Dating After Divorce? How Much To Tell Your New Guy
When you begin settling into your new life as a divorced woman, you will start mingling with other singles and eventually begin dating.
Many women struggle with what and how much to tell their dates. Remember: There is an important distinction between telling your new man about your divorce and telling him that you are divorced.
When dating someone new, make it clear from the beginning that you are divorced or in the process of divorce. Be honest. You need not say anything more. Casually bring up your divorce in a non-threatening way. You could even ask your date if he has been married before. Do not ask him questions about his past relationships, and if he asks you about your divorce simply reply, "I'll tell you some other time. Right now, I would like to know more about you." This shows that you are not trying to hide anything and that you have moved on.
The first few dates are for two people to get to know each other, not a time to rehash past painful memories. Nothing will turn off a guy more than that. You want your date to know that you are divorced because some men may prefer not to date divorcees, or they may have strong religious beliefs about divorce. If this is the case, it's better that you find out his feelings early on instead of wasting your time and energy on him. Another factor is that you do not want him to think that you were trying to mislead them.
On a side note, if you have children, you should mention that you are a single mom. However, do not spend the evening telling your date about Johnny's scholastic or sports accomplishments.
The answer to the question "When to tell your new man about your divorce" — as in, the details — depends on several factors. There is no clear cut time. In time, as the two of you grow closer, natural conversations will begin to pop up about previous relationships. This is the time to tell him about your divorce. Begin slowly; you don't want to scare him away by telling him every last detail.
You want to give a calm, even-keeled version of your divorce. According to Tina B. Tessina, PH.D., author of "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again," you do not want to tell your story in a way that shows you were the poor victim of an awful human being. You want your new man, to see that you have learned from your experience, and you take responsibility for any part that you played in the breakup of your marriage. Do not refer to your ex as a cheater or liar. Would you want to date a man that referred to his ex in derogatory terms?
When telling your new man about your divorce, pay special attention to his reactions. Is he empathic? Is he criticizing anything that you have said? Does he seem overly protective or jealous? You may be unintentionally triggering bad vibes for your man that could be detrimental. His response will tell you if you should continue with your stories or if it is time to shut up.
If your man is reacting negatively, it may be a good time to switch the conversation over to him. Find out what makes him tick. Ask him why your story is affecting him negatively. It could be something from his own personal experiences, or he could be afraid that you have unresolved feelings for your ex. Talking it over will enable you the two of you to sort things out and grow closer in the process.
If you still have unresolved issues because of your divorce or are dealing with co-parenting problems, don't hash it out with your man. Instead, confide in a trusted friend or speak to a skilled divorce coach.