Dating After Divorce: Is Honesty Really the Best Policy? YES!

By Jackie Pilossoph, Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling, Love Essentially columnist and author

Dating after divorce can be exhausting!! The ups, the downs, the games, the lies, not hearing from someone, hearing too much from someone, the fighting, the breakups, the getting back together, the cheating, the indecision, the baggage, and the worst one, the DISHONESTY!


I hate those little clichés that we all hear in the world of dating. Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of someone saying, “I just don’t know what I want right now,” they would say what they really mean, which is probably, “I really like you but I want to see if there is someone else I might like better.”


It’s really, really hard to be honest, not only with someone else, but with yourself as well. Isn’t it easier to stay in a relationship that in your heart you know isn’t right? And isn’t it easier to tell someone you have a boyfriend than to just say, “I’m not interested in you?”


The downside to not being truthful is that you are holding yourself back, AND you are holding back the other person, who in this example might say to himself, “She has a boyfriend? Okay then. I’ll just wait until she breaks up with the guy and then try again.”


Here are 16 things people say in the world of dating after divorce, and what I WISH the person would say instead.

1. I don’t want a girlfriend right now.

Honest version: I don’t want YOU to be my girlfriend. Ever.


2. I’m sort of seeing someone right now.

Honest version: You’re not worth me risking what I have right now with my current girlfriend, even though I’m not sure she’s the one.


3. It’s not you, it’s me.

Honest version: It’s you.


4. I want to date other people.

Honest version: I want to see if I can meet someone I like better because I’m not sure about this relationship, but I don’t want to risk losing you.


5. I just want to have fun.

Honest version: I don’t want to be exclusive.


6. This really isn’t working out.

Honest version: I’m breaking up with you.


7. You’re a great guy. I don’t deserve you.

Honest version: I don’t want you.


8. What are you doing right now?

Honest version: Want me to come over and have sex with you?


9. What are you doing Saturday night?

Honest version:  I really like you a lot and I want to take you out for a really nice date so you know that.


10. You’re going to make some guy really, really happy.

Honest version: You’re not making me happy.


11. I don’t want to fight anymore.

Honest version: I wish we could go back to the first 6 months of our relationship when we were on our best behavior, because we both know this is going downhill fast.


12. Sorry I haven’t called. I’ve been so busy with work.

Honest version:  I met someone else and dated her for a couple weeks and it just ended. OR, I wasn’t really into you and then I changed my mind.


13. I’m just happy with the way things are.

Honest version:  I don’t want to marry you.


14. I’m going out of town. I’ll call you when I get back.

Honest version: I’m not into you, because if I was, it doesn’t matter where I am. I’d call or even text or emai. This is 2014.


15. I don’t have time for a relationship.

Honest version:  I don’t want to be in a relationship with you.


16. I just can’t see you right now, I don’t know what I want.

Honest version: I want to go out with my friends and flirt with guys and figure out if I still want to date you.


Here’s the thing. These things don’t translate like this in every case. Relationships are complicated. Dating is complicated. People do get confused and say things, and things do end up working out. I’m just saying that if someone feels a certain way, he or she should buck up and just be honest.


The truth might be brutal to hear, and hurtful and upsetting, and it might even make us cry. But, in the long run, hearing the real story saves so much time, so much aggravation, and it forces us to move on much quicker. Honestly.

Buy novels by Jackie Pilossoph



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Jackie Pilossoph

Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorce is a journey. Live it with grace, courage and gratitude. Peace and joy are on the way! Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

6 Responses to “Dating After Divorce: Is Honesty Really the Best Policy? YES!”

  1. Carol Balawyder

    This is a terrific post.

    I recently dated a guy (one date) who after the date wrote me that he had a great time and hoped that we would do it again. I wrote back and said that I didn’t feel the connection I’m looking for and wished him luck. He wrote back saying that he felt the same way.
    I don’t know if he said that to make me feel better or what???

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I think it’s really nice that you had the guts to just be honest with him. If you would have gotten his response first, would you have felt really badly about it? probably not. I”m telling you, honesty is the way to go. Why do we need silly teenage games? We don’t. Just because you didn’t feel a connection, that doesn’t mean the guy is a bad guy, right? It just means he isn’t right for you. It’s hard not to take that stuff personally, but this is what dating is all about.

  2. Autumn

    He only said that because he probably felt rejected. The fact of the matter is you were very honest (which is great) and he wanted to make you think he felt the same way so it didn’t look like his feelings were hurt.

  3. Di

    Well… yes and no. I’ve said many of those things and MEANT exactly those words and nothing else. Part of the problem with this list is that it assumes the person is ultimately looking to marry/commit to someone and that they beat around the bush a lot. What if they aren’t/don’t?

    I’ve been nothing but completely honest post divorce with men – when my head was completely unscrewed from the raw pain and suffering still, I told them. “I can’t possibly know what I want right now.” And I couldn’t. No decision or deep connection to other people was remotely possible. It had no bearing on who the person was or how dateable they were.

    I’ve said “I’m sorry I haven’t called, I’ve been caught up at work” and it has been 100% true. One thing I have learned is that I have to throw myself into my current career direction or I will be running out of time. That means I work a lot, time flies, and dating takes a back burner.

    “I just want to have fun”. I have said this while having no interest in seeing other people, I just wanted to keep things light. I had no reason to see ANYONE and I like being solitary, so the only reason at the time for me to make the effort was if it was fun and not a burden.

    “I like things the way they are”. I do. I tell anyone I date that I am never going to marry again, ever, ever. I am happy alone and the only way I will date anyone is if I get to live in my own house and we visit. That will never change, and it’s not because I’m holding out for ‘the real thing’. This is the way the real thing is for me. I have found the way of life that makes me really happy and it requires not living intimately with someone else.

    I’ve had men assume I’ve meant all those other things other than what I was actually saying, which is intensely frustrating. There’s the assumption that when I say “We aren’t going to marry, I can’t live that way” that I am saying I am holding out for some other man. I’m not. I’m holding out for me and me alone, and I know what I want. A shame when it’s so hard for people to believe the things I say.


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