Lying by ommission

Joey Garcia

Is it OK to date if you’re separated, not divorced? My marriage fell apart four years before my wife and I actually separated. I was out of love with her (and sexually uninvolved) for several years prior, but stayed until our children were off to university. I am now in my own home, but the divorce will not be complete until January. I have met a woman I would like to pursue, but wonder if I should wait or simply withhold my status. What do you think?

If you avoid admitting that you’re separated and not yet divorced, you’re lying by omission. That’s a lousy way to start a new relationship. When a woman you like uncovers this lie or if you fess up after the first date, she has a clue that you can’t be trusted. You might continue dating if there’s a genuine attraction or if you’re both just desperate to be with someone. But questions that reveal her distrust will drop like bread crumbs into future conversations until every argument leads back to that initial lie. She will justify her questions because of that first lie, and you will self-righteously dodge her questions, insisting you’ve been honest ever since. Now that you’ve seen the future, isn’t stripping down to the truth more enticing?

Given your separated status, it’s best to move slowly with the woman you want to pursue. Allow yourself to develop a real friendship, with time to examine whether you communicate and resolve conflict well, are truly physically attracted to each other (not simply infatuated), share values, can support each other’s goals and are open to each other’s interests or hobbies. Often, the recently separated or divorced plunge into new relationships before emotionally resolving the previous commitment or before changing behavior that contributed to the divorce. Don’t be that guy.

Why do men say they aren’t looking for a relationship? I’ve been on dozens of coffee dates with men I’ve met online who are obviously looking for relationships, but when we meet, they make it clear that they are only out for fun, not a commitment. What’s up with these guys?

Oh, honey! You’ve been dating men from the catch-and-release pool. Be grateful that these guys told you upfront what they wanted and that you refused a hookup in the hope it would evolve into love. Trying to convince a man to like you or to love you is one of the 10 most dangerous mistakes women make in romantic relationships, says Christian Carter, author of the e-book Catch Him and Keep Him. A recovered heartbreaker, Carter now helps women sort out the keepers from the players. Get his free newsletter at

My best friend broke up with her girlfriend about three months ago, but nothing has changed. They still socialize and complain about the relationship. The only thing that is different is they are not officially a couple. They are not sleeping together, but the ex wants to and asks all the time. Why do I care?

I live with my best friend, and I am tired of listening to the drama. What should I do?

The next time your BFF starts to spill her emotional sludge, gently but forcefully tell her you would like to talk about something else. If she suggests that a real friend would listen, remind her that you have but no longer want to. Then suggest therapy. And let this be a lesson to you: Always wait three to six months after a breakup before having any contact with an ex who you want as a pal.

Meditation of the week
“Define progress as taking two small steps forward for each step back,” writes Veronique Vienne. What small steps forward are you taking to compensate for international steps backward in healing the needs of developing countries?

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