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From The Experts

We've gathered knowledgeable, dedicated divorce experts from a variety of fields to lend their advice and perspectives. Our experts include lawyers, healthcare professionals, certified professionals, and everyday women with insight into the topics that will help you stay empowered.

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Here are some questions from firstwivesworld.com bloggers. I hope my responses will be helpful!

From Megan Thomas: Can you recommend some books to read for healing a relationship?

There are a number of great books I'd recommend on this topic. My friend Lisa Steadman wrote, It's a Breakup Not a Breakdown about moving on and changing your life after a relationship. I've also heard that Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends by Bruce Fisher is an insightful and inspiring read. Or, if you want a light-hearted advice book, I contributed toYou Can Keep The Damn China: And 824 Other Great Tips on Dealing with Divorce in which hundreds of divorcees share their experiences of splitting up and moving on.

From Julie Savard: Do you believe that "living apart/together" relationships are healthy ones? Do you think this type of relationship is a good option to keep love together and that separating households can resolve some of the conflicts cohabitation brings to a marriage?

Many couples have unconventional arrangements that work for them. I know a married couple who swear by living apart, saying that the space keeps their passion alive and let's them maintain their independence and self-expression. I also know a divorced couple who both claim that this set-up distanced them so much that they started to lead very separate and disconnected lives. The bottom line is that living with another person will be both challenging and rewarding. A fulfilling relationship will look different to different people; and I truly believe that 'healthy' is defined by how much the relationship is meeting the needs of both people involved.

From Alice Brooks: There are all these sayings about how long it takes to be ready for another serious relationship after leaving a serious relationship. I've heard half the time you were in said relationship, for example. I'm concerned about finding myself getting serious about someone, and it's been about a year. I worry that's too early, I worry what I think is real — will it turn out to be a rebound, etc., etc. Is there a rough time scale we can use in this kind of thing? What kinds of concerns should have in terms of what I think is "kind of soon"?

I've also heard different theories about the time it takes before one is ready to date again after a big break-up. I don't think there's a set amount time. It's a very personal decision and process. Some people celebrate this new chapter of life by dating like crazy following their split. Others need serious time of reflection and processing before they can connect with someone new (even casually). If you don't believe you can sit with a new man without comparing every single thing he does or says to your ex, you may need more time. Sometimes, though, we don't know what we need until we take a risk.

Ask yourself: What if it doesn't work out the way you wish? In other words, if you take a risk in dating and you realize you weren't ready, then what? Most of the time we don't regret trying something and challenging ourselves. It's normal to feel anxious; but as much as possible, try not to predict how you'll feel until you're in the moment and really feeling it. You may surprise yourself.

Question: Should I tell someone on a first date that I am going through a divorce? When is it appropriate to share the information?

Being divorced is nothing to be ashamed of and as you and your date get to know each other, it's almost inevitable that you'll feel like you're holding something back if you don't share the fact that you are currently going through a divorce. It's appropriate, and I believe expected, that you are upfront about your status; however, no need to dwell on it on a first date. If you mention that you're divorced, just remember to keep the conversation relatively light and leave the details behind.

You can say, "I was in a much different chapter of my life when I got married and learned a lot through that relationship so I'm in a much better place now" If the person wants to delve more deeply you can add with a smile, "I can tell you all about it if we continue to spend time together but for now, I'm just excited to be out with you! So I want to focus on that." Just remember to stay positive. Even if your ex is a jerk, a first date is not the time to unload your baggage.

 

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4 comments

  • Comment Link Guest Friday, 21 September 2012 10:05 posted by Guest

    I like your attitude and your: I like your attitude and your right, the idea that opposites attract is a nice idea. However, soon or later there's a gap that begins to widen and it may be best to cut your losses sooner than later, just to maintain some sort of a friendship, before things get too "ugly".

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 15 April 2010 13:14 posted by Guest

    Jean, I don't believe that: Jean, I don't believe that there is any "official" time frame to start dating after divorce. It really depends on your "emotional" progression. I am recently divorced and a friend of mine summed it up perfectly in this analogy:

    Q: Is your cup empty?
    A: Huh?
    Q: If you have a cup that still contains cool, bitter coffee and you pour hot, steaming fresh coffee in it, what will happen?
    A: I guess the fresh coffee will not be as good because it will mix with the bitter?
    Q: Yes! So hun make sure your cup is empty before you pour the hot, steaming fresh in so you can enjoy it to its full potential!

    I realized for me that I shouldn't date until I resolved the feelings of bitterness I had toward my ex for divorcing me. I began the process by evaluating myself and my past relationships. I decided that I wanted to be in a little bit better physical shape before I started dating too. When I started working out, really just walking in the beginning, it energized me and increased my confidence. I emptied the old out and now am dating two different guys. I am gonna fill my cup up with exactly the type of coffee I want to drink the rest of my life, so now I am taste testing! LOL!

    Hope that helped!
    Coffee_Shop_Counselor

  • Comment Link Guest Thursday, 11 March 2010 19:28 posted by Guest

    Dating after divorce: This is for the guys! I am a 48 year young male who is very happy running around with my 23 year young female companion. I met her at my gym a week after I got my final divorce papers. I can say I have never been so happy in my life since my divorce. I need to qualify somethings. My ex and I married with an attitude that we will try and opposits seem to attract. However, the reality was just too much to handle for the both of us. She and I were just two very different people and we had a non hostile divorce and are still friends but just not partners in life. My current companion and I think and like very similar things from favorite color, food, thinking,planning, and desire to try new things in life.

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 01 April 2009 12:11 posted by Guest

    dating after divorce: What is an appropriate time frame to starting dating after divorce? I will be divorced this month but Have been separated almost two years. I want to follow appropriate etiquette, but am ready to date can you help me? I feel like family and ex-family will scrutinize me.