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Ask Julie: Difficult Divorce

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Dear Julie,

A few years ago, I went through a difficult divorce after discovering that my husband of 20+ years was having affairs.   After the divorce, I reconnected with an old boyfriend who lived out of state and he ended things abruptly. I haven’t been in the dating world in SO long and honestly, I’m not that comfortable with it plus I’m gun-shy after all of this.

About a year ago, I ran into an old acquaintance and turns out he was in the middle of a divorce. We became friends with benefits but never went on a date. He was honest and said he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship especially until his divorce was final. It was so fun being with him that I have continued to see him even though we still haven’t been on a date. Now I am in a pickle.  

I’m not one who can sleep with someone not get emotionally attached. So here I am, emotionally attached to someone who isn’t available right now and wondering if he will ever be ready for a relationship, if he will want one with me or if he just likes this arrangement that I have made very easy for him. My discomfort with this is starting to outweigh the benefits but I can’t seem to let go of the hope that this may work out as an actual out in the open relationship. Help! 

Signed, Waiting… but should I?

Dear Waiting,

Girl, I think we can all relate to a version of this scenario!

So, you were married for a long time to a dishonest dude. Then you experienced a rebound that left you stunned and heartbroken, again. You have had a lot of pain and emotional garbage to deal with. Of course, you are interested in some fun! But now you are at a point when it is causing you pain so let’s look at this:

You enjoy what this arrangement has been offering you until now. It has also given you an excuse not to get into the dating world. But now, here you are, wanting a relationship, engaging with a man and not actually having the relationship that you want. Will he want what you want and want it with you at some point? Who knows and it doesn’t matter. All you know is what you know now and what you know is that you do not and have not had a solid, out in the open relationship and that is what you want. So what to do…

You can continue what you are doing and hope that he comes around AND also hope that you like who he is in this capacity. That old “watch what you wish for” adage applies here. A frank conversation with him is also an option, laying your cards out and asking where he is with this. His actions are speaking clearly (read that again) but a conversation may shed light… or add more confusion. 

You can continue seeing him when it suits you (or him as I’m guessing he calls the shots) and at the same time, get serious about putting yourself out there to meet other men. I mean seriously. However, that looks to you… dating sites, volunteer work, chatting more at the gym, meet up groups, spreading the word that you are interested in meeting someone… go do it. Often. If you aren’t sure how to go about it, engage in more things that you enjoy that include the opposite sex. Have more fun in your life and life happens.

Finally, you could stop seeing him altogether. This isn’t what you want so you are done. Cold turkey. Then take action on meeting new people. Action is the cure to what ails you in this case. You may not be willing to cut it off completely so plan B is a way to wean yourself off of him while opening the door for someone new. Just be aware of how open you truly are to meeting someone or if you are just going through the motions. At least go cold turkey for 30 days and see how you feel then.

There is no right or wrong answer here. Only you know what you want and what you are willing to do to get it. You want a relationship so go get it with someone who wants the same thing that you do. We tend to think that chemistry only comes around once and that simply isn’t true. Start calling the shots in your personal life, figure out what you want, know that you deserve it and dare to go after it. Call in reinforcements aka friends to hold you accountable. It’s your love life. Stop putting it in the hands of another. You have choices, you just have to open the doors so others can walk through.  

Now go get ‘em!

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