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Dating your ex-spouse - good or bad?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Double J, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    I'm hopeful that if I can put into words the type of romantic confusion I feel most days, maybe someone can offer some sage advice.

    I've dated a few different women since my marriage ended last year. I haven't gotten too heavily involved with anyone, mainly because I haven't had the time. But I also haven't met anyone that I'm really interested in pursuing something with.

    I've worked very hard to minimize whatever "baggage" I have, and I've also kept an open mind about every woman I've met. I'm 38, I have three kids and I'm slightly "fluffy," so needless to say I don't have unrealistic expectations about Carrie Underwood knocking on my door. That's not to say I wouldn't answer the door if she were to knock - I'm just not counting on it!!

    But what I find is that most of the women I meet don't do a very good job of, um, minimizing their "baggage." Either there is drama with an ex, or they want to glom onto you right away, or they're bitter about their life and want to take it out on you. I understand the reasonings behind all of that, I'm just not interested in being part of it.

    I'm not perfect, and I'm not looking for perfection. I also realize it's only been a year, and I may have to wait a long time before I find someone who is right for me. This, however, is where things get REALLY complicated.

    I've been thinking a lot lately about my ex. We're separated, but not divorced. We've tried to stay friends and not just for the sake of our kids. And, for the time we've been apart, that's all we have been. There has been no hanky-panky with each other, nothing. When I've dated, I've mentioned that my ex and I are on good terms and we intend to stay that way, and then I have put her out of my mind and concentrated on the woman I am seeing. But that's changed in the last month or so, and it feels very weird.

    I haven't said this to my ex, but the more women I meet, the better she seems by comparison. I don't mean to flatter her by thinking only of the negative qualities of others. What I mean is, the things about her that used to bug the crap out of me seem pretty minor now. The things she and I had (and have) in common, I haven't found that with anyone else. I find myself thinking, I wouldn't have to worry about what her kids thought of me or what my kids thought of her, since hers are mine and mine are hers!

    One thing I did confess to her was that I couldn't understand what was so wrong with us that we couldn't have tried to work through it.....and she said she feels that way too. We argued a lot - a whole lot - about a lot of stupid things, and I know that the constant arguing really drove a wedge between us, but neither of us is abusive or a heavy drinker or a drug user or anything really terrible. She also said she'd be interested in going to counselling together, which she hadn't been interested in before.

    That's an encouraging sign, but I'm very apprehensive. We've made no promises - we haven't even been on a date yet, and we certainly haven't said anything to our kids about dating again - but I'm terrified about doing/saying something to screw it up and disappointing her and the kids all over again.

    I guess what I'm asking is - does anyone have any experience in dating an ex? If so, do you have any advice you might be able to share with me? Thanks. :)
  2. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    counseling first, dates later.
  3. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    This is not to say I've never dated an ex. But I've always come to regret it. To quote a book title, "it's called a breakup because it's broken."

    If I may be blunt: It sounds like you don't like being on your own, that you feel you need a woman. If you've gone on dates with several women before the ink on your divorce is dry, that's a sign you need attention. And since dating at 38 is not like dating at 18 or even 28, you're having a hard time accepting that people your age come with "baggage" and the better your ex looks, because her baggage is your baggage.

    So figure out what it is you really need: Do you need a friend? Do you need to get laid? Do you need someone who takes care of you, does your laundry and runs to the grocery store? Do you need to be a more daily part of your kids' lives? Or do you need [ex's name], in all the good and bad ways that she is herself?
  4. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    When my first marriage broke up many years ago, I considered (and pursued) dating my ex. In hindsight, all the problems seemed minor. Looking back now, however, that would have been a bad, bad idea. That consideration came during our first year apart, and I just missed being with someone (not just physically, either). After that year, I got out of my funk and things were much better. Had the ex and I gotten back together, who knows if that would have happened.

    After dating several women over the years, I finally met the love of my life. Two kids and 12 years later, I've never been happier.
  5. waterytart

    waterytart Active Member

    Spaceman is right: counseling first. With a couple of issues defused, your ex may just keep looking better and you can try dating with a better chance of success.

    Or, with a couple of issues defused, you have a clearer understanding why breaking up was necessary, and you and your ex know you gave it your best shot.
  6. Rosie

    Rosie Active Member

    Every situation is different.

    If you and your estranged spouse are willing to go through counseling together, then do it. Just because you are separated now doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Don't go on a date, don't hop in the sack, but work on working out the problems that drove you apart in the first place.

  7. I think this is the first time Rosie ever suggested that anyone NOT go to their room.
  8. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    I generally don't like the idea of dating an ex. There are reasons people break up. Those reasons rarely get resolved afterward.

    Having said that, this case sounds like you need to go to counseling with your ex-wife and figure out where the two of you are. If the differences you have are the kind that you can work through, great. If they're not, then you can part with a bit of a clearer conscience.

    Speaking as the son of divorced parents, for the love of God, don't force yourself into a bad situation with your ex-wife just "for the kids." My parents got back together after they separated the first time for my sake. If I could go back in time, I'd tell them not to bother.
  9. BRoth

    BRoth Member


    ... at least in my experience.
  10. Magic In The Night

    Magic In The Night Active Member

    Never had a spouse but I've dated exes and it always ended up where it started, as an ex again. Keep the good memories and keep looking.
  11. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Another vote for the counselling.

    You two fell in love however many years ago for a reason. Marriage and all its complications seem to get in the way of that. And if all that seems to be too much to throw away, then I think it's OK to explore the possibility there may be something left to rebuild.
  12. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Nothing good could come of this.
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