How Honest, How Soon?

Q: My wife and I have been struggling in our marriage for several years now and we're finally ending it. I'm ready to get back to dating, but don't now how to talk about my divorce with the women I'm seeing. I'm still legally attached to my wife, but emotionally we've been distant for quite some time. When is the right time to tell someone about my marital status?—Stephen, 52

Dr. Susan: One thing you must do when you start dating is tell the whole truth. Although you're "finally ending" your marriage, and you have been "distant for quite some time," that doesn't equal divorce. If you begin to date someone who has the impression you're altogether free, and she then finds out there are plenty of entangling details still to be worked out in your marriage, she's going to feel betrayed. Not a good start. Try, if at all possible, to separate your living arrangements and get your legal papers started before rushing into the dating world. If you can't or won't do that, then at least explain what the hold-up is to anyone you hope to date.

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