It happens to the best of us. We go into relationships with the best of intentions. We fall in love. We talk about the future together. We get engaged. We get married. Sometimes our relationships end abruptly through death or betrayal. Sometimes they just run their course.
Whatever the reason you find yourself single now, it’s important to heal and understand that it does take time for you to be ready to get involved with someone new. It’s quite likely that you don’t know exactly what you want when your life is in transition and your emotions are at an all-time high. You know that you want companionship. You know that you want to fall in love again. You sign up for an online dating site, hoping to find someone to ease the pain and help you move on.
The “Transition Person”
Like it or not, we sometimes need a transition person to help us through our life changes, divorces or breakups. Sometimes, without anyone’s fault, we end up becoming a transition person. Being a “T.P.” isn’t a disease. It can help both singles grow as they get back into the dating scene. It can be very helpful to the one who is going through a divorce or mourning the loss of a loved one. But it can also be hurtful to the one who ends up being the transition person.
I spent many years being a transition person to a man I loved very much who was going through a divorce. He said I was “the one.” He said he never felt this way about a woman before. I thought we were on the road to “happily ever after.” After several years, he just couldn’t commit to marriage. He needed more time to heal. The ink was barely dry on his divorce papers. He just couldn’t sign up. Eventually, he remarried. It was just a case of bad timing for us.
Look Before You Leap
Now, I am not here to discourage anyone from dating someone who may need a transition person, is going through a divorce, or suffering the loss of a loved one. I’m just suggesting that you understand their needs now may differ from their needs down the road. The distraction of the legal issues, if going through a divorce, may linger on for longer than anyone would expect. It can take a toll on your relationship.
In order to enjoy your time in your new relationship, it’s important to communicate these issues when you first start dating. Once you know you have met someone you would seriously like to be involved with, express your concerns if you think this scenario might apply to you. Some singles will not date a man or woman whose status is “separated.” While there isn’t a category of “separated, divorce pending” to select from, if you are not legally divorced, you are still married and may be unavailable.
The guy who broke my heart couldn’t imagine life without me. He also couldn’t sign up for marriage so soon after his wife had betrayed him and he spent years in litigation. To this day, he thanks me for helping him start his life over. He is grateful that he had a transition person. I, on the other hand, vowed never to be that T.P. again. It would be like putting my hand in the fire.
Making It Last… Maybe
Is every transition person only there for the time being? Is it possible to be the transition person and actually be lucky enough to meet someone quickly after a death or divorce of your loved one? More often than not, a transition relationship will run its course. Not always, though. It is more common in cases of a difficult divorce than in an amicable divorce or the loss of a spouse. I know of many happily married couples that met shortly after one’s spouse had passed away. When one had a happy marriage, they tend to want to be married again. It isn’t about replacing someone, but adding someone into your life to create a new chapter with.
If you think you may be with your T.P., try not to compare the new person in your life to the old one. Make sure you are emotionally available for a new relationship. If you are separated, don’t say you are divorced, even if there is no chance of reconciliation. Be honest from the beginning. If your divorce is almost final, share those details with the new person in your life without dragging them into the emotional roller coaster you might be on.
The bottom line is, every relationship serves a purpose. Don’t be angry if you were a transition person. Try to get over the hurt if it doesn’t work out. Remember the good memories that you created together. If it’s possible to stay close and you had a deep friendship, don’t toss that person away completely. They were in your life for a reason, even if it didn’t go the distance. Understand that being the transition person is harder for the one without the prior loss. Know that you are not alone when you are dating in transition.
Julie Spira is a worldwide expert in online dating. She’s the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com where you can share your online dating stories and learn how to create an irresistible online dating profile.