Dating while still married, although getting a divorce, can be tricky for all parties involved.
You need to be extremely careful while your divorce is not finalized, you need to prepare for the resentment your spouse might feel and the insecurity the person you started dating might experience. To deal with this with less stress, try following these five rules.
How to safely start a new relationship during divorce:
1. Don’t do it behind their backs:
When you start feeling attracted to another person but you already agreed with your spouse that you will be moving forward with the divorce, you will feel less guilty. Technically you’re already separated and probably living in different places, you just need to officialize what’s already become real.
But when we go through a divorce there could be some resentment from our partner and, if you give them an excuse to show that you’re not perfect, they could complicate things at court.
To avoid this, be upfront with your spouse about having already taken interest in someone and that person seems to reciprocate your feelings. They won’t be happy about it, but if they find out by you because you intentionally told them, it could become something that they can’t use against you or weaponize.
2. Make it clear that it doesn’t concern them anymore:
Even though you’re getting a divorce and moving on with your lives separately, it’s normal for your spouse to be a little jealous of the fact that you already seem to have found someone else. That’s especially true if your ex-partner is still single. That’s because this will indirectly imply that they are the problem and the reason for the divorce and that they’re the dysfunctional one, when it comes to relationships.
They might act up when they find out which doesn’t necessarily mean they want you back. Sometimes, when you love someone for so long, even though the love is no longer there, the memories are. And in delicate situations, such as divorce, people tend to confuse feelings and that’s why your spouse may be jealous.
They are being confronted with the reality that they will no longer be your partner, and that someone else is getting ready to replace them.
3. Make your relationship private until the divorce is final:
We advise you to tell your spouse that you are already seeing someone yes, but that doesn’t mean that you should officialize your new relationship and tell the rest of the world about it too. It may sound archaic, but when it comes to telling a judge at court that you had already started a new relationship before your divorce was finalized. And when they see that you even didn’t bother hiding it from the public, it will make it all look suspicious and as if you knew that person for long and during your marriage too.
In this case, the judges and decision-makers at court may tend to support your spouse’s side more and decide on a divorce settlement that favors them more than you.
If the judge in your divorce case already knows that you are in a relationship, it doesn’t matter what your spouse does with that information once it reaches them. Remember that first impressions count and you need to appear to be the one who had enough and got hurt rather than the cheater and one to blame for it all. Because it may take you a long time to be over your divorce.
4. Do things at a slower pace:
For many people, starting dating right after a divorce is scary. They need time to process the fact that their marriage wasn’t for life after all. Also, they might want to consider if they want to rebuild it all with someone else or not.
However, if you do start dating someone specific, during your divorce still, that just means that you found your way of going through such a hard time with someone’s help. Since they know about your situation they will be able to sympathize with you. If you want, let them know that your relationship can only evolve to something else after you are legally declared a divorced person.
The reason why you should do this is that you don’t want your lawyers or even the judges in your case to regard this new relationship as a serious one. You need to be able to have a clear mind in this situation and let the other person know that it doesn’t affect in any way how you feel about them.
You shouldn’t move in together with them or even plan on marrying next or having a child, etc. Essentially, there shouldn’t be doing anything that indicates that you have a romantic relationship. You want your relationship to look like a friendship in the eyes of everyone else.
5. Make it clear for the person you’re dating that your divorce isn’t final:
Sometimes you can’t help but fall in love with someone while you’re still married. You may have moved on but the paperwork doesn’t move at the same pace as you.
That’s why you should make it clear from the start that you are technically still married, but the divorce process is open. You need to prepare yourself for the fact that some people will refuse to date someone who’s still married. To make this go easier, try to put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn’t you be worried that the person you’re seeing reconciles with their spouse? Who wants to find themselves in the middle of something like this?
To prevent feelings from getting hurt, you need to be completely open about your situation, during the first date with every person you see. If your spouse is being difficult and vindictive during the divorce then it’s better to take things slow anyway rather than give them ammunition. In the meantime, you can check this article about how to deal with a vindictive partner during a divorce.