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Dating before the divorce is final

By Tom P Blake

A woman named Arlene emailed me Wednesday night: "I am in the process of getting divorced and I am not sure when the final court date will occur. I am 62 and had been with my soon to be ex-husband for 38 years. Although with a separation date of August, 2011, I am still hesitant to venture into the dating arena. To say the least I am nervous and a bit frightened to begin to even attempt to date. My husband already tells people he is divorced. Would like a bit of advice."


Arlene wrote me in response to a notice I had sent out about our singles Meet and Greet event that we had last night at my Dana Point, California, deli. She asked, "Is your evening one in which if I arrived alone and just wanted to kind of get a feel for meeting new people be the right start for me? I sometimes feel as though I should be officially divorced before venturing out. Just wondering if most people you encounter wait for the final paper work to be processed. Would it be inappropriate for me to attend?


Arlene raises an important question for the age 50+ generation: Is dating before the final divorce date appropriate?


In her case, I think it is. She and her husband have been separated for two years; they are awaiting the final court date. Who knows how long that will take? Her husband has announced to people that he is divorced, when technically he isn't.


Every divorce case is different. When both members of the marriage know it's going to happen, why shouldn't they start to get out and meet new people and make new friends? I have a friend whose 10-year divorce case just settled. Neither he nor his wife waited to date; they would have lost a lot of years of living had they done so.


But here's a catch. When you tell someone you meet that you are dating and still married, that news may send the other person running off. There is a stigma to dating and still being married. I know of a case where a couple was separated for years. He started to date a nice woman. She understood his situation, was willing to wait for awhile, but wanted to be assured that a divorce definitely would happen. When time kept marching on with no divorce. She bailed; he was hurt.


But does still being married mean you shouldn't get out and make new friends? No. Here's what I wrote back to Arlene about her attending our Meet and Greet event.


Tom to Arlene: "It would be perfectly fine for you to attend. It would be a nice place to begin getting out there because there is no dating pressure or pressure to meet someone. Think of it as more of a social mixer than a singles function.


"Women often attend our functions alone and my significant other Greta and I do our best to make them feel comfortable by trying to introduce them to a few people to get started into conversations. The ratio of women to men is always out of whack, but that's what the dating world is about at age 60 and above--almost always more women than men. Don't worry about meeting a potential mate or even a man to date. That likely won't happen for awhile


"Your life isn't ending with the divorce. Instead, it's just beginning. And you must get out and socialize, even if it's just to make some new women friends. While you are still young at 62, you've been out of the singles world for 40 years--it's time to get social. Waiting for that to happen until the divorce is final will make it even harder to get started.


"At our Meet and Greet events, we take a short break from the music at 6:30 p.m. or so when I make short announcements. Then, we offer the option for new people--if they wish-- to introduce themselves and say a few words about themselves. Let Greta know if you'd like to do that.


"Relax, have fun and don't worry."


I am sure our Champs will share their opinions on dating before the final divorce bell rings.

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