Dating someone new can be scary in many ways, especially if you really start to develop feelings. Chances are, if you have only been together for a few weeks (or even a few months) there are lots of behaviors, feelings and reactions to things you haven't seen yet. The longer you stay together, the closer you get to seeing things that could turn you off, shock you, make you doubt the relationship or that you accept, but don't particularly love. That doesn't mean the relationship won't work out, it's just the reality of getting to know ALL of someone versus the infatuation-based idea you have of them at the beginning.
Everyone has a past, and that means past loves. If you are over 30 and/or divorced, you have probably had your heart broken, and so has the person you are dating. But what does that mean for your new, budding, happy, "perfect" relationship?
A reader recently asked me the question, "How do I know if the woman I'm dating is ready to move on from her divorce?" I can't get inside anyone's head, but the advice I can offer is based on what I've seen in the past.
For example, several years ago, I was dating a man who had been separated for four years, and who still had a very close relationship with his "soon-to-be ex." She had wanted the divorce, and had had a string of boyfriends ever since. The guy was never able to get past extremely casual with me, wouldn't open up, and ended up never calling me again after date number three or four. In my gut, I knew he hadn't moved on, and years later, it was later confirmed to me by a mutual friend that he did the same thing with many other girls. I'm pretty sure I heard he got back together with his wife for awhile. Not sure where they are today.
But, the point is, clearly, he could not move on, and it was obvious in the way he talked about her -- very complimentary. I'm not saying I enjoy hearing men bash their ex wives. In fact, I find it disgusting and a complete turn-off when I hear that. But, this guy had a sparkle in his eyes when he talked about his wife. Looking back, it's almost comical.
Here is a list of signs to look for if you are wondering if your new guy/girl has moved on from a past relationship. I'm not saying these are the end all, and that if your new guy/girl displays any of these, than forget it. Just open your eyes and let yourself see the signs.
Signs that he/she isn't moving on:
1. He/she talks about her/him glowingly.
2. He/she talks about her/him constantly.
3. He/she gets a lot of texts from her/him.
4. They travel together (for the kids) and stay in the same room.
5. He/she isn't officially divorced yet, and is in no hurry whatsoever to have that happen.
6. He/she doesn't want to see you very often -- once a week for many months works for that person.
7. He/she doesn't want to meet your kids or have you meet his/hers
8. The sex is lukewarm. Is it nervousness/shyness? Or is he/she thinking about the ex.
9.He/she spends a lot of time at his old house. (Where the wife or husband still lives.)
Signs that he/she is moving on:
1. Everything with the ex seems businesslike. By the way, I'm not saying people shouldn't stay friends with their ex's. In fact, I'm a big proponent of being friends with an ex. But again, open your eyes and let yourself see what's really going on. Is it platonic friendship? Or is the guy (or girl) having a hopeful feeling that she will come running back?
2. There is neither hate or a starry-eyed look of love on his/her face when talking about the ex.
3. He/she is able to joke about things in the past pertaining to the ex.
4. He/she makes an effort to tell you just how over it really is. (This could actually also be a sign he/she isn't moving on.)
5. He/she talks about a future with you. "I can't wait to go here with you." "When we're 70..."
6. You feel his/her love. I mean really feel it. Don't lie to yourself. You will know in your gut.
It isn't always easy to know if the person you are with has moved on from a past relationship. Trust me, I have been wrong in the past. It's tricky. But, I will say, trusting your gut will never fail you. Do not ignore it. It is never wrong. Lastly, give it time. Just because someone hasn't moved on, that doesn't mean he/she wants to get back together. They might just need some time, so try to understand. We've all been there, right?
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.
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