesky external expectations. I messaged her and said ďitís not you, itís meĒ in so many words. I appreciate your advice. Iím still learning. Like I said, Iím 33 years old and have not dated since I was a teenager. I deleted the dating apps and will be looking to meet people IRL and let something develop naturally.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Although she will most likely be disappointed, you did the right thing.

    I pictured her excitedly telling her friends about you (maybe even her mother), about your great connection, how you two have SO MUCH in common, how she could see herself with you long term. The invitation for dinner at her place made me think she was fast-tracking you, maybe auditioning for the role of "Wife #2" by demonstrating her domestic skills.

    Shutting it down was the kindest thing to do.

    I'm sure you can meet people who share your interests without going through a dating site.

    Whoever these "external" people are, you can tell them you appreciate their interest in your personal life but you're capable of figuring out what's good for you.

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    It's absolutely normal to want to "put out the feelers" and date when you first make that split, but as you know, you are not ready for a relationship and even "casually dating" or "friends first" from a dating app can be confusing. People don't join dating apps to make friends, and the "friends first, maybe something more" is always a red flag to me...either you do it or you don't. If you're not ready to date, don't join a dating app.

    You're already involved in that board game group, and there are other meetups you can try. Some are geared towards newly divorced or single parents or single dads. Start there.

    Your first steps are to finalize your divorce and associated parts and pieces, and create a stable life and home for you and your daughter. Being a single parent is hard, even when you're sharing custody, and dating can be harder, especially with a child so young. Stabilize yourself for now and go from there. Just because you've been separated does not mean you're ready...after the ink dries...after you go through the emotional garbage of it all...then you can think about dating. I think you made a wise choices stepping back from the app.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SonicYouth
    Other people aren't experiments.
    Agree with what's been said so far, but want to focus on this for a second to make a point.

    In dating there is a degree where, yes, people are experiments. We feel someone out, feel out how we feel next to someone as they're doing the same about usóa kind of chemistry experiment, you could say. You don't have to like them, or be liked back. You can like them for a date, or three, and then decide you don't want to keep pursuing the connection. Or they can. Feelings don't have to line up, in short, and you're allowed to disappoint someone, be disappointed. Once none of that seems so monumental or consequentialówell, that's kind of when you're ready to date.

    Another thing I noticed in your post, its tenor and tone? An idea that there is a huge difference between being single and being in a relationship. Doesn't actually need to be the case, but might take some real single time for that to make sense, especially since you haven't been single since you were a teenager and are, all in all, five minutes removed from the formative relationship of your life so far. But the happiness you describe feeling these days as single personóI say keep leaning into that, and make it how you want to feel in general, relationship or not, rather than a binary idea about Relationship You and Single You. With the right person, at the right time, it'll all kind of click in a different way, maybe a way you can't quite imagine yet.

    Just stuff to think about, a low simmer on the back burner.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Some people will date married/separated people, some won't. As long as you are forthcoming. Why not join some groups and clubs and volunteer to assuage some of your loneliness? This way the pressure of dating apps and women who will reject married guys won't be a situation to contend with. The two strikes against you are still being married and "looking for casual".
    Originally Posted by SonicYouth
    I am 33 and soon to be divorced. My wife and I have been separated for around nine months and we have a four-year-old daughter.

    Last week, I matched with a woman who had the same obscure music taste as me. She said on her profile that she was "looking for someone to start as friends and then maybe become something more."

    Then today she texted me a picture of a hike she'd gone on this weekend, and asked if I wanted to come over to her house for dinner. I can't anyway, but even if I could, the answer would be a definitive "no." I'm not ready for that at all. I don't necessarily want to be alone forever.

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