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Listener Mail: How Soon Is Too Soon?

Erin: Welcome to Hotter Than Ever Listener Mail. I'm your host, Erin Keating. And in these new short weekly episodes, I give you my opinionated and not at all officially qualified feedback about the questions, problems, quandaries, and dilemmas that you have posed to me about love, sex, relationships, career, aging, ambition, divorce, and anything else that's on your mind.

This week, I have a question from Sophie who texted the Hotter Than Ever Hottie hotline, and she says:

"Hi, I have a question about dating after divorce. Everyone's telling me to give it a little time, but I feel ready, even for something a little serious. It's only been six months since my ex and I decided to split, but I did a lot of grieving during the last few years of the marriage, and there was no sex for the last year and a half. Is it possible to mostly grieve your [00:01:00] marriage before it ends, or should I expect more twists and turns on the grief rollercoaster in the next six months to a year?"

Oh, Sophie, I relate to this question so deeply. First of all, I hope you're feeling okay. I hope you're doing okay. This first stretch of time after you and your ex stop cohabitating is a really Crazy time in my experience. And I am here to tell you that there is no right way to do it. There is no right way to do that period of time after divorce, when you are suddenly a free woman and you can make your own decisions without consulting your significant other, because you are now your significant other.

And I will say to answer the second part [00:02:00] first, yes, it is possible to grieve your marriage before it ends, especially if you have known in your heart of hearts that it was over for a long time or a period of time before the divorce happened. I think a year and a half, depending on what your relationship was, is a long time to not have sex. For me, I didn't have sex for 10 years. So it depends on who you are and your relationship to sexuality, but if it's super important to you, I bet you are chomping at the bit to get out there and connect sexually with someone else.

And I would say to the people who are telling you to give it a little time, tuck that advice in your pocket. Tuck that advice right away. In your pocket and do whatever [00:03:00] feels right to you. I would not judge you for getting on the dating apps and starting to go out with new people. I would not judge you for checking in with that guy who always had a crush on you.

You knew was kind of hopeful that you would be single one day. What I would be cautious about is. Giving your heart over too quickly to someone new, because you are going to, as with any grieving process, be shedding layers and layers of accumulated gunk from your marriage for the foreseeable future. And like grief, it is unpredictable when these things will come up and when you will actually be slapped in the face by revelations by sadness by a [00:04:00] sense of loss, a sense of longing for what you had once hoped the marriage would be, just prepare yourself to be surprised by how the emotions unfold over time.

For me, I felt capable of having those emotions. And being in a very wild kind of rumspringa experience around my sexuality pretty quickly after my ex moved out. So from my perspective, you're an adult woman and you can make whatever choices you want to make. And I do think it, it might be tempting to fall head over heels with the next person who shows up willing and attractive on your doorstep. Maybe that's your next partner. Maybe that's Mr. Right now, I would give yourself permission to feel all the feelings [00:05:00] and take it real, real slow.

When it comes to quote unquote commitment to the next person in your life, you might meet your next partner. On the first date that you go on after your divorce, but more likely, even if you do is that you'll have a little bit more exploring to do, I encourage you to embrace your freedom, whatever that looks like, whether that means traveling by yourself or going on dates with people sleeping with whoever you want to sleep with, embrace the freedom that you did not have inside of your marriage and just know that there's no wrong way to do this.

There's no wrong way. I think the people who are giving you advice are probably trying to protect you from what they see as inevitable pain. If you jump into something new really quickly. I just think that [00:06:00] we don't quite have our head on our shoulders. A hundred percent. When it comes to love, when we are coming out of a long-term relationship, but you never know how it's gonna unfold.

I mean, certainly with my current boyfriend, we were sleeping together for months and months and months before we ever sort of talked about this becoming a relationship or us loving each other. That's just how it unfolded for me in this instance, and I still don't know what that means. And navigating that with children in the mix is complex.

So I would just say, stay in touch with yourself, be in therapy. See your girlfriends, spend time with the people that you love and play the field. Why the fuck not? You couldn't do it before. You can do it now. Have [00:07:00] a good time. Keep it light if you can. And if you fall in love, you fall in love. And if you get in a relationship, you get in a relationship.

But the likelihood is that it will be colored by the divorce. It will be colored by the fracture that you're coming out of and the repairing that you're doing in your heart and in your life on the tail end of a marriage coming apart. And if the person that you find next is okay going through that with you, that could be okay too, but also they might be like, okay, enough with the X talk, they may not want to be an adjunct to the dissolution of a previous thing while you're building a new thing.

Stay close to your heart. Enjoy yourself. Give yourself as much freedom, as much time, and as much breathing room as you need, Sophie. You're gonna be great. [00:08:00] And if you want love again, you're going to find love again. And if you want a wild sexual adventure, you can have that too. That is available to all of us.

If you want to find someone who you are going to commit to eventually and have a wild sexual adventure with, all things are possible. All things are possible. in time. I'm sending you so much love. I'm hoping this next chapter of your life is beautiful and fulfilling and check back in with us and let us know how it goes.

Thanks for listening to Hotter Than Ever, Listener Mail. How can you ask a question? I'm so glad you asked. DM us @hotterthaneverpod on Instagram, or leave me a voicemail or text the Hotter Than Ever hottie hotline at 3, 2, 3, 8, 4, 4, 2, 3, 0, 3. That's 3, 2, 3, 8, 4, 4, 2, 3, 0, 3. I would love to answer your question in a future episode.[00:09:00] 

Hotter than ever is produced by Erica Gerard and PodKit productions. Our associate producer is Melody Carey. Music is by Chris Keating with vocals by Issa Fernandez. This has been Listener Mail.


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