In the early months of my separation, I went on an internet dating site. I limited my correspondence to four or five men and had a few dates with them. I really hit it off with one of the men. He is funny, cute, very sweet, stable, physically-fit, has good financial sense, and sounds like a good father to his kids. We have a lot in common, and he said I was easy to talk to. On our first date, after talking on the phone a few times, we sat grinning at each other across the table for so long that the waitress asked us if we were ready to order about five times before we could actually read the menu. We had a nice dinner, and stayed in the restaurant eating and drinking till they closed up. Then we walked down to a club and had a few more drinks; I stood close because I couldn’t hear him over the music and we kissed — it was magic. He dropped me off at home and we kissed like school kids — again, so tantalizing and delicious.
Then, silence for three days, and then a phone call. He said “I really like you. I REALLY like you. But I’ve been through a divorce and I know that you still have the hard times ahead to get through. I think you need another 12 months just to settle your divorce. I like you A LOT. But I think you are going to need the head-space, so I don’t think we should see each other until you’ve got it sorted out. I mean, we could still be friends but we can’t start a relationship until you are through this.”
I thanked him for his honesty and told him I’d reach out when my divorce was over. It’s now been seven months and the divorce is dragging on. I haven’t been on the dating site since my date with this man, and he has deleted his profile. I am getting a little obsessed that he may not wait for me. I guess I need reassurance that I dealt with this in the best possible way, so could you please ask your man panel if, after a date like that with a person like me, they might be still waiting? Or even wishing and hoping that I would be calling them soon?
(Don’t tell me to go out and get laid. I’ve got a fortnightly FWB arrangement with my karate instructor which is hassle-free, amazing sex.) — Stuck in a Limbo Divorce
I know you are desperate to know whether this dream man you went out with once has waited for you all these months, but no amount of man panels can answer that for you. And even if they could, it wouldn’t answer the real question you have, which is whether you will find happiness in love again. The answer to that is probably yes, though it may not be with your dream date. Honestly, it’s probably safe to say that it WON’T be with dream date. However wonderful your night out may have been, he was right: getting through a divorce takes an enormous amount of energy and it changes you in ways you can’t really predict. The woman you were on that date may not be the same woman you are now, and it may not be the same woman you’ll be once your divorce is finally behind you and you’ve gotten your own place and have moved on with your life.
You still have a lot to get through and you may find that what felt magical months ago on the heels of your separation while dipping your toes back into the dating world after years of being married, won’t feel so magical on the other side of divorce. I would caution you to try to be realistic and apply some of what you’ve surely — hopefully — learned about love and relationships to the way you pursue potential mates: everyone has flaws; no relationship is perfect; life isn’t a romantic comedy. A man isn’t going to meet a woman online, go on one great date, and then spend the next 12 months swearing off all others while waiting for her divorce to be finalized and her mental state to stabilize.
Your dream date probably hasn’t waited for you. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t welcome hearing from you, and it doesn’t mean he isn’t available to date or wouldn’t become available eventually. Maybe he’s dating someone else and maybe he isn’t. And maybe he thinks about your fondly and hopes when you are in a calmer, more stable place, you will reach out to him.
Are you in that place now? Or, are you just afraid you’re going to lose your chance with him? Either way, he did say you two could be friends and I don’t think it would hurt if you sent a short email telling him you were thinking of him, hoping he was well, and letting him know how you’re doing. Be honest with him — tell him that your divorce is still ongoing and you aren’t quite back on your feet but you’ve had many months to process the ending of your marriage and are excited about the next chapter.
Whether that piques his interest or if he’s even available to date you is impossible to say. But at the very least it will remind him of your presence and the great evening you shared together. And if he isn’t ready to date you now, because he’s unavailable or because he thinks you aren’t ready yet, then maybe this little reminder of your chemistry will be just the thing to stoke the flame for something in the future. But if it doesn’t, don’t give up. This was just your first foray back into the dating world. You may have had a wonderful date, but that doesn’t mean this is the only man out there for you. There are more where he came from and there’s no reason you can’t have plenty of fun looking for them.
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