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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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im seperated from my husband now. filed for divorce rescently.

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im seperated from my husband now. filed for divorce rescently.   when should i start dating?
there is someone ive known for a few years and we both want to date but dont know when we should start
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 6 years ago.
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I am sorry to hear about your pending divorce. I believe that you may not want to hear this, however dating soon after ending a marriage is generally not a healthy choice. There is a grieving process associated with divorce that takes time. Most experts recommend waiting at least a year after divorce in order to work on going through the stages of divorce without complicating it with a new relationship. You are more likely to make similar mistakes if you start a new relationship before working through your old one.


 


These are the STAGES OF DIVORCE


It has been observed that divorcing persons move through a natural progression of stages of divorce. Every person experiences these stages differently. (Some may skip a stage or two).


Stage 1: Disillusionment


Disillusionment begins when two spouses realize there are some very real differences between them. The person who is to fulfill almost all one's expectations, needs and ideals turns out to be depressed, sloppy, boring, unaffectionate, asocial, uncaring, insensitive, etc., etc. While these thoughts and statements intrude on the happiest of marriages, prolonged time spent dwelling on them sows the seeds of destruction.


Stage 2: Erosion


The state is characterized by a chipping away of each other's egos. One or the other says "I'm not getting enough out of this marriage." Sometimes, a careful vigilance is maintained to make sure that one does not give any more than the other. The concentration in this period is on taking rather than giving, being loved instead of loving. Sex becomes a battleground where frigidity or impotency expresses the frozen anger.


During both of these stages above, the marriage is salvageable, as disillusionment and erosion are reversible.


Stage 3: Detachment


In the detachment stage the couple no longer care enough to hate or fight. Each feels a low commitment to the relationship; they barely talk, avoid physical affection or sex, don't look into the others' eyes, etc.


This period is not so much one of an intensified conflict as it is increasing boredom with the conflict. The coldness that was at first withholding of love has become habitual and natural. Empty hulls of people pass each other in routine. The detached person begins to dream of his or her own future . . . without the spouse.


Stage 4: Physical Separation


For those who have spent a long time preparing to get divorced by building up the courage to leave an intolerable marriage, the physical separation can bring enormous relief. For those who are unprepared and still emotionally involved in the spouse, physical separation can leave a person in shock. But most all newly separated persons have to face the loneliness, anxiety, initial confusion and fears.


 


The American culture seems to set the stage for fears of loneliness. Being alone with one's self represents nothingness, a void to most people. We are learning that loneliness can also be creative. Out of loneliness comes strong determination, courage and deep commitment. Anxiety is another common emotion following physical separation; fear of the unknown. The future is uncertain. Many divorcing individuals change their vacations, lifestyles, residences and friends. The separated person may worry about meeting financial needs, about being attractive to the opposite sex, about the effect of divorce on children, etc., etc. Separation brings new anxieties.


Stage 5: Mourning


Mourning is a web of anger, hurt, loneliness, relief and helplessness. Mourning helps rid one's self of the ghosts. Person says "I can't go back . . . but I can't go forward." They want intimacy but feel they can't handle it. In this stage the divorcing person moves from no goals to concrete goals. They will take off the, wedding ring, rearrange the furniture and "clean out the old house," and begin as a single person.


Mourning during divorce may unleash anger. Releasing anger is a necessary part of divorce. Depression may also accompany mourning.


Stage 6: Second Adolescence


Instead of looking back on the former spouse with anger and attraction the person during this stage is concentrating on his/her personal growth. Choices begin to increase. Vision clears. The excitement of possible new adventures and new risks creates an almost adolescent state. Previous areas of deprivation, whether sexual, travel, fun, hobbies, friends, or training are often vigorously pursued.


Dating often renews old adolescent feelings. "Is he/she going to call? Will he/she accept the invitation? Are my social skills ok according to today's standard?" A divorcing person may feel considerable intrigue and excitement during this stage.


Stage 7: Exploration and Hard Work


With renewed vitality, the divorcing individual begins earnestly to pursue self-chosen goals. Instead of seeing overwhelming, unreachable future aspirations, a plan of action toward manageable, reachable goals has been implemented. New relationships are formed, old ones with children are enhanced.


You may feel a new confidence, a sense of being master over your life.


 


Whatever you choose to do, remember to take things very slow in a new relationship in order to give you time to catch red flags and work on new patterns of behavior for yourself. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

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