This one is all about dating after divorce. Ask Divorce Coach is Women’s Divorce Coach’s divorce advice column. Have a question? Send it to Cindy here. It’s anonymous!
Dear Divorce Coach,
I’ve been divorced for three years and my friends and family are pushing me to date. This last year I’ve had a valid excuse with Covid, but quite honestly I just don’t want to. I’ve come up with a number of logical explanations for not putting myself out there but I don’t really believe any of them when I tell them to others. I feel like there might be something wrong with me. All of my friends are married (or remarried) but I’m not lonely. Can I really be happy on my own?
– Happy alone
Dear Happy Alone,
In short, yes, you can absolutely be happy alone. Or happy alone for now. Or happy alone for however long you want. There is a lot of social pressure to recouple on divorced people. I hear you don’t believe the reasons you tell others for not dating. What does your intuition tell you? You are the best judge for matters of your life and heart. If you haven’t already read Catherine Gray’s book, “The Unexpected Joy of Being Single,” I recommend it. Catherine finds that she really enjoys her own company as a single person and debunks all the myths that only those in romantic partnerships find true happiness. If you have found happiness from within and enjoy your solo time, I’d say you are already in a great place.
Dear Divorce Coach,
I’ve been trying to find another partner since my divorce six years ago. I’ve met guys on dating apps, tried speed-dating, joined meet-up groups, and even gotten set up by friends. I found most of the men who were into me to be incredibly dull and unattractive or they had major baggage. Dating after divorce truly sucks.
I don’t have kids so I’ve been dating men that aren’t dads. I finally met someone I really like about six months ago through a mutual friend but I’ve been hesitant to get too attached because he has kids. It’s not that I don’t like kids. My ex-husband and I struggled with infertility and were unable to conceive and it was part of the reason our marriage ended. The issue now is that I find myself feeling strangely jealous and alone when the man I’m dating talks about his kids. They need to be the center of his life and I totally get that. They already have a mom who is very involved. Would it be better to just cut and run now if I have this many reservations?
– Single and kidless
Dear Single and Kidless,
Having worked with many couples with infertility, my heart goes out to you. The grief that comes with not being able to concieve a child can be fierce. It seems that dating this man stirs up some of those feelings for you. I wonder how much you’ve allowed yourself to work through this grief and if you’ve talked to a coach or counselor about it. It may be that dating or recoupling with a dad isn’t the best choice for you. It seems you set a fairly firm boundary with dating kidless men before you met this guy and I’m curious what it was about him that made you think you might be able to deal with his situation? You mention that you really like him and you’ve also dated enough to know. Have you talked to him about your feelings or kept them to yourself? I wonder if some of your loneliness might be coming from holding this in. I do think it’s wise to consider whether you can commit to any man with children before you meet them and get more involved, for their sake and yours. It seems you are at a bit of a crossroads in this particular situation and I think it’s brave that you’ve reached out for help. I think for you, I’d give this situation a great deal more exploration – with friends, a therapist or a coach. Best of luck!
Dear Divorce Coach,
I have been dating a woman for about eight months and my kids seem to really like my girlfriend and her daughter. My ex-wife is a different story. She loves to tell the kids lies about my girlfriend and encourages them to find things wrong with her daughter. The kids all attend the same elementary school and she loves to spread gossip to the other moms about us at PTA meetings and other school events. My girlfriend has been pretty tolerant until recently when my ex-wife started a rumor that her daughter has an eating disorder. I’m worried that this will cause her so much distress that she breaks up with me. I’m so angry with my ex but I don’t know what I can do.
– Dealing with a jealous ex
Dear Dealing with a Jealous Ex,
It sounds like your ex is holding onto a lot of anger and resentment from the breakup of your marriage. It is not uncommon for people to feel threatened by their ex-partner’s recoupling. Knowing that your kids are spending time with your new love and her daughter can trigger some feelings of being left behind and possibly even inadequacy. While these feelings are not unusual, the behavior she’s exhibiting is unfortunate especially because of the impact it’s having on an innocent child. I’m not surprised that your girlfriend is being a bit of a mama bear – if someone was spreading rumors about my child I wouldn’t take too kindly to it either. I think the best thing you can do in this situation is to show up for your girlfriend and show her kindness and understanding. I’m sure you’ve already told your ex-wife to knock it off but getting into repeated fights with her might also provide the ammo she’s looking for to be included and relevant in your situation. At this point, if you’ve already spoken to her, I would try to focus on the business of co-parenting with your ex and leave all talk of your girlfriend out of your conversations.