"Cate I date while going through a divorce?" This question comes up often when one is in the process of dissolving a marriage, but dating while going through a divorce is a sticky subject. There are a lot of factors to consider, especially if you have children who will also be affected by your decision to date.
Legally, the issue is generally black and white-most states don't have a law against dating while going through a divorce. However, if sexual relationships are involved, they can raise the issue of adultery, which is illegal in 23 US states, including:
Divorce carries a heavy emotional burden on all parties involved, especially children. Dating while going through a divorce displaces the energy that should be used on completing the divorce to starting a new life before it's time. This will only raise tensions and exacerbate the legal proceedings. There's also the concern that without enough separation from your spouse, you could choose a partner who has the same negative qualities.
Dating during a divorce may not be illegal, but it can give ammunition to your spouse. For example, if you're out on a date instead of watching your children, your spouse can use that in a custody battle. As sexist as it may be, this affects mainly women going through a divorce. Additionally, if an affair was part of the reason for a divorce, a judge won't look kindly upon dating during the legal proceedings.
Children can be especially sensitive to a parent dating someone else, during and after a divorce. Children ages 5 and 6 and those entering adolescence are the most vulnerable.
There are many things to consider before dating while going through a divorce. Ask yourself these questions before taking the next step:
There's no right or wrong way to go through a divorce. It depends on the situation. Regardless, you'll have the rest of your life to meet someone else, and that can happen sooner if you finalize the divorce sooner.
After divorce, most people go through three phases of romantic recovery. How about you? Do you know where you stand?