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Dear Wendy

Being the first guy after her divorce

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  • #1110033 Reply

    I got out of a 14 year relationship/ 12 year marriage in August of 2018. When I first became single again and started dating, I felt lost. I knew I wanted to have someone in my life and that I did not want to grow old alone, but I also knew that I did not have the desire or ability to commit to another person at the time and was only good to be the every other weekend “boyfriend” on a Friday night only. I did not even want to sleep over after a relationship went sexual. Part of that mentality was stemming from the idea that I had been with the same woman for 14 years and how could I just waltz out and find my next right away? How could I know that there was not someone else still out there? It took me 2.5 years before I was able to see more than an every other weekend date. When I met her she was not even divorced yet and the relationship developed slow. We actually dated when I was 2 years post break up with my ex wife, but did not move forward until 6 months later. Yes, that slow….I liked her right away at our first date and was willing to give her the time she needed. We dated, our kids met, and we spent much of the summer together, but as the school year approached she again withdrew and the relationship ended. In the back of my mind I always had the thought that it was not good being the first man post divorce. I just remembered my thought process where I was not ready to move into another relationship. Whether or not that was why our relationship ended, I will never know, but the thought has always been in the back of my head. What I do know is that at that point I was certain that I was in the right emotional state for a relationship. My mind had shifted from wanting my alone time to thinking about her when I was not with her. I really liked finding that feeling again!

    So I moved forward and met and dated someone for the better part of the winter who I liked and was a good person, but I just could not get the butterflies when I thought of her. I just did not see it going anywhere and ended the relationship after 3.5 months with the intent and peace of being alone for a while. I had already scheduled an evening out with friends from college the next night and that was going to be my first step into my “alone” time resetting my emotional clock so to speak. It was a great time seeing old friends and not skipping a beat after all the years. Not too long into the night I was talking to one of my friends when I saw this absolutely breathtaking woman walk in and proceed directly to my friend Lynne with whom I hitched a ride out that night. When I saw her I was instantly attracted, but I was an hour away from home hanging out with friends and was heading back home in the morning. Eventually I ended up in a group conversation where this woman was talking. She took a liking to what I had to say and we ended up sitting at the bar talking for the next 4 hours. My friend who was playing music that night had finished his night and packed up all his gear nd came over to say goodbye and My friend who drove me left me 2 hours before. We were the last 2 non employees in the bar. I asked for her number and we took out separate LYFTs home.

    It has now been 3 months that we have been dating in my “alone” time LOL. I love that she is goofy like me. Likes going to the movies. Is a bit nerdy at times. At times it feels like we share a brain. We will text the exact same thing at the same time. We share the same entrepreneurial mindset. We have a great appreciation for health and care of our bodies. She is kind, thoughtful, gentle, funny, and incredible encouraging and supportive. She has the sweetest smile. Over the last 3 months I have found myself thinking about her constantly when I am not with her. When I am with her it seems as though the world shuts down and it is just her and me. I see her in my future thoughts and want to make plans with her. I am so dialed in to her and her needs that I am sometimes concerned that I need to find a way to be a bit less agreeable so as to keep up some kind of mystery or attraction tension. This is everything I have ever really wanted in a relationship and I have never been happier than I am right now! My only concern is that I am again the first man post her divorce. She so much as told me that our first time was her first time since she divorced. Right now our relationship is great and I just spent the best birthday I ever had with her! She made me feel so special. No one has ever done that for me before. At 3 months I think I am falling in love with her (If I haven’t already). This is where my fear kicks in. Is there any validity to my gnawing thought that you don’t want to be the first after a marriage ends? Is that just a male thought? Help me understand the thoughts in my head as I navigate life moving forward with this wonderful woman!

    #1110035 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa

    To preface, I’ve not been married or divorced, so my advice may not count as much as someone else’s with more life experience.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that all first relationships after divorce can’t last or be meaningful. Off the top of my head, one ended up marrying the first guy she dated after divorce. Another is married to a man who was still divorcing when they started dating and she was his first person post-divorce. And on the other end of the spectrum, one friend has been divorced for 4-5 years now and still can’t see herself in another LTR.

