“Can I date during the divorce process or should I wait until the court hands out the final decree?” If you find yourself in this dilemma, you should know that it is normal to have mixed feelings about getting back into the dating scene, even if you had emotionally logged out of your marriage a long time ago.
For some people, dating someone new may represent a much-needed break from the pain and stress of divorce. Also, that feeling of being needed and wanted again can give your self-esteem a solid boost. However, in spite of the many benefits that a new relationship may bring into your life, dating while in a divorce is not without its cons. Here’s a quick look at why most legal experts advise against dating before your divorce is complete.
Dating during divorce can increase conflict with your soon-to-be ex-spouse
A divorce, which could have otherwise been settled peacefully, can turn bitter and acrimonious if your spouse takes offence to you dating while still married. He or she may even resort to blaming the divorce on your new relationship, even if you did not meet the person you are dating until recently.
However irrational you might find your spouse’s behavior, it is normal and common, and can potentially cause your divorce to drag for a longer time, costing you more time, money, and stress. If you decide to take your relationship to the next level and move in with your partner, it can have possible consequences on the final property settlement, including the alimony and level of support you are eligible to receive. In some states, dating before you are divorced may also be considered adultery.
Your emotions are not reliable
Divorce is a huge step and brings with it a lot of emotional and psychological changes. Your emotions are not very reliable right now, so any important decisions, including starting a new relationship, are best left for a time when you have worked through any unresolved issues from your marriage. Take this time for yourself to heal and understand what went wrong so that you don’t make those same mistakes again.
If you have kids
Your children are going through one of the toughest phases in life right now. Your decision to date or introduce a new adult in their lives at this point may be viewed as a betrayal and cause your children to distance themselves from you. On the other hand, if you give them enough time to deal with the divorce and recover from it before you start dating again, they may happily welcome your new partner.
Your ‘date’ may be dragged into the divorce
If your spouse decides to take the vindictive route and drag your new partner into the legal conflict, it can quickly put an end to the budding relationship. What’s more, the court may also decide to take your new partner’s background or past behavior into consideration while determining your child custody arrangements.
Dating during the divorce process: The final word
If you are thinking about dating during the divorce process only because you are lonely, look instead for a friend or a relative you can talk to. Or join a divorce support group where you can meet other people who are facing the same challenges. If you think you’ve indeed met the person you are destined to spend the rest of your life with, ask him or her to wait until the divorce is final. If the relationship is indeed meant to be, they would be willing to make that sacrifice for you.