I’ve written quite a bit about dating in the past, and when you get to a certain age, there’s a very good chance your beau has an ex. They may even not be too distant an ex either. When you’ve just come out of a long-term relationship, the world looks a bit different. If you have just started to date someone who’s seeing the world from a brand-new point of view, you might run into a bit of trouble, to begin with. They have just gone through a turbulent period and said goodbye to one of their best friends; your ability to understand this will determine how well you cope with it.
The end of a long-term relationship is like a grieving process. For the purpose of this blog, I’m not talking about situations where a partner has died. That’s a whole different ball game than a relationship that has just ended and I think that’s a lot more specialised subject. So, we’ll just look at the bog-standard divorce or breakup. I’m also not talking about short-term relationships either. I’m talking about 5, 10, 20 years etc, marriage, kids, homes, mortgages.
If you meet a potential new partner who you think is worth the investment, but they are still in the grieving process, then the key is patience. And a ton of understanding.
They Don’t Know How To Be Single Yet
It’s that long since I was married or lived with someone other than my kid, that I’ve literally forgotten what it’s like. Now imagine that situation reversed and the person who has just got out of a relationship after 10 years having to adjust to life on their own. Doing their own cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping. It’s a bit like leaving home for the first time all over again and having to remember to go to Tesco and buy food and bog roll because you’re used to someone else doing it for you.
It doesn’t help that dating these days is like arriving in a foreign country and not having a clue what language they speak or the currency they accept. It’s a whole new world to what it was the last time they were single. They’ve gotten out of the habit of remembering to answer texts, make arrangements, even make an effort! They don’t know how to be single or date; they know how to be in a relationship. This doesn’t mean that they’re looking for one quite yet, though, it just implies that this is what they know. They’d probably cope better if you lived together from day one and just fit into each other’s routines. Unfortunately, life isn’t quite that straight forward.
They Won’t Know What They Want
They may say they are looking for a relationship. Do they want a replacement wife or a new adventure? Men are creatures of habit so it’s easy for them to want a carbon copy of their ex minus the faults. But that relationship didn’t work out for a reason and as we get older what we actually want from our partners’ changes. If you’ve already done the home, kids, secure job thing, then you won’t want a partner who still wants all that or has yet to do it. Dating someone that just got out of a relationship will be confusing because what they want from the relationship will be a learning curve for you both. You may have been single for ages and know exactly what you want. They’ve still to figure that out.
I still haven’t decided if I want to live with someone ever again! I’m quite happy doing sleepovers and date nights.
The Past Will Haunt You, To Begin With
Every single one of us has a past, but sometimes we forget that. They have an ex. He may have kids. They may still have a divorce to sort. Money stuff. Kid stuff. Support them, but DO NOT get involved. You aren’t their mother or their keeper. You’re the person they’ve just met. Stay out of their marital problems and any arguments that may occur. You only know one side of the story and there may be red flags starring you in the face you need to pay attention to.
Like I said before, men are creatures of habit so when they start to date after coming out of a relationship, it’s easier for them if the new squeeze can just slot into their lives. This may also mean that you literally fill the space the ex-left. Hanging out with the same groups of friends, going to the same places. You’ll be viewed as the replacement. And you’ll feel like it. Try to keep the early dates to just the two of you. If you are going to be a long-term thing then meeting the friends can wait. You don’t want to have to get along with people that might only be in your life for five minutes knowing they will all be judging and comparing you.
Are They Looking For A Serious Relationship?
When you’ve been seeing someone new for a short while and have noticed traces of stronger feelings, it’s sad to discover that the other one wasn’t as serious as you. If they see you as nothing more than a rebound and a bit of fun, it’s common decency to tell you this right from the start. It is sometimes the case, however, that your date isn’t even aware of this themselves. If they are looking for just Friends With Benefits, then it’s a conversation you really should have. It might actually work for you and be ok.
It feels good and exciting to be in a new relationship, no matter how serious it is, and they could have gotten in too deep without noticing it. You need to consider your steps carefully; if they ask for time and space to be alone, don’t scare them away with your wild emotions.
This is, after all, their time to discover what they really want out of a relationship – and more drama is certainly not something they’ll be looking for.
It’s time to take a leaf out of Take That’s book and have a little patience. But don’t be afraid to go your own way if you aren’t happy or getting what you want.
Dating is also scary. Most of us have some form of irrational fears. Mine involve dating. But are they irrational or relevant? And could a vegan actually kill me! Take a look at My Irrational Fears of Dating
** The Yes! I’m Singlet-shirt can be purchased from the Great Dates Shop