Dating & Divorce ~ 4 DOs and 4 DON’Ts for a better #divorcelifestyle.
DO… Go for it! There is no legal reason that you cannot date while you are separated or divorcing.
… sharing photos and details on social media can go all kinds of wrong.
DON’T… Show it off on social media. You’re excited about your new boo, we get it. But sharing photos and details on social media can go all kinds of wrong. Your soon-to-be former spouse might get upset (and conflict makes your attorney fees go up, your process take longer, and your life more stressful). You might find friends and family taking sides against you for moving on too quickly. You may be inadvertently providing documentary evidence of your lifestyle, which can have an impact on long-term support. Enjoy your boo. Just don’t let anyone see you doing it.
DO… Know why you are dating. Are you out to find lasting love, new experiences, or just one lucky evening? Potential dates will ask you, and they deserve an up-front answer. Knowing why you are dating also helps you find what you’re looking for, by setting your intention first.
DON’T…Get involved in your significant other’s legal matter! It’s their divorce, their children, and their money — not yours. This can create a lot of conflict with your former spouse (which is bad for everyone, see DON’T #1). As divorce attorneys, we suggest you take a soccer parent approach — be supportive and positive and stay off the field!
DO… Protect yourself. The dating world has really changed since you were last out there. While you shouldn’t be afraid to date, you should also be conscientious about how you are presenting yourself and the information you’re making public. If you’re cautious to try a dating app, use one that doesn’t link to your Facebook account. This allows you to create a private, free email address (like Gmail or Outlook). When you ask your potential date to email you off the app for privacy purposes, you’ll usually be able to trace their email back in order to verify their identity. If you do wish to use a site that links to Facebook, we hear that you can create another Facebook profile just for dating, but we’d never suggest this because Facebook doesn’t allow it. But finding a way to keep your children, location and lifestyle private may be worth the risk for you.
DON’T… Overinvest. One way this happens is by spending too much — time, emotion, money — too soon. Post-divorce relationships can quickly become very intimate, but if the relationship moves too quickly, you may find your decision-making impaired. The other type of overinvesting we warn against is when you are sinking more — again, time, emotion or money — into the relationship, creating an imbalance that almost never leads to a healthy bond. Your time and money are precious. If you find yourself putting in more than your date, pull back a little. If he or she doesn’t step up, drop the dead weight and move on. There are so many amazing single people out there, but you’ll never find them if you are overinvesting with the wrong date.
DO… it for YOURSELF! Keep it positive, take care of yourself, enjoy the process. If you create a life that works for you — happy, interesting, full of love — this is attractive to high-quality dates. Step back and ask if you would date yourself. Are you doing anything exciting? Engaged in a hobby? Planning to challenge yourself with something new? Are you positive, smiling, open to love? Put your energy into creating the life you want rather than looking for a person to complete or fix it. You might not find that person, but you will have a life that you love.
DON’T… Introduce the children until you are in a committed, stable relationship that you wish to sustain for the long term. It can be de-stabilizing for children to have people enter and leave their lives when they are already in a period of transition, and potentially, grieving. Introducing your boo too soon can create conflict with your soon-to-be former spouse, or even be construed in court as an indicator of bad parenting. We know many people who introduce boyfriends or girlfriends early, as “friends,” to see whether the children and adult get along. Instead of playing this game, trust yourself. If you chose a stable, high-quality person to match with, you can learn a lot through a discussion without involving your children. If your mate is that incredible, they’ll respect your desire to move slowly in order to protect your children, and your divorce case, from unnecessary harm.
Now, go forth and conquer the dating world! And let us know your top Do’s and Don’ts for dating like a boss by hitting us up on twitter at @_splitdecisions.
For more detail, see our live conversation on the topic: