Last night I met a woman at a networking event who was distraught from the recent demise of her latest relationship. As Karen told me her story, I started to recognize the pattern before she could even finish.
Her relationship with Scott started out with a bang. They met online and got close very quickly. He seemed totally smitten with Karen, having told her that several times right from the start. Although Scott lived an hour away, he made an effort to see Karen two- three times a week and talked on the phone daily.
In addition to all the attention, Karen really enjoyed time with Scott. She was very attracted to him, respected him. They seemed to be in sync regarding the pace of the romance, how much time to spend together and shared the same long-term picture. In month two he not only told Karen he loved her, but told his and her friends and families that she was the woman for him.
At the end of month two, the shift began abruptly. First he suddenly had his son every weekend. Then he had emergency work twice on nights they had dates planned, but he made no attempt to reschedule. In fact, he was annoyed that Karen was disappointed. Their time together waned, with not even a once a week date.
Finally Karen did the only thing left to do with dignity, which was break up, explaining that she wants to see the person she’s dating on a regular basis, and for whatever reason he longer seemed to care.
So what happened? Scott was not completely free. Although his profile said he was divorced, he in fact was not quite finished with the proceedings. His divorce did become final at the end of the second month…when all the trouble began.
Having never been divorced, I’m sure I can’t really imagine what it’s like. But I do know what people have told me. No matter why the divorce, it’s never fun or pretty. It takes a big emotional toll no matter who you are – and only time can heal that.
So, while Scott might have thought he was ready for relationship, clearly he was not.
Therapists say it takes a full year to be emotionally ready for the next long-term relationship. Is it possible sooner? Of course there are exceptions to every rule. But why chance it? Do your best to steer clear of candidates that are mid-divorce, or even freshly divorced. It’s not an easy rule sometimes, but it can save you the heartache that Karen is now feeling.
The last word on this was my advice to Karen. "Please don’t think that his change of heart and disappearing act is your fault. Scott has an emotional issue which is not a reflection on the quality woman you are." It’s not easy to do. But the idea that she had done something to push him away is highly unlikely in this case and I’d hate to see this impact her self-esteem.
Karen left me with a bit of a smile and feeling more hopeful. That’s what my job is all about.