Jackie, I’m getting divorced. Is it OK to tell a new woman that I’m divorced even though the papers aren’t signed yet?
HELL NO. That is my gut reaction in answering this question.
In my experience over the past several years, I have found that people are very particular when it comes to the specifics of someone’s divorce timeline.
There are certain men and women who won’t date someone who isn’t officially divorced. There are people who won’t even consider getting involved with someone who is still living in the same house as their soon-to-be ex, even if the person is living there for financial reasons or for the kids. But, there are those who consider being separated the same thing as being divorced, and don’t care whether the divorce is officially final or not, or where the person is living.
But, in any case, I think everyone deserves to know the truth. In your mind, you might be separated and FEEL divorced already. And that’s OK. That can be even be a good thing. But, I think anyone dating owes it to others to be upfront about where they are in there divorce. There’s a big difference when someone who has been separated for 3 months and someone who has been separated for 3 years. Doesn’t the person you are going out with deserve to know what’s really going on? I think so.
Here’s the thing. Most people think that if a person is newly separated, there’s a chance they could get back together with their spouse. And that’s a valid concern, in my opinion. BUT, what those who have such issues with that don’t realize is, someone could be officially divorced and end up reconciling with their ex, even after years. There are never any guarantees. Now, does someone who is newly separated probably have a better chance at getting back together? Probably. Which is why someone who is dating should really be honest with his or her dates on where they are in the divorce process.
I think with honesty and the right words, many people would accept the fact that the divorce isn’t final.
It really bothers me when people say things like “He or she just got separated. They aren’t ready for anything serious” because how do they know that? Sure, a person who is newly separated might want some space and some time to meet a bunch of new people. But, how do we know what the real story is?
Sometimes when people are “newly separated,” they have felt alone and lonely for years, accepted the fact that the relationship has been over for years, exhausted every avenue to try to save it, and are now ready to get into another relationship. No one should judge someone who gets into a relationship while not officially divorced, because no one knows the whole story.
In closing, the best advice I can give is to be honest and upfront. You should never tell someone you are divorced if you are not. If they choose not to date you for that reason, then so be it. But some people will be OK with it. You really can’t go wrong with honesty. Honestly.