DATING AFTER BREAKUP OR DIVORCE???
I get a lot of questions about the rules of dating amidst a big breakup. Especially during a divorce, can you date someone who is separated but still legally married? And how can you get back out there after divorce and avoid making the same relationship mistake again?
Today, divorce lawyer Jacqueline Newman is here with tips on how to date during a divorce, and the steps you need to take when dating after a breakup as detailed in her book, The New Rules of Divorce: Twelve Secrets to Protecting Your Wealth, Health and Happiness.
DATING DISH (1:55)
(1:55) Getting cuffed for the holidays: Cuffing season is upon us – which means a new study from Mashable about cuffing with a breakdown on this year’s season of love.
Now if you don’t know, “cuffing season” ranges from around the beginning of October to Valentine’s Day, and refers to wanting to settle down more in dating (read: cuff-up with someone for the colder months.) There are a number of factors that make us consider long-term relationships around this time:
- Family gatherings and prying questions from grandma about your dating life
- Less sun exposure so we’re biologically less motivated seek connection
- Seasonal affective disorder and an uptick of feelings of loneliness
The Mashable study surveyed 2,000 American adults, and 71% said they’re more interested in long-term relationships now compared to pre-pandemic (which we saw in another study D&M covered by OK Cupid).
Logan Ury (Relationship Scientist from Hinge previously featured on D&M) says in the article, this means “you can skip the small talk and have a really interesting conversation,” and go in on a deeper level. HOWEVER, this can lead to burnout very quickly, especially if you’re putting emotional energy into every person you may have an ounce of chemistry with.
My advice: stay in the game, and don’t run at the first sign of conflict. We have to push through the moments where we feel like giving up because we’ve put 100% of ourselves into dating apps with zero payoff. Try to swipe a little more liberally to increase the amount of conversations you’re starting, but be more vigilant with your screening process of who you’d actually like to meet in person. Remember – it’s just a conversation, not a marriage commitment
(8:14) How to dating with Social Anxiety
Dating can feel impossible at times if you experience social anxiety – but trust me you are not alone. Especially after a whole year sans cultural appropriation, no one feels 100% comfortable in person anymore.
This article from Psychology Today covers a study published in Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology which examined the impact of social anxiety and depression on adult relationships.
I was inspired by this article to find some tips to calm your mind when going on dates:
- Read up on some interesting facts or current events – this way, you’ll have topics on the back burner in case the conversation gets quiet. I also encourage you to have stories that you want to share about yourself on the date, in case your mind goes blank.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself – instead of feeling bad when there are lulls in the conversation, use it as an opportunity to ask a question on a topic that you know the other person is interested in, or one where you’re curious for their opinion.
- Get comfortable with silence – instead of feeling pressure to fill the silence or assume that this means you’re not doing your part, wait and see if the other person steps in to fill it. Conversations, much like relationships, are a two-way street. Remember that not all the responsibility is on you.
- Excuse yourself for a moment – if your anxiety gets triggered, excuse yourself and find a quiet place to regroup. If you’re at a restaurant, for example, leave to use the restroom and spend the next couple of minutes doing some deep breathing exercises. The more you can get in touch with your body and the present moment, the more relieved you will feel. This also works with getting in touch with your senses. Fill in these blanks in your head: I see, I hear, I feel, I smell.
REBRAND YOUR BREAKUP (13:40)
I’m joined by Jaqueline Newman, the Managing Partner at a top law firm in Manhattan. She specializes in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and also in negotiating prenuptial agreements. She’s the go-to for divorce advice and has appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, and so much more.
She tells us where she sees relationships go wrong and how to rebrand yourself after a breakup.
(14:58) What really causes divorce?: Jacqueline gives two main reasons: failed expectations, and communication and not being able to “fight well.”
Everyone loves the honeymoon phase of a relationship, but it’s inevitable that couples will get into disagreements. According to Jacqueline, what really matters is how you get through those disagreements. A big part of this is tabling your emotions during a disagreement – people can forgive, but they don’t forget.
From a divorce perspective, if you say some really harsh things to your partner in the heat of the moment, this has serious consequences for your relationship and will likely come up in divorce proceedings. So don’t hit below the belt, avoid name-calling, and don’t push the buttons that you know would really hurt the other person. Remember: if you do find yourself getting emotionally charged, separate yourself from the conversation until you can think more clearly.
(20:10) Someone’s gotta wash the dishes: Can you relate? Jacqueline hates doing the dishes. She would always ask her husband to do them, they would never get done, and this would lead to an argument.
