Dating Too Soon - Elisabeth Klein

I was sitting in on a session about finances for divorced women led by a Christian divorce attorney and he said something that really struck me. He was talking about making big decisions and the importance of having wise counsel because in his experience, and he apologized ahead of time for what he was about to say, people going through a divorce suffer from slight temporary insanity (some more than others).

We all laughed a bit, but then I thought back to my separation and I absolutely have to agree. Yes, in some respects, I was rocking it, doing pretty darn well for a woman whose entire life was coming apart at the seams.  But then, there were plenty of other moments that were just…well, horrible.  Where I was a complete mess and I was completely messing up.  I just was not myself physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally or spiritually.

Which is why I am so freaking adamant about not dating too soon.

I’m not even going to touch on here how I feel about dating while merely separated, because I’ve made myself pretty clear on that one.  (Umm, here are the Cliff Notes: DO NOT DATE WHILE YOU ARE STILL MARRIED {i.e. WHILE SEPARATED}. Oh my lands.)

But I do want to touch on waiting to date post-divorce. Yes, this is just one girl’s opinion.  But it’s one girl who, a) waited almost two years post-divorce before dating, and b) who hears story after story after story about people jumping in too soon, thinking they’re ready.

One story in particular sums up my reasoning pretty well. I know of a woman who started up friendships with two men, one right after the other, before her divorce was final and into the first year post-divorce.

And here’s what happened when the second male relationship ended. It got very quiet. (Because she had filled up the original, normal, divorce-related silence with men.) Too quiet. And she was left with all that she hadn’t worked through yet. And she crashed and burned. And it triggered divorce trauma. And it left her feeling lonelier than before.  And she was confused and talked about regrets and she made some poor choices and her work even suffered.

And I believe this happened for one reason: because when she started seeing someone before she was ready, it was as if she pressed pause on her grieving process and she hi-jacked her own healing. And when the second relationship ended, it was as if she had just gotten divorced emotionally – like her heart was just now experiencing it for the first time – even though her divorce had been final for a year already.  In other words, she was basically starting over with her healing because she had filled her gaps and assuaged her pain with men.

Which brings me back to what that lawyer said. When you are separated or newly divorced, sweet one, you are just a tad temporarily insane – or at the very least: not quite yourself just yet – EVEN IF YOU THINK YOU ARE FINE.

And you may think that you’re all healed up on divorce day, but you’re not. I’m sorry if I sound harsh, but you’re just not.  I even had someone mention to me that she was feeling some things a few months post-divorce that she hadn’t expected to feel because her separation had lasted so long.

Yes.

Because something happens on divorce day. I don’t know what it is. I can’t fully explain it. But something changes and shifts and you could have been separated for years and gone through DivorceCare three times and done every kind of grieving and healing exercise you could get your hands on, but then you’re divorced and it’s like an emotional clock resets itself and in some aspects, you’re just starting your healing. I’m sorry to say this to you, but it’s true.

So if you begin dating just after getting divorced, no matter how long your separation lasted, you’re potentially putting a stop to your healing. Your healing – which should be paramount to you at this time – will simply freeze in its tracks while you begin to intertwine yourself with another man, while you take your not-yet-fully-healed heart and hand it over.

Listen, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, you’re going to do what you’re going to do. I’m just sharing from my experience, and you know, about a thousand other women’s experiences.  You may FEEL ready. But I care about you and I don’t want you to bring more pain onto yourself.

If you want to go into your next relationship ready – for yourself and for the man – give yourself plenty of time to heal beyond the divorce day. Too soon and odds are you will kick yourself later.  And I say all of this with love.