Friday, December 4, 2015

Cheater Cheater. When Is It Ok To Start Dating Again Post Split?

My latest via Divorced Moms. A touchy, but oh so important, topic. And one I feel passionately about.

Are You Cheating By Dating Before Your Divorce Is Final?
by Lizzy Smith (for Divorced Moms)                    
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December 05, 2015
635650960363111103Fotolia_22160162_XS.jpgSeveral weeks ago, I got an email from a reader asking if I thought that dating before your divorce was final was considered cheating. This, honestly, is a complicated question. Sure, the marriage is over, the two of you have officially split, the divorce petition is filed… So, is it ok to jump into dating? And, if you do, while likely hurtful to your soon-to-be ex, is it considered cheating?

I’m going to say that, yes, it is cheating. And if it isn’t cheating, it definitely is wrong. And the reasons are many. I speak with experience. As I’ve written a million times, I despised my now ex-husband while we were married. I never loved him. He was a volatile, mean and abusive alcoholic. He was evil and frightening at times. When I finally left him in the wake of my cancer diagnosis, I was so over it (and him). Yet… when we left, there were two very confused and hurt children. I was sick (extremely sick, like life-threatening sick). We were confused and scared… There were so many unresolved issues between my ex and me, like filing for divorce, all of my belongings were still in our shared home, we had many assets to divide, even dogs that needed to be split. Life was so “up in the air.” While the girls and I were trying to settle and make sense of a life that none of us chose or foresaw coming, and I was getting chemo and losing my hair and dropping weight at an alarming rate, my husband was on dating sites within days of our departure. Within several weeks, he had a new girlfriend, the one he is with some four years later. It was devastating to me to think that while we were in such turmoil, he was having new sex with a woman he just met and enjoying the start of a new relationship. And, truly, what was this very emotionally sick man doing dating instead of healing, dealing with his severe alcoholism, and concentrating on confused and bewildered children.

As he dated so quickly, what was he teaching his two older children about family and marriage? That is mean absolutely nothing at all. It was all just so… so WRONG.

And for the new woman in his life, I had to wonder what kind of idiot dated a man under these circumstances. And why she chose to hop into the middle of someone else’s marriage and complex divorce. As a survivor herself of a divorce, she knew how horrible the entire process could be. While my ex and I had split, for her, dating a guy under such horrible circumstances meant she was dating a major asshole with huge unresolved emotional issues. Why would any woman do something so stupid on purpose? I had to think she was as emotionally sick as he was. And she had now inherited a deeply sick, disturbing man. Have fun! (And guess what, he hasn't change a bit. A friend of mine who lives in Rob the Great Alcoholic's  neighborhood sees him pounding drinks at bars all over town.)

And for me… it made me dig my heels into the proverbial sand when it came to our divorce even that much harder. If he wanted to enjoy having fun while I was so sick and the kids were so hurt, I was even less willing to have conversations with him that would make the divorce easier on him. I knew what I was owed (a lot, considering I loaned him a ton of money to pay off his former wife) and I was hell-bent on making sure I got exactly what I was entitled to.

So, based on my experience (and the experiences of others I know), here is why, if you ask me, you should refrain yourself from dating until after your divorce is final (even if your husband is jumping back in already):

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