Avoid Dating Divorced Guys Who Are Dating on the Rebound – and Icky May December Relationships
The letter is much farther below. I wanted to comment on it first.
Here is the set up:
A friend of a divorced guy wrote to Hax, an advice columnist.
I’m not sure if this friend is a man or woman; let’s just assume it’s a man for my post.
My interest in this letter is not in the advice aspect: friend is upset because divorced guy keeps asking him for advice but then gets offended and explodes in anger when Friend gives him advice.
My interest in this letter pertains to two or three other facets:
The letter writing friend says his divorced friend is age mid-40s, while the wife who dumped him was in her early 30s.
I am (Link): not a believer in “May December” relationships, for starters.
A mid- 40s guy should be dating women who are age early- to- late 40s, not an early- 30s woman.
And what in the hey is the age early- 30s woman doing even considering dating some dude who is 14, 15 years her senior?
This is something I have pondered since thinking about dating again: the rebound issue. There is no way I’d date a guy who was divorced (or widowed) for only two years, or less.
If you date a guy who just divorced (or his wife died) two weeks ago, or six months ago, he is not ready for a serious relationship – he’s not even ready for a healthy, casual, fun one.
If and when I begin dating again, if I find out a guy is divorced or widowed, I will at some point (if not date one, then date number two), ask how long he’s been divorced or widowed.
If he says he’s been single again for less then one year (or maybe less than two), I will not progress further. If the guy has been single again for only about two years, I would continue seeing him only with extreme caution.
Another thing or two I noticed about this letter:
The divorced guy is a pig. Before his divorce was finalized, and/or before the ex-Wife was even totally moved out of their shared home, this doofus was already on dating sites, trying to hook up with, or date, other women!
There is no way in hell I would want to date a guy whose wife is still under the same roof, and/or where the two are still legally a couple.
I would seriously doubt if this Divorced Guy is forthcoming on his dating profile about his situation. He probably neglects to mention on his dating profile that his ex-Wife (or “still wife”?) was living under the same roof as him.
I also note that in this letter, the Friend says something like, “After I advised Divorced Guy to take a break from dating for awhile, to allow himself to heal over his divorce, he exploded in rage at me: ‘what, do you want me to die of loneliness'”.
I have a huge, huge problem with people who are so lonely that they are willing to quickly jump into one relationship right after another.
I am very suspicious or cautious about people who are so very incredibly freaked out or turned off at the idea of living alone or being single. That is a huge red flag to me for several reasons.
Unfortunately, I sometimes see conservative Christians pushing this notion that people should date or remarry quickly after a break-up, and it’s been noted by adult single Christians who write books about dating:
These adult, single Christian authors said in their review of marriage and dating books by Christians, that a lot of conservative Christian authors advise their divorced readers to jump in the dating pool pronto and snap up another wife (or husband) immediately.
Apparently, a lot of people find being lonely and single so very uncomfortable and unbearable; they believe they must date around immediately and hook up again.
Even folks who promote themselves as being Christian relationship gurus are pushing and advising divorced Christians to launch into new relationships immediately after being dumped.
Sometimes it can be terrible and lonely to be single when you want to be dating or married (and the holidays can be the worst).
I really get that, I do.
But for the love of Pete, dating someone or marrying quickly (or marrying again) is not the answer.
You haven’t worked through your own pain, grief, and whatever other negative emotions over your dead, previous relationship. The pain is not going to go away if you deny it or bury it by dating a new person.
Dating a new guy or woman after a break up may temporarily feel good and paper things over for awhile, but it’s not going to be a permanent, workable solution.
Further, you’re not really treating the person you’re dating or marrying as a human with her own needs, but as an object to suck up your loneliness.
It’s terrible to me that Christian authors are advising the divorced to so quickly jump into re-marriage. It sends a message, however unintentional, that there is something flawed and wrong with being single.
Once more: I know that being single can be difficult if you are desiring to share your life with a significant other and spoon and snuggle together on the couch watching TV, but it’s not mentally healthy for you or healthy for a relationship, to just jump into a relationship as fast as you can because you hate feeling lonely or alone.
You are also hosing over the person who you are using to assuage your lonely feelings.
