I dated for many years, both before I was married and then for 15 years between marriages. So with over 25 years experience, I feel I’m somewhat an expert. I’ve also talked with women and men over the years about their dating experiences and have heard so many dating stories. So much of dating success is about timing. I’ve always felt there is more than one Mr. Right, but “Mr. Right” might not arrive at the “right time”.
Right after a divorce, most men (and to be fair, many women) are like frog princes (or princesses), emotionally wounded, unavailable, financially unsettled, and challenging. You can recognize them fairly quickly….the complain bitterly about their spouse (or last relationship), go on and on about the cost of the divorce, and in so many words let you know they are not ready for a relationship. Over time, most heal, often with therapy, and they may become the prince we initially hope for. However, it is important to recognize some of the signals I’ve seen about poor timing.
1. If they tell you straight away they aren’t ready for a relationship, believe them! This goes for behaviors that would indicate they aren’t ready, like wanting to date several women (and you’re ready for an exclusive relationship), heavy drinking or partying, or other distancing actions. Essential to a good relationship is both individuals being emotionally available.
2. They disappear for days or weeks and then tell you they are really, really busy, perhaps work is all-consuming, etc., yet they say they want to see you again. Their actions tell far more than their words. Believe what you see.
3. Their children are having serious behavioral/emotional issues and require an extraordinary amount of their time and focus. You are not their therapist, their care-giver, or their safe harbor. You may care, but being a care-giver while dating spells disaster. They need to be a parent first and foremost during the growing years.
4. You are the “transition relationship”. That is, you’re the first one they’re dating after the demise of their marriage. In this case, the messages are often very mixed. You look like an angel (and who doesn’t want to be adored?) compared to the horrible person they left. However, they haven’t yet become a whole person to themselves and are still incomplete and damaged, need to tell their sad story and look to you for comfort.
So, while you may have found Mr. Right, unless the timing is right for you both, proceed with caution. You want a relationship that is mutually rewarding and wonderfully fun!
By the way, I did find Mr. Right finally…at the right time for us both!
Won’t you join us in our upcoming relationships workshop—Tame the Tiger–Put the Passion back in your Relationships
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