Remember that drunken New Year’s Eve party, where I met the Wise Old Party Dude (WOPD) who told me that 4.5 months is the ideal end-point for any post-divorce dalliance? Because the weight of your collective traumas will always crush the life out of any relationship, you should high-tail it out before you start gasping. That’s what he told me.
WOPD was full of shit.
The other day I was having lunch with the ladies at work (my team is comprised of four women, all single). Not surprisingly, we were discussing dudes. Specifically, the difference between Dating Life 1 in one’s twenties and Dating Life 2 after the middle-age divorce.
- DL 1: You and all of your potential dates are marital virgins—no knots have been tied.
- DL 2: You and all of your potentials have been through serious relationship->living together->marriage->children->marriage collapse->divorce->online dating.
- DL 1: You have no freaking idea what you’re doing and you are looking for some similarly clueless person to bumble through it with you.
- DL 2: You have long history and at least a sketchy idea about the future and you are looking for someone whose sketchy plans jibe with yours.
- DL 1: You are young and fresh and full of hope. You have no idea what you need.
- DL 2: You are old and creaky and chipped and stained. You need someone who is also life-battered and who is prepared to prop you up and be propped, to stroke your imperfections and be stroked, and to bring an open heart.
Should you be lucky enough to find such a person, 4.5 months is not enough. Not nearly enough. How long is the right amount of time? That cannot be determined in advance and certainly not by the likes of some bitter old drunk at a party. Somewhere between one more day and forever. YMMV.