Not Ready to Date Again

Q: My husband and I separated last year. Because we haven't finalized a divorce — and because I feel like I should be completely ready — I haven't started dating. A close friend, meanwhile, was recently left by her husband. She put a dating profile online immediately! She says it's important to get back out there. Which of us is right? --Patricia, 56

Dr. Susan: There's no one perfect way to re-enter the dating world after a long relationship that has ended. Your friend was left by her husband, and that sounds pretty final. So she feels ready to start over, or at least to dip her toes in the water. Your situation is a bit different, with your divorce unfinalized. Do you have any remaining hopes that you and he will get back together? Even if not, if you feel unready to open up to a new love, then I'd take that gut feeling seriously. Your decision may depend on how the last few years of your marriage felt to you and your fears of making a similarly unhappy match. Take the time you need, get the divorce, don't stay at home alone for too long, and then take small comfortable steps toward meeting new people.

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