Should You Date During Your Divorce?


It’s understandable. You feel like your divorce has been dragging on forever. You’re ready to move on. And you meet someone new.

Is it time to jump in?

As it happens, there are some serious disadvantages to dating before your divorce is 100% finalized.

Dating creates animosity.

If you want a smooth, short, amicable divorce, dating is one of the worst things you can do. If you want to watch your ex turn vindictive, just start seeing someone else.

And no, it doesn’t seem to matter much if your ex cheated first. Human psychology is weird. Nobody likes to feel rejected, even when the rejection was their fault in the first place.

Remember, the calmer you can keep both parties, the less likely you are to have to go into court.

And as it happens, the new relationship can turn rocky during a divorce, too.  

Dating can impact spousal support.

Dating can impact your ability to get spousal support in a number of different ways. First, if your spouse might have agreed to a lump sum before he or she is unlikely to do so after.

Lump sums benefit you in many cases. If he or she pays by the month then they get to stop payments the moment you move in with someone else. Your ex is likely to bank on this.

Second, dating can keep you from getting spousal support at all. It can even happen if you don’t do anything other than sign up for a dating site. And if this new relationship doesn’t work out, you might end up really wishing you had it.

Dating can enter conversations about custody.

Once you start dating you force your ex, and the courts, to consider your new S.O.’s behavior, and the impact he or she might have on the kids. That harmless party picture your current beau or belle posted on Facebook six months ago could be evidence he or she will “expose the kids to drinking.”

Plus, dating in the middle of the divorce can make a time that’s already very fraught for the kids become even tougher.

Dating can cloud your judgment.

If there were ever a time you needed to be clear-headed and free from distractions, it’s in the middle of a divorce. You’ve got decisions to make, decisions which will impact the rest of your life. For good or for ill, new relationships take energy.

If the new boyfriend or girlfriend is really someone worth having in your life, they’ll understand, and they’ll be willing to wait. There’s a good chance they may not be worth having in your life. Even when it works out, there’s a good chance the new main squeeze might even regret dating you before the divorce was finalized.

Either way, timing matters. If not, have faith: there’s time enough to find a new person when you’ve resolved your unfinished business with the old one.


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