Is it a good idea to go out with your ex-spouse during the first hour you are exes? I have two stories – one in favor and one against. See which situation is most similar to your own before you decide.
Kris and John divorced with no kids, no debts, a good profit on their house, and a few nice retirement funds. As they say in baseball, “no harm, no foul.” Everyone was in agreement that they were ready to move on and that they would remain life-long friends. John was ready to begin his new life with a single mom he had recently met, and Kris was deciding whether to move in with her boyfriend.
The divorce process was smooth and amicable. Each of the parties took their opportunities to be generous with each other. No harsh words were spoken in my office either when all three of us or any two of us were working together. We mediated and negotiated throughout the statutory waiting period, and were ready to go forward on the first available court date.
Their court date came along with a surprise Spring-time snowstorm. Heavy winter coats were pulled from the back of the closet as were the boots we thought we would not be seeing for a while. Everyone got to court late because the roads were bad and poorly plowed. People were less friendly than usual in the court house and the morning docket seemed to take forever with delays and confusion. But the three of us sat together pleasantly enough in a corner, waiting our turn, and keeping company with each other as though we were passing the time at a cocktail party.
Once our matter was completed, and the judge declared John and Kris divorced, it seemed almost a shame to jump back on the highway and fight the traffic again, so we decided to tromp across the parking lot to a small coffee shop, where we ordered some warm beverages. As the chatter continued, John started wondering aloud how long the weather would persist. Kris and I would wonder, too, and then change the subject. When it became apparent that John was much more concerned about the snow than we were, I finally asked him why.
He had tickets for an early morning flight to the Caribbean with his girlfriend and he hoped the airports would be running on time.
Needless to say, the mood suddenly changed considerably and we could not get out of there fast enough.
Jane, on the other hand, did not have a new person in her life, and did not know whether her husband Hal had met anyone yet, or not. They had been living apart for the final 18 months of their 5 year marriage and rarely kept in touch with each other. They met alone at the courthouse on the day of their divorce – no lawyers, siblings, or “friends.” It was mostly about signing papers and getting on with their respective days.
After the hearing, Hal asked Jane for a ride downtown where he had some business in City Hall. She drove him and offered to wait until he was done so she could give him a ride home afterwards. The whole trip took longer than expected, so it was lunch time by the time Hal got back to Jane’s car.
Almost as if they were still dating, she steered the car straight to their favorite pizza joint. The two of them had a good meal, a couple of laughs about the good old days, and then a fraternal hug good-bye when Jane dropped Hal back on his doorstep two hours later. It was another 6 months until they saw each other again, and then only accidentally.
What We Love: Each situation is unique. Wisdom might be as simple as knowing when to draw a boundary; and when to erase it.
– Sharon Oberst DeFala