    One of my exes is divorced and I was the first person he dated after his divorce. His divorce was finalized maybe two or three months into our relationship. We dated for over a year and I was head over heels, but he was pretty good at hiding how messed up he was. I got burned in that relationship, so much so that if I could go back in time, I’d choose not to meet or date him. But I could’ve and should’ve paid closer attention IMO. When I got back into the dating scene, I was still open to divorcees, but would not have dated anyone still legally married and would have been very discerning about anyone who had been divorced under a year.

    So from my and friends’ experiences, I’d say that if your anxieties stem from something this woman is doing or saying, pay attention to that. Otherwise, everyone is different and will be ready to date again at different paces. Just because you weren’t ready to date again at a certain point does not make that a universal truth.

    #1110037 Reply

    Is it a male thought? Maybe it is, because as a woman this sounds ridiculous. I think a lot of people know exactly what they want after something as long and drawn out as most divorces are. You’re happy and you’re in love. Enjoy that and don’t look for things to make this bad in your mind.

    Or you can keep deciding to believe being the first man after a divorce is a bad thing and won’t ever work. You know sayings like that aren’t applicable to everyone and every situation right? Is it even a saying? Not one I’ve ever heard. The idea is you don’t want to date someone right after a breakup- you don’t want to be a rebound. And it’s something teenagers used to say. If a grown woman is telling you she is ready to date you, be in a relationship, you should respect her enough as a person that you believe her and stop this wondering if she’s ready or not. It’s pretty patronizing to think adult women don’t know if they are ready to date or not.

    #1110038 Reply

    Have you asked her about this stuff? 3 months into a relationship is a very reasonable time to ask questions like “what are you looking for from this relationship”, “do you feel ready to get serious with someone”, “do you feel like you’ve processed your divorce”, “where do you see us going”, “What are your dealbreakers in a relationship” Etc. Give some thought to what you want as well and talk about that with her. Is it to get married again someday? Or never again? Are you looking for the mother of your future children? Do you want to live with someone again?

    Listen to what she says, and from there it’s mainly a question of whether you trust what she says and if her actions line up with her words. None of us can guess whether being her first relationship after a divorce will end up with you getting a broken heart. It might, it might not. There is no universal rule that someone newly divorced is somehow incapable of being a good and committed partner who is ready for a relationship with someone else.

    #1110039 Reply

    From my experience, straight men tend to get over relationships faster after breakups and move on and we as women would look out for that because it’s so common. Women seem less likely to do that. But that’s also just 1 person’s experience.

    #1110040 Reply

    Wait, there were a number of women mentioned in this post so I’m confused. How long has this woman you’re currently dating been divorced? Kids? No kids?

    “Is there any validity to my gnawing thought that you don’t want to be the first after a marriage ends?” I mean, yes, that’s a valid thought, but what are you going to do, break up with her until she’s dated other guys?

    Unless she’s literally still married, or showing signs that she’s unstable, I would recommend you keep moving forward with good communication and pulse-checks.

    I do pick up on you seeming very infatuated and giddy about this woman, and want to point out that you’re very much in the starry-eyed honeymoon phase and that there’s not a lot of depth here yet. I think you should just keep spending time together and checking in to make sure you’re on the same page.

    #1110043 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa

    Yeah, the details about this woman that might raise from red flags (e.g., if her divorce is not yet final) are not included.

    Also, why did you decide you wanted to fly solo for awhile after the woman who didn’t give you butterflies? Did you feel like you still needed more time? Are you clear at this point what you want from your romantic future?

    “This is everything I have ever really wanted in a relationship and I have never been happier than I am right now!”

    ^^^This is literally what my divorced ex used to tell me. LOL. I think it’s great you’ve met someone you’re excited to spend time with and get to know — that part of relationships really is fun. Buuut yeah, it’s too soon to tell if she’s the right long-term partner for you. And it has nothing to do with either of you being divorced or how many people each of you has dated since.

    #1110044 Reply

    Is there a hard and fast rule that the first person you date after divorce can’t possibly be the one? No. The answer is no.

    You like her, she likes you. You work well together so far. TALK TO HER. Nothing will help you determine whether or not both of you want to stay in this relationship better than actually talking to one another.

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