Is He Your Transitional Man Or Is He The One?

transitional man

By Sue De Santo

What is a transitional man and how can he help you find love? A transitional man (or woman) is the first significant relationship that usually comes after a long term relationship or marriage. They are someone who helps you find your footing, after a difficult breakup.

I began thinking about my transitional man when I had a conversation with a group of women about divorce, relationships and love. We began talking about the men we had dated and realized that all of us had a transitional relationship, even though we may not have had a name for it. This relationship helped us to find our strength and courage after our break-ups.


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As we were talking we joked around and mentioned that these relationships were like an Amuse-Bouches or Aperitif. What you ask are those beautiful french words referring too?

Amuse-bouche is a french term that means unexpected bonus – a taste of what is to come. It arrives before the main course. Aperitif is an alcoholic beverage unusually served before the meal to stimulate the appetite and is therefore usually dry rather than sweet. I thought these two definitions explained the purpose of this relationship so well. It is an unexpected treat and so juicy that it prepares you for the main event.

This defined so well, the relationship I had before I met my second husband. I dated a man shortly after my divorce who at the time was perfect for me. He was kind, generous and made me feel safe in the world, which is exactly what I needed at the time.

What I began to notice as I was feeling better about myself and the relationship grew is that I was outgrowing him. Have you ever been content in a relationship, but you knew in your heart that he was not the “one“ for you long term. You may have felt confused and a bit frustrated because you may have thought you were being too picky. In reality that was exactly where you were suppose to be and even helped you heal.



After several years in the dating world after my divorce and now being married for the second time for the last seven years, I understand the relationship journey a bit better. I share my story because transitional relationships are exactly what we need and serve a purpose in our journey to meet our ideal partner. A transitional man can be refreshing and a safe haven, if we understand what purpose they serve for us. These relationships don’t have to feel so devastating and make us wonder if we have made a mistake.


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Here are 5 ways to know that he’s your transitional man and not your ideal partner:

1. He is the first significant relationship you have had since your significant break-up.

2. He makes you feel special and safe, but there’s a niggling that he may not be the one.

3. Not really ready for the “real” deal, even though he seems perfect on so many levels and it would be nice if it was that easy.

4. You are in a place of just wanting fun and distraction.

5. You haven’t had enough time to grieve your relationship and to really figure out what you need, want and what did not work in your previous relationship.

Remember the purpose of this relationship is to help you heal and actually help you figure out what you want in a relationship. It helps you feel confident and clear about your needs so you can attract that love relationship.


transitional man

Sue De Santo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a therapist in private practice for over 20 years. A graduate Loyola University with a Masters Degree in Social Work, Sue is also holds a certification in Relationship Coaching from the Relationship Coaching Institute. Sue has extensive experience in women’s issues, anxiety and depression, substance abuse, grief counseling, relationship issues, divorce recovery and couples counseling.

Like this article? Check out, “Second Marriage After 40: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself”

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    4 Responses to “Is He Your Transitional Man Or Is He The One?”

    1. Michael Watson

      I will comment that the idea of a transitional partner makes sense, particularly if you are coming out of a long and maybe painful or abusive relationship and just need time to have fun and replenish yourself.
      I suppose a problem for me is how do so called ‘transitional women or men’ feel about being transitional in your life. People can be hurt so easily but I guess if you are honest as soon as you can be, then at least they may not feel strung along and hopefully they can be set free to find someone who is ‘right’ for them. .

    2. Mandy

      I can tell you how they feel, Michael! They are devastated and heartbroken! You should really just date people, not get into a serious relationship with them, until you are over your divorce. It is completely selfish and unfair to the so-called “transitional” person.

    3. Trey Clint

      As someone who was treated as a Transition Person, this article hurts. Basically teaching people how to use others who truly care

    4. Jan

      Well I was married 35 years. The other woman’s transitional relationship happened to be my husband who fell into infatuation and love with her. He was at the time very sick and still is with liver disease. Nevertheless, he left a loving wife and family, for a woman who was just using him. Now he will probably die alone and sick. Using people to make you feel better can cause a lot of damage. Oh yeah that’s right…silly me… you don’t care.


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