They eventually found a compromise: from the time Jacqueline asked her husband to do the dishes, he would have a 24 hour window to get them done. In that time period, she couldn’t ask or nag him about the dishes at all. In this case, Jacqueline compromised by asking her husband how much time HE needed to get the dishes done.
(23:12) Social media sets up our expectations: Failed expectations are a big reason for divorce. Jacqueline says that social media is mainly responsible for this. Even though we all have a sense that what other people post is not the whole picture, it can be really easy to compare our lives to Facebook posts. The bar we set for our relationship is so unrealistically high that when things get hard in our own relationships it brings up a lot of self-doubt, anger, and resentment.
(26:08) When is the right time to start dating amidst divorce?: Before getting divorced AT ALL, Jacqueline will ask her clients “are you sure you want to get divorced?”
If she hears even a nanosecond of hesitation, she will tell her clients to go to marriage counseling first. Getting divorced takes a huge financial and emotional toll, and it’s hard to turn back. So you need to be absolutely sure before going through with it.
HOT TAKE: As far as dating, Jacqueline says that she thinks dating during the divorce process is okay but who you are dating should not meet your kids. The point is to move forward with your life as much as possible.
Plus, she encourages you to celebrate if your ex is dating someone new, because a happier person makes for an easier divorce. Seriously, it’s a lot harder to divorce a bitter person.
(29:46) Finances in non-marriage: Mixing finances with your partner when you’re not married can become a bit more complicated. Jacqueline says to check your state’s laws on finances because some states such as New York will not acknowledge common-law marriages (i.e. without having formally registered the relationship as a civil or religious marriage). Although things like child support remain practically the same, things you would otherwise be entitled to, such as asset growth or spouse support, would not be required of the other person by law.
(35:50) Living your post-divorce life: A lot of opportunities exists post-divorce since you’ve undoubtedly grown and learned a lot in the process. Jacqueline asks that if you’ve just been divorced, prioritize self-care.
The divorces process is a tiring one, especially if a custody battle or a lot of negotiating was involved. Make sure that you’ve fully healed and taken the time to know yourself again so that you can go into dating or a relationship and be able to give as much love as you have for yourself. Also, consider making a 5-year plan for yourself so you are really clear on where you want your life to go from here and on the kind of person you want to be.
Be sure to get a copy of Jacqueline’s book here.
DEAR DAMONA (38:20)
- Email from Anonymous – Hey Damona! So, I recently started dating someone. We texted for about a week, quite a bit. We had a first date, which was great and I felt we connected. We subsequently have had 6 dates (in two weeks), 3 of which were at his home just hanging out. Completely G-rated. How can I find out if he still wants to pursue a relationship with me, since I feel like his texts have cooled down the past few days. I thought things were going really well. Also, I was upfront at the beginning that my ex is in the process of moving out after this whole pandemic thing… Thanks!
- Voice Message from Jon – Hi, this is Jon and I have a question for Damona Hoffman. So I’ve been seeing this guy for about 2 months now and we met on tinder, and I feel that we definitely have a connection. We’re able to make each other smile, make each other laugh, particularly when we converse in text, FaceTime and phone calls. I even hear him say that he misses me, particularly when he goes out of town on trips. And when he was on a trip to Cabo, he sent me a text saying that he was accepting husband applications, and so you can kind of see how I would take that, that we’re taking it possibly to the next level. So I said that he was my boyfriend. Well, I got a text from him, and it quotes: “Listen, we have to talk. I don’t want to talk anytime before that because I have to get ready for my meeting tomorrow. Walked into lies and they were all congratulating me on my new boyfriend, and while I’m flattered, this is far from what I wanted and at the speed I needed. We are exclusive and I’m not seeing anyone else. I feel it’s far too soon for that title, we’ve collectively spent two weekends together. I really think we need to pump the brakes a lot. I’m not appreciating the liberties you’re taking with these things. Honestly, I’m flattered and I know these aren’t malicious, but these are things I’m looking for in my relationship. It’s about talking about these things and making sure we are both clear. I think I need to take a break and I’ve cancelled my trip for the 14th.” – meaning that he was planning a trip to visit me in North Carolina – “That doesn’t change the fact that I like you, but I need to pause.” So the next day, he called me and we had a conversation. He told me that he wanted a break and that this was not a break-up, however after 7 days I still have not heard from him. I’m getting a little bit of anxiety and allowing my fear to manifest, and think that this is more of a break-up as opposed to a break. So my question is, is this a break? And if so, how long should I allow a certain amount of time before I start to think, if anything, that it’s a break-up. I would love your insight, thank you!