It seems to be a trend lately in my practice. I have met with several people who have learned their spouse has been dating. I’m making a distinction between dating and having an affair, although one may soon turn into another. Clients come in with copies of their spouse’s dating profile. Sometimes the spouse has been on numerous sites listing themselves as single or separated. I also have represented the “daters”. Why would someone start dating before they are divorced? I’ve tried to get to the bottom of this and the reasons are varied:
- I’m not happy.
- I’m not getting attention.
- They are gone all the time.
- We haven’t had sex for years.
- It’s not serious, it’s just for fun.
- I’ve never met anyone.
- I just wanted to see what/who was “out” there.
I may get some backlash for this – but if you want to date during your marriage, GET DIVORCED. Unless of course, you have an open marriage and this is another post entirely. If the party is already contemplating seeing other people during the course of the marriage, there is no doubt why they are sitting in my office. One client recently told me her husband had been “dating” for four years. I asked her who and she told me all different women. He obviously didn’t get the memo on the “faithful” part of the marriage. The “dating” finally came to a head for this couple when he decided he had found someone to settle down with and he needed to support her instead of his own family.
For the person who is on the receiving end, this is gut-wrenching. I met another client recently whose husband was already engaged to another woman. He had told his wife he had to work nights and due to conflicting work schedules he was able to spend half the week with his “fiancée”. His wife didn’t find out for almost two years that he was leading a double life.
This doesn’t just happen with men. I have clients who have found out their wives are dating as well. One man’s wife had several suitors who routinely called her and texted. My client would have given anything to save the marriage but the wife wasn’t willing to stop the merry go round of men.
If you are having urges to seek attention from elsewhere take the time to talk to your spouse about the way you are feeling. Regrets I hear from clients are that they didn’t spend enough time working on the relationship. Try marriage counseling, try going on a date with your partner and NOT someone you found on the internet, let them know how you feel before you fire off the dating profile. Think about what this will mean to your marriage if your spouse finds out you are looking for someone else to take to dinner.
Are you willing to risk your marriage to “see what’s out there?”