Don’t have a new boyfriend or girlfriend during a divorce.
As old fashioned as it may sound, you are still married.
If you are in the middle of a divorce, you are going through one of the worst times of your life. You are hurt, maybe humiliated, and ready to reassure yourself you are still attractive to other potential love interests. The middle of a divorce is no time to find the love of your life. Almost surely, you will make your situation worse if you get yourself a new boyfriend or girlfriend.
When I tell clients not to have a boyfriend or girlfriend while their divorce is pending, here is what they sometimes say to me:
- “My soon to be ex is having an affair. I can too.”
- I reply … clear thinking shows this is illogical. My clients usually know on a global level that bad behavior on someone’s part does not justify bad behavior on their part. They teach their children that and their parents taught them that. Let me remind you of something you probably already know at some level … an affair on your part will not undo the hurt of betrayal. It just makes you a perpetrator as well as a victim.
- “Sometimes life just brings you surprises at the wrong time. I cannot let this person slip out of my life.”
- I reply … this is likely wishful thinking. What is really unique about this time is your vulnerability. If this person really is a long term love interest, they can wait. If they will not wait then you need to let them go completely. If they will wait … then they really have to wait. That means, no dates, no kisses, and no lingering looks. Just break it off with an appointment to meet four months after you are divorced.
- “We are just friends.”
- I reply … friends sometimes turn into lovers. You do not kiss friends. You do not go on dates with friends. Do not fool yourself. You are very vulnerable.
- Facebook friends are public friends.be careful what you post and who you “friend.”
- “I am in love.”
- In reply … I remind clients that love is a commitment. As the spouse of someone else, and a litigant in a divorce case, they are in no position to make that sort of commitment. Divorce is so traumatic I usually don’t like my client so buy a new car, or get a pet … it is too big a commitment for someone in the midst of trauma. If a new car or pet is too much of a commitment, certainly a new love is not OK.
- “Don’t worry, after what I have been through, I will never have a love life again.”
- I reply … this is almost certainly not true. Often I hear this remark in the context of birth control. Sometimes, a woman client tells me she is using a long list of drugs, but no birth control. So … What you are doing for birth control? Then she says … “not having sex.” This is a recipe for disaster. Reminder … you are very vulnerable. Men … same question applies to you. Do not be surprised by a sudden romantic and irresistible encounter. It never ceases to amaze me how many folks become pregnant or impregnate someone while in the middle of a divorce.
Affairs, even after separation, are used to extract concessions in property and child care negotiations. If the case goes to trial, the Judge and the Jury will hate that you had an affair. If it was a payback affair, the Judge and Jury will think both you and your soon to be ex deserve each other.
Divorce is a life altering event. You will never be the same again. However, you will heal; things will get better; and one day love may come again. Focus on yourself and your situation. When the time is right, love will find you.