Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’ve been divorced for two months. We live in a no-fault state but the
sad reality is that both of us were at fault in various ways. We became
used to being unkind to one another, and had retaliatory affairs: I
slept with someone at work and after she found out she did the same.
We said we would forget and try to forget. But there was too much
acrimony. Frankly even living in an apartment is better than the last
two years of tension, because I don’t have to worry the TV is going to
erupt into a frenzy and start yelling at me. But I am starting to get
bored and am ready to date. I’m a mid-40’s nice guy, with a steady
income, decent enough looking, and if you ask anyone other than my
wife, a decent sort of fellow to spend time with, have a drink, and get
to know. Do you have any good tips on starting over?


Dear Ready:

You don’t say how long you have actually been divorced. While the last
phases of a dying relationship are very often filled with acrimony and
emotional pain, they also are not be best places to lay a solid basis for
healing and preparing yourself for your new next life. A new place to
live is a start, and your basic info about yourself makes you seem like
you could be a decent catch eventually (infidelity notwithstanding,
though perhaps you’ve learned the lesson). But “ready” happens with
more than just elapsed time.

Some useful things to remember are the importance of cleaning out
emotionally as well as changing your physical reality. That could
include counseling as well as journaling, talking to friends and other
divorced folks (not in the griping, “she done me wrong” way. It also
means taking more alone time than you might think you want. It helps
with reflection and really understanding what you miss about relationship
other than physical intimacy. Make a point of being in varied social situations,
from potential dating meet-up places to classes and dinner parties. Get used
to being around people you do not know. I strongly suggest waiting until you’re
clear who you are becoming before choosing your next partner. If you don’t,
odds are high that you’ll repeat the mistakes of the past.