Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I recently reconnected with my high school ex-girlfriend online. I have been going through a divorce that's fairly amicable, but still tough. We were together more than 20 years and have three kids. The marriage didn't end for any dramatic reason. We just grew apart. After we made that call, and after I moved out, I reached out to my ex, "Sarah."
For years, I must admit, I've wondered what happened to Sarah. We had a young but serious relationship. It turns out she never married and it turns out she has also wondered what my life turned out to be.
From our first messages, it was so familiar and full of hope and romance. We reconnected like a car crash, trading memories that led to a sudden rush of amazing emotions and feelings. She's everything I remember and more. We are making plans to meet up for a weekend in Washington, where she lives.
The problem: no one around me is being supportive. No one. My kids aren't ready to hear about me dating. My ex-wife, though having no desire to stay with me, says I'm being foolish. My friends say I'm predictably returning to my dating ground zero and that I should be meeting new women or not meeting anyone at all and taking time to be alone.
I didn't plan to reconnect so strongly with Sarah but I have and I don't want to pass it up. Am I being foolish?
If I had a nickel for every male friend who leaped into a relationship after a divorce, I would have at least a few dollars. We get so used to being with someone that as soon as we aren't, yes, we often revert to those original comfort zones, those spaces where we feel safe and secure and even youthful.
Does that mean the reunion is bound for failure? Not necessarily. But statistically those post-separation/divorce rebound relationships are fraught with pressure and potential to fracture.
I'll suggest this. If you're serious about a Sarah, take a step back. Give it some time. Deal with the end of your marriage. Care for your kids. Don't date. Pursue hobbies and interests dear to you. And several months down the road, give Sarah a call.
It might seem torturous to step away from what feels like a fortuitous love story, but you need to build a foundation and be ready to move forward if you really want this to succeed.
Do I even need to weigh in this week, Wanda? Because I'm pretty sure this guy already nailed it — "car crash." … Well, since I really love this job and really really love coming up with my own mobile metaphors, I'll take a stab anyway — let's go with train wreck.
Are you kidding me, dude? What, do you expect your kids and soon-to-be-ex-wife to grab their pompoms and instantly become Pops' romance cheerleaders? I'm guessing you just moved out, right? What's next: asking the kiddos to help daddy move his stuff into his new girlfriend's place? The ink isn't even dry on your divorce papers yet! Shoot, sounds like all of the ink isn't even on the papers yet. So, yeah, a little too soon to be bringing the fractured family and connected friends into your dating discussions.
Now, I don't necessarily agree with the, "hey, take some time and find yourself first" approach. There's something to be said for that, but then again everyone's journey is different and it's easy for everyone to say. Hey, you're suddenly single and feel like you're ready to mingle. You've reconnected with someone cool. I say have a blast. Just also have some damn respect for yourself and your loved ones and keep everyone except your new flame out of it for now. And for a long time, in fact.
Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.