As I was saying before, I doubt that men like this are upfront and totally transparent on their dating profiles that their ex is still living with them, so I would be very cautious when dating, if I met a guy through a dating site. (Or even if I met a guy in real life.)
I would make damn sure any guy I am dating does not still have his ex living with him, that the divorce is legally final, and that he’s had sufficient time to mourn and get over the ex (whether it was divorce or he was widowed). I would not want to date “Mr. Rebound.”
You need to learn to accept and be okay with being “alone and lonely every night” before moving into the world of dating or marriage again.
It’s normal to have bouts of feeling bummed, frustrated, or sad about being single and lonely.
However, if you are as very down about it as the Divorced Guy in this letter-
(you absolutely need – you don’t just want, you NEED – a partner to make your life wonderful, complete, fulfilling, etc; you feel you CANNOT live alone and be okay with your own company; you feel a huge, gaping hole of emptiness without a partner),
-that is an indication to me that you have some deep insecurities, and/or major mental health, and/or relationship problems. It’s a clue that you might be very, very codependent.
I would avoid this guy, and ones like him, like the plague.
Let this also be another sign that what Christians, and even secular society, to an extent, teach about marriage is incorrect:
Being married is not necessarily going to make a person more loving or giving, nor will it completely fulfill you, whether you are the one who initiated the divorce, or the one on the receiving end of the divorce.
Nor is being married a “cure all” for whatever issues you have in life, whether it’s loneliness, low self esteem, or what have you.
I have to wonder if the divorced guy in this letter believes in the false view that a man living alone, the man who is single, is “one half” a man and needs a woman to be whole or complete – some Christians actually teach this view, I have blogged about it before.
Obviously, the early-30s woman who was married to this guy discussed in this letter was not happy with him. Maybe he was not fulfilling her needs, or maybe the age gap introduced problems for her in their marriage.
Whatever the reasons, this marriage was not working out for the woman, so she divorced the man. Being married was not the ‘happily ever after’ solution for her.
Lastly, if the conservative Christian myth were true, that God only allows a person to marry once he or she achieves a certain state of maturity or godliness, this doofus described in this letter would never have been married in the first place.
So, no, a person does not have to behave a certain way, or become perfect or godly, to earn a spouse from God.
Carolyn Hax: A just-divorced friend solicits advice. Then he explodes at it.
- Dear Carolyn:
- How much honesty do you think we owe friends when they ask us difficult questions?
- I have a friend I’ve known since I was a teen who comes to me when he has relationship problems.
- The latest is that his wife of less than a year left him, stating only that she had never really wanted to marry him but convinced herself that she did.
- She’s now gone, and they are in the process of divorce.
- He immediately joined an online dating service and went on a few dates before the soon-to-be ex had even moved out. (Although he accused her of cheating when she did the same thing. This is an early-30s woman and mid-40s man, for context.)
- So when he asked me what I thought, I told him I thought he was dating far too soon and needed to give himself time to heal.
- He blew up and accused me of wanting him to be “lonely and alone every night.” I backed off.
- It’s been a few months since then, and he was just told by a different woman after several dates that she doesn’t want to see him anymore.
- He is reacting with a level of devastation that seems disproportionate.
- When he asked me directly, “Do you think I am broken?” I suggested that he is feeling this more deeply because he is still coping with the pain of being left by his wife.
- He responded by defensively saying, “Excuse me for developing feelings for someone!” He hasn’t talked to me since.
- So here I am, feeling irritated and contemplating telling him to stop asking me what I think if he doesn’t want honest answers. Your thoughts?[signed] Anonymous
Here is part of Hax’s reply:
- [Dear] Anonymous:
- Your friend is a hot mess on a train wreck careening toward a wheelless bus parked next to a red-flag factory.
- I’m guessing a cause, not effect, of the abortive marriage.
- Therefore, everything you say will be wrong. You’re a good sport for trying, though.
- …Ask him whether he really wants your opinion, or just your sympathy.● Suggest he talk to a good therapist to sort out his feelings, because he is obviously unhappy both with his situation and with your attempts to help him.
- …Feel free also to point out that you don’t appreciate the freeze-outs in response to opinions he asked you